Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about the Pacific Yellow-Tail Blue, Palette, Hippo Tang 2

Related Articles: The Genus Paracanthurus

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

Here a juvenile (two inch or so long) individual has been "goosed" out of a coral hiding in N. Sulawesi.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here

New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Hippo tangs - always QT: ich magnets 2/6/04 Hi Everyone, <howdy> I was doing some reading on the website and noticed something about hippo tangs.  It says not to Quarantine them and give them a freshwater bath instead.   <I'm not sure where you read this my friend... but if not misinterpreted, know that the archives are dated in time and represented by many different mentors sharing advice. That said, you will find that the overwhelming majority of aquarists, I suspect, would emphatically encourage you to QT hippo tangs strictly for 4 weeks above almost any other fishes! They are categorically disease prone. Really ich-magnets!> Will this kill off any parasite they may have?   <freshwater dips with QT are both recommended and effective> Just wondering the reason for this?   <no idea on the no-QT comment... sounds dangerous to me> One other thing.  I am looking for a couple of non-aggressive tangs to put in my 135 reef.  How about a Hippo & a Kole together?   <reasonable> If so, which one do I introduce first?   <a smaller Kole first> Thank You. <best regards, Anthony>

The Six Foot Solution? (Proper Tang Housing) Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. at your service!> We have a half round tank that is 28" high and 48" across the back with about 75 lbs of live rock.  Current inhabitants are 2 cleaner shrimp and a green Chromis.  A yellow tang and a 2 tank raised false perculas are in quarantine (will be added in a few weeks). <Excellent procedure!> We'd like to get a small Hippo (Regal) Tang to introduce at the same time as the yellow tang.  However, we understand they need a 6' long tank to be happy.  Since the rounded portion of our tank would equal a little over 6 feet - would the hippo tang be happy in this tank when it gets larger (with the other inhabitants)? <Well- it's tough to say...I am partial to the minimum 6 foot theory...Also, I think a 150 gallon plus is a good start. Waste dilution is as important as physical space...I suppose you could start the two in this tank, but a larger tank is really necessary, IMO, if the fish is to live out a full (and happy!) natural life span in captivity...> Also, would you recommend a captive raised hippo tang or wild caught yellow bellied hippo for hardiness? <Well, depending on the handling and care the fish received from the collectors/wholesalers/retailers along the way, either can do well, if selected properly...Captive-raised will probably be a bit easier to acclimate to aquarium life, but many wild-caught specimens adapt just fine...> Thanks! Doug <My pleasure, Doug! Regards, Scott F.>

Getting the Skinny on a Hippo Tang - Feeding.. Not! I have a Blue regal tang.  I have not seen him eat since I got him.  I got him on dec31 03.  He does not appear to be sunk in like he is starving.  I have fed green and red Nori, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, a herbivore frozen food, and flake food.  He is the biggest fish in the tank at about 4-5 inches.  The other fish in the tank are a coral beauty angle, scooter blenny, six line wrasse, and two damsel's.  The tang has no spots, slime or other marks on him.  The tang also is not out swimming around.  He just kind of hides and does not do a lot of swimming around.  I don't know what else to do.  Any suggestions would be great.  I moved the green Nori down to a live rock so that it would appear to be more natural for the fish.  Thank you for any help that you provide.  The fish lives in a 135 gal aquarium. >>Well, the tank doesn't sound overstocked, but honestly, quarantine is the place to ensure an animal is feeding.  However, this won't help you right now.  One can still expect a new fish to go through an adjustment period (assuming nothing else is wrong with him), another week shouldn't hurt.  Also, if it's terribly disconcerting, I would give the garlic route a try.  It's been known to stimulate feeding.  Hippos tend to like a bit more meaty foods than other tangs, so I would suggest live food - Mysis, bloodworms, and last resort, brine.  Marina

Getting the Skinny on a Hippo Tang - Feeding.. II >Garlic?   >>That's what I said, but it's all the rage in Canada.  ;) >What is that I have never heard of that.   >>Seriously?  You don't know what garlic is?  It's actually related to onions, shallots, and leeks, used as an herb in many different types of cuisine.  When raw, it can be hot to the taste, but when cooked, sweetens and mellows in flavor.  Be careful NEVER to burn garlic, as the sugars turn quite bitter. >I feed frozen Mysis shrimp.  I need to feed live Mysis shrimp?   >>Well, if you're trying to stimulate the fish to feed, live tends to be the ticket. >So you think that live food my be the problem?  Thank you for you help and information. Nate >>Live food and garlic may help stimulate feeding.  Do a Google on our site, and search other reef sites or general Google on "Garlic feed fish" (you'll likely come up with some tasty recipes!).  There are extracts sold rather expensively, I wouldn't buy these.  If you're going to try an extract go to the health food shop.  Otherwise, a good crushing should do the trick (although, I have honestly NEVER used garlic on any fish except that I EAT).  Marina

Hippo Tang with Cotton Pills 1/6/03 I have searched everywhere on WWM but have seen nothing that matches what I am seeing. My hippo tang last night had what I would describe as cotton pills (you know, when you have an old sweater and the fabric "pills") attached by strings to its upper and lower fins. Last night there were two, and within an hour or so they were gone, then this morning there were 4 when the lights went on, and a couple of hours later, they are gone too. None of the other fish seem to be having any problems, and ALL of them including the tang seem to be very happy and eating and swimming, no heavy breathing, etc.  Water params are 0 across the big three - ammo.. - 0, nitrites - 0, nitrates, 0, this is a 75g with a 29g DSB sump, RO/di water. etc/ I have seen ich many times, and this does not look like ich at all. The cotton pills are bright white, fairly well defined oblong shape, about a 1/4 the size of a BB. Any ideas? <I wouldn't 100% rule out ich from your description, but agree that it isn't likely.  Is it possible to get a picture?  There are other parasites that behave similarly to, but look a bit different than ich.  I would consider moving this fish to quarantine to be safe, especially if it is a new addition.  Observe your other fish carefully for the same signs.  Sorry for not having better advice, but an ID is pretty tough without a picture.  Adam>

- Refugee Regal Tangs - About three years ago I bought three Regal Tangs from the LFS that looked terrible. Someone had given them to the pet shop because they were unable to care for them. The pet shop had them in a QT and they were on sale for two bucks each because they were really bad shape. Well to make a long story short, they lived. Their behavior is normal, they eat well and everything seems fine except that they still look terrible. They look like they went through world war three. <No kidding.> Enclosed is a picture of one of them. <Yeah... not a pretty sight.> Their tail fins are so damaged you can see their flesh. They also have  what I think is HLLE. I have tried various diets, flake, brine shrimp, Spirulina, Romaine lettuce. <Only one thing on that list really sounds suitable to me... and beyond that you've said little about the system these fish live in. Could be a factor of crowding and diet. I would consider a constant rotation of live rock, with some rock in a separate tank being prepared for use in the tank, and then swapped for the rock in the tank when the algae has taken hold on the stored rock. That and the occasional Mysis shrimp along with a heavy dose of vitamins. Also real seaweeds, like Nori for sushi also soaked in vitamins should work. Brine shrimp have little to no nutritional value, same with many flake foods, and lettuce is a poor food for tangs... they may eat all of the above but it's less than optimal. > Water parameters are very good. I just can't seem to get the fish to heal and have been trying for three years! I have never given them a fresh water treatment, do you think I should? <No... don't think parasites are an issue here, and that's really what freshwater dips are best for.> Attached is a picture of one of them. Cheers
Mike F
<Cheers, J -- >

-Hippo develops cloudy eye...- I have a blue regal tang that seems to have developed a cloudy eye since last night. It is swollen a little in a couple of spots, also. <Hmm...> He appears fine besides that. It is only one eye. He is eating voraciously and the other fish are not picking on him or anything. <That's an excellent sign> Water parameters are normal and all of the other tank inhabitants seem normal. Is this something that I need to treat immediately, or just keep an eye on? <No pun intended? This has happened to my regal several times, each time going away on its own.> The tank is a 75g tank with 90 lbs of live rock, a few mushroom corals, scopas tang, false percula clown, two domino damsels, a sand sifting starfish, a serpent starfish, a banded coral shrimp and a tri-colored Anthias. I have a quarantine tank, but understand that these guys are too social to desirably quarantine and I am not sure that is even necessary at this point. <No necessity for that unless you observe some ectoparasites or other infections.> How would I go about treating if the situation does not improve? <You can't effectively treat in the main tank. If everything else with the fish is ok, the water quality is in check and stable, and the other fish are leaving him alone, I suspect that it will go away on it's own. In the mean time feed lots of algae based foods soaked in vitamins and even some garlic. I hope this helps. -Kevin> As a newbie to the marine aquarium world, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your help!! Thanks! Terry

Hippo In Distress...? I have two hippos in a 72 gal tank. Both are feeding well but one developed a white spot after a day which has since gone away. It then develop a black patch on the top of it head which is healing, but now it's dorsal fin is erect and has been for a day and a half. <Well, in the absence of any other distinct symptoms, such as difficulty in breathing, excessive mucus, etc., it would be hard to guess what you're looking at. Could even be a localized reaction to some sort of bodily trauma. My recommendation is to continue observing the fish, and to remove it to a separate tank for possible treatment if becomes necessary. Regards, Scott F>

Blue Hippo Tang I recently purchased a Blue Hippo tang. He is in my tank only 3 days and it eating Caulerpa and appears to eat Nori. He picks very gently. This fish looks healthy. He has no ICH. <that is half the battle> He is the only fish in my 55 gallon reef tank. He is very shy and I'm just worried. He appears to pick at rocks and the gravel. He is a mid sized fish. I would guess about 3 to 3 and a half inches. He doesn't feed aggressively like my purple tang or my fox face rabbit fish. He doesn't race to the top and gulp food. There seems to be less algae growing on the sand bed and he seems to chew the Caulerpa. Does this fish sound normal. < yes hippos, when first introduced take a while to adjust give him some time you might want to add some green Chromis they are active and will help bring the hippo out more. Make sure you still feed him with enriched brine or Mysis shrimp he is also feeding on Caulerpa ,I would not worry> He isn't extremely plump but doesn't look like a skeleton either. There is only on bone barely showing near the black stripe. From the front his nose is not too thin. I guess I want to know if he is exhibiting normal behavior. He hides but does come out. I guess I'm used to aggressive feeding fish and if he is supposed to be that way. He chews like a race horse but the bite seems to be so small it's a little hard to tell how much food he's eating. He was in a tank for a week at the store with 3 tomato clown fish. He was shy on feeding flake and stuff but did gently pick on the Caulerpa and looked great on the outside so I took him home. The store owner sells all types of fish. He didn't know if bubble corals eat meaty foods. I wish I had the money to open a store. I know more by reading than these people. But it's about the money. They should make all fish store owners pass an exam to sell fish and corals. Like other professions have certification tests and require schooling....Anyway thanks for your time....Chet <hope this helps Mike H>

- Hippo Tang Acting Oddly - Hi mister Fenner, <Hi, not Mr. Fenner today, but JasonC...> I really like your website and your book Reef Invertebrate. You are an essential part of the hobby, without your work, for many of us it would not be possible to keep reef inhabitant. I have a problem with an hippo tang and I would be really happy to get your advice on it. I have moved my tank 3 weeks ago from my parents house to my apartment and since that time my fish is acting weird. The first week, he was really nervous and was always swimming in a corner of the tank. <Is to be expected... the move would have been stressful.> At the end of the week he was breathing rapidly and have some spot of ich, so I have given to him a FW bath with blue Methylene. But the problem since that FW bath is not ich, it's that the fish is always hiding, he never comes out to eat since 2 weeks( I don't even understand how he cannot have starved to death). The only symptoms I can't see on him (it's in fact not easy to see him correctly:) is that his dorsal fin near his head have become translucent. So I'm not sure what's does he have (ich or not ich this is the question) and according to your website it is not a good idea to put an hippo tang in QT. <Well... at this point in the game, your fish is likely too stressed-out so a move would be trouble. I'd just continue trying to get this fish to eat, and also take a good look at your water parameters - make sure everything is where it should be.> I would be really happy to get your advices on it, mister Fenner! Thank you for your time and continue your good job !! Steve <Cheers, J -- >

Sick of Ich--Hippo Tang >Hi, thanks for your wonderful website, this is always a good source of knowledge!! >>Hello, you're welcome, we're glad it's of good use for yourself and others. >I have moved my 50 gal reef tank from my parents' house to my apartment 1 week ago.  All my livestock are fine except my hippo tang.  It was showing some sign of stress since the first day at my apartment.   >>Alright, could it have gotten chilled during the move?  This can bring on that ich pretty badly, especially with fish such as tangs. >It have get worst and last Friday I have found some ich on it.  So I have gave to it a fresh water bath with bleu Methylene. >>Good course of action, however, it may need to be placed in a hospital tank using hyposalinity (1.010). >Since that time my tang is always hiding and don't eat anymore. What could I do for him now?  I really don't want to lose him... Steve Timmons >>Set up a hospital tank with heater and some filtration, and acclimate the fish over the next two days to a specific gravity/salinity level of 1.010.  Keep him there for at least two weeks at that salinity level.  Once he's cleared, keep him in quarantine for 30 days.  Offer him a good variety of foods, perform as many water changes as needed to keep the water quality very high, and this, hopefully, will do the trick.  Marina

Tackling A Tang! Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Tomorrow I will be purchasing a regal tang, about 3-4cm in length, which will be placed in a 25 gallon tank. I know this species needs a lot of space when is bigger but at this time it isn't. I will transport him into a larger tank when he gets about 3-4 inch. <Please, please follow through on this-and in the very near future...So many hobbyists intend to get a bigger tank down the line, but never seem to get around to it...These fish can and do reach lengths of over 10 inches, and their need for space is very real...> But until them he will remain seated. I have seen regal tangs in marine shops in groups of about 15 in tank sizes as little as 15 gallons, which were about 2 inches in length. I seen one in a 10 gallon tank, and he looked happy and healthy, how come the marine fish shops don't recommend a regal tang for this tank size, as they keep them in a smaller tank, please could you let me know. <It's really irresponsible for anyone to advocate keeping these fishes in small quarters for anything but the most brief stay. Since the dealer is usually equipped with a larger, central filtration system, and the fish are "turned over" (i.e.; sold) quickly, it's possible for them to get away with this. However, for long term maintenance of these fishes, such a small tank borders on "cruel and unusual". These fishes need to eat constantly, release large quantities of metabolic products, and have a great need for physical "space". Keeping such fish in a confined space will cause a variety of physiological and behavioral problems...Not recommended!> My tank has 1 Seaclone protein skimmer for a 100 gallon tank, 1 canister filter for a 55 gallon tank, 2 powerheads and some live rock. At this time I currently only have 3 pieces, would you recommend more. <The addition of live rock has many benefits, such as additional "filtering" capability, creation of hiding spaces and "territories", etc...Not usually a bad idea to add additional rock, but do leave ample swimming room for these fishes>   And, I do have 3 crabs, 2 ocellaris clownfish and 2 skunk cleaner shrimps. Do you think that my Regal Tang will eventually develop ich, white spot, in a excellent water quality tank such as this. <If you maintain stable, acceptable environmental parameters, adhere to an aggressive, consistent maintenance schedule, provide a high quality, varied diet, and utilize careful quarantine and acclimation techniques prior to introduction to the display tank, you should not have to worry about ich, or any other disease.> Could you please fill me in on these questions. I would very, very much appreciate it. <Happy to oblige!> Also, these fish need to be introduced into a well established marine aquarium, would an aquarium that has been running approximately 34 days be fine, as a marine fish shop near me, introduced two into a tank which has been running approximately 4 weeks, and seemed very happy, and off course healthy. <Well, once again, I strongly advise that you utilize a quarantine period prior to getting the fish into the display tank. Careful selection of your specimen is important, too. To answer your question- I suppose it's possible to put these fishes into a recently-established aquarium, provided the environmental parameters are stable. However, I'd want to wait a little longer to assure that the microfauna and other beneficial life is well established before introducing the fish, myself...> Thanks. Regards, Aaron <You're very welcome! Scott F. >

A Disagreement of Opinions Among Crewmembers Re: QT? >I just read in your hippo tang FAQs where it says not quarantining and placing new specimens in the main tank after a few bath was preferable. >>(Groan)  This woman STRONGLY disagrees. >I find that surprising since I have read on the site that "everything wet" should be quarantined before entering the tank. >>Let me just say that the majority of us are in total agreement of this policy, though we might disagree about sufficient q/t time (I'm a strong advocate of a 30 day minimum). >I have a relatively new blue tang addition to my 90 gal which I didn't qt and he has had mild ich since a week after arriving. >>Uh oh. >It wasn't the advice of WWM that precluded me not QTing,. It was the fact the damsels in the tank for 2 mo.s previous never showed signs of any problems.  Joe Culler >>I will strongly suggest you look for the writings of Terry Bartelme on ich and its lifecycle, how and why it may rear its ugly head. You will also find in his writings and here what to do now that you have an infestation in your display.  Marina

- Recuperating Hippo Tang - Howdy Crew - Hope this finds you well! <It does, thanks for asking.> About 7 weeks ago I very emotionally purchased a very ill and mistreated hippo tang.  The store gave him to me for almost nothing and I have slowly nursed him back to health. <Have attempted this type of rescue myself - honorable when it goes well, depressing when it doesn't.> He was severely emaciated, had a nice run of head and lateral line erosion, small case of ich and scales that appeared to be rotting away.  On the upside he was eating well and fairly active. After almost two months of great water quality, one run of Nitrofurazone a few formalin baths and a run of Metronidazole he has made drastic improvement. <Excellent - glad to hear this.> He has regained color and plumped up quite nicely.  He is in a 35g hospital and is almost 6" long. It is time to get him to his new home (sadly not mine) but I have just one last concern.  If you look at the photo you will see his face is a mess.  That is the worst area he has left.  There is no infection still (to my knowledge)  yet the scales are not showing any regrowth or repair.  I am wondering if this an issue of time or if it may never happen. <A little of both, methinks.> Could he be permanently scarred? <Is a possibility.> Is their something I can do to help this along? <Just time.> Can you see or think of anything else I should be concerned with before moving him? <A good home.> As always, a big Thank You!
<Cheers, J -- >

Blue tang w/HLLE Dear WWM HLLE-guru: <LOL> I can't seem to find anywhere a photo of what a Regal Tang looks like with HLLE.<hmm.. well in the last 3 weeks I have seen 4-5 at LFS stores> I have a 4" juve one of these, and it may or may not be getting this disease. I think these fish have normal bumps and craters in their facial area, but I don't know how to determine on mine if these are normal or the beginnings of HLLE.<well does it look like pitting is taking place? is he still the rich color blue. or is he fading? what do the nitrates test out at and what do you feed this fish. there are many factors involved as you can probably already tell. Can you send a picture of your hippo tang? I can probably tell you if it is the beginning of HLLE> Any links to a good photo would be appreciated... Thanks, SLC <you're welcome, IanB>

- Powder Blue Tang Woes - Well, it was a very sad day.  Around 5:00pm we ended up taking him into our fish doctor.  The tang was now on his side, his face sunken and bones showing as if he hadn't eaten in forever.  The diagnosis was grim.  It turned out to be cyanide poisoning. <Am sorry to hear that.> Needless to say, because we were so attached to him, we will NEVER buy another fish that could have been caught with cyanide.  We would GLADLY pay more for a fish that was caught with a net if we knew that he would live. <Well... there's a couple of tricks there... for the most part, once a fish arrives at your local store, the staff will be hard pressed the identify a non-cyanide caught fish. Even with the [dubious] efforts of the MAC, the fish that are supposed to be net caught are not really identified as such when they show up, and that just complicates matters. Your best bet is to work with your LFS to procure the animal in advance from a known good source like Quality Marine. Another option is to work with one of the online retailers like The Marine Center who specialize in difficult species.> Thank you for responding, Tara <Cheers, J -- >

-Blue tang going crazy!- I've purchased a blue tang in store yesterday. They've had the fish for 4 weeks and it was eating. I've put it into a quarantine tank (no medications). All parameters are ok. The whole day yesterday and today, the fish is not doing anything but banging into corner of aquarium! Swimming up and down, banging its head... the breathing rate is very high. What should I do? I've turned off the light in the aquarium, but I'm not sure what else can I do ? <It's just a little freaked out. The best you can do is keep the light off for a few days. Also make sure that there are places to hide (i.e.: large size PVC fittings, decorative rocks, etc). Good luck! -Kevin> thank you

Dip for Tang (7-26-03) How long of a preventative dip should I give a Paracanthurus? Also, should I put anything into the dip? <I would do 8-10 minutes.  Just make sure the PH and temp are good. Cody>

Reef-safe Tangs 6/15/03 Thanks......I have one more question. Are Blue Hippo Tangs any safer as not to nibble on Corals? <no surgeonfish is truly reef-safe. Most really do behave themselves (say 7 or 8 out of 10)... but a regular number (20-30% guesstimating) are nibblers on something desirable. And its not a matter of a species or genus that are rogue... but rather certain individuals. Luck of the draw that can be prevented if you/all of us would properly quarantine an animal before adding it to the main display. During the 4 month observation in QT, you can add small test pieces of invertebrate life to the tang rather than risk all with an impatient move to the main display. Bets regards, Anthony>

Black Spots On A Blue Tang? Hi all, <Scott F. with you today!> For the past month or so my Blue Regal has gone through a major sickness.  At first it looked like ich, but after it cleared up in quarantine, he had white bumps along his body. Since then, he and the other tankmates traveled to Las Vegas from Illinois and all were doing great in their new environment.  The Blue Tang even cleared up and got his color back.  Now, his bumps have returned and there are mostly black spots throughout his body, but still having the protrusions. <Certainly sounds parasitic in nature, to me. Hard to say, without a picture- but it sure sounds that way!> I've begun freshwater dips, but I don't know what he has and how to continue treating it.  He continues to eat normally (vitamin C enriched algae, flakes soaked in garlic, etc) and is not changing behavior (not rubbing against rocks or hiding).  What can you suggest? Chris Karl <Well, Chris- the fact that he's eating is a very good sign. I like the idea of freshwater dips; I hope that they will work better down the line for you. Perhaps you could increase the duration of the dips to more than 5 minutes...I'm a bit leery to recommend an aggressive treatment, like copper, unless we can ascertain exactly what this is we are dealing with. Another thought- you could try one of the medicated foods that are available from a number of manufacturers. Assuming we are dealing with a parasitic affliction, I'd get one that is anti-parasitic (duh). Since the fish is feeding well, medicated food may be helpful. Do peruse the disease FAQs on the WWM site to try to get a positive ID on what you're dealing with...Good luck with your efforts! See ya soon! Scott F>

Blue tang attacking shrimp and Sailfin that lost his color I have a hippo tang that I have had for 2 years. He has been pestering my cleaner and fire shrimp. He has bitten their antennas , and now they are very short. The shrimp have to hide from him so they don't get to enjoy the tank What should I do? <I would remove either the Blue Tang or the two shrimp-because I don't think the tang will stop biting them> Also, I have a Sailfin tang, desjardinii,  that doesn't have any blue background color, he is tan. Is there any food that brings out the more blue color, or any special light? <I would feed him Nori, and vitamin enriched food> Does he get more blue-gray with age? He is only three inches.<since he is such a small specimen I wouldn't be too concerned, but make sure to feed him food with vitamins and algae> Thanks, Cheryl

Nemo-aka the Blue Tang, and Gary the Stomatella Howdy again, fellow Wetheads!   I have a healthy, one-year-old 20-gallon reef tank into which I will introduce (after quarantine) a small juvenile Regal/Pacific Blue Tang (yes, my kids insisted on their own "Dory" fish after seeing previews of "Finding Nemo"). I've been studying up on the Blue Tang's weaknesses, such as ick, and hazards (tailhooks!), and I feel ready for the new arrival.<good to hear>   The tank's inhabitants (2 little clownfish, a ravenous but friendly Royal Pseudochromis, candy-cane coral, a few small brown/green mushrooms, some Montipora digitata, many scarlet hermits, Astraea+Cerith+Nassarius+Trochus snails, copepods, small worms, mucho coralline algae, LR+LS, etc) will relocate with the Tang into a planned 60-gallon tank very soon,<this tang will need this tank soon :)> and when the Tang acts cramped in the 60-gallon, we'll start an even larger tank.<good> Meanwhile I need to modify the ecosystem in the existing 20-gallon tank so that tang-edible macroalgae has a better chance at growing "a little," while not overwhelming the corals and coralline algae.<agreed>   Obviously, I'm only counting on the tank itself to provide a tiny portion of the Tang's algae diet, but I'd like to have him/her at least enjoy a little more macroalgae decor to nibble upon between real meals. I plan to return a few of my larger snails to the Local Fish Store. -- First question - Does this Tang REALLY eat "bubble algae" (esp. Valonia)?<have never seen this species eat bubble algae...and haven't read about it either> Since I've sworn off bubble-munching Mithrax crabs (too omnidestructive), I'd love for the Tang to relieve me of my occasional bubble-scratching responsibilities.<will probably not eat bubble algae> -- Second question - Is there anything which conveniently dines on the STOMATELLA VARIA (sporty little half-snails!),<well I was thinking more towards a wrasse from the genus Pseudocheilinus, I know they eat can/will eat hermit crabs-but they might eat helpful creatures as well> which have been a very helpful ally against algae in my tank but now are too numerous (and keep everything so clean that the larger algae-seeking snails suffer)? This landscape will seem too barren to the Tang. But my instinct is that any carnivore nasty enough to eat Stomatella might also attack....corals? fish? my fingers? My hope is that you folks know of a cute, tiny, highly-specialized mantis shrimp (can I ask for iridescent-red?) or whatever that chews Stoma Ella yet eschews other stuff. Fantasy, right? <A mantis shrimp will eventually consume ALL of your small fish and your little crustaceans/snails too>   By the way, one additional REALLY irritating aspect of having Stomatella in your tank is that their low-rider bodies occasionally find their way through even the narrow slots in pump-intakes; the sound made by Stomatella's "paper shells" when they suddenly seize up a miniature pump impeller is "schwing" (as in the movie "Wayne's World"). Easy to fix but a pain.   Concerning Stoma Ella, I found questions by "C" from Pittsburgh, PA, (and Anthony Calfo's answers) in.... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algcontfaq3.htm   ....and I'd like to reinforce Anthony's comment about this creature's "highly variable color." I started with maybe 3 or 4 TINY Stomatella (LR hitchhikers), soon had a population boom which subsided, and now there's seven or eight color/pattern variations, each apparently tuned to different LR surroundings. Not exactly crowd-pleasers, but they zip around like crazy, especially when the lights go out. On that note, goodnight and MANY thanks!<your welcome, I really don't believe there is a fish that specializes on Stoma Ella so it would be risking the lives of the other invertebrates in your aquarium, IanB> Bruce Mewhinney

Baby Hippo Hi Guys. Again many thanks to the crew for your dedication. This is a beacon in the night for those of us learning and taking the hobby seriously. We have just recently (a week ago ) acclimated a baby  hippo tang (adorable)<very cute little critters> but he hides a lot.<yes, worked at a retail shop-got 20-30 in at a time and always hid when we went near the aquarium> Is this normal?<yes> He also looks like he has scratches on him,<they hide in small crevices...scratches are normal. but keep and eye on the depth of the scratches> not salt like ich (but he is not scratching the rocks). Does this necessarily mean he has ich?<not necessarily> Do fish sometimes scratch for territory and not disease?<yes...if this fish hides all the time...he will scratch himself while trying to hide> He eats when we feed them and no one is fighting but I know that they (hippos) are prone to ich.<agreed> He is breathing quickly but I also just noticed my PH is very low (don't know why) So I am correcting that now.<yes, a good salt mix should fix that problem> Is  there a quick way to get PH up. I am adding buffer and have added an air tube for more oxygen.<good> Could the low PH be the cause of the breathing? Even my Percula is breathing heavy.<could be, would check water parameters> A mish mesh of questions I know, my apologies. He (hippo) is also trying to cohabitate with my neon goby .The goby "why me?" Is this normal or is this because he is a baby (the hippo)?<normal, neon gobies are very interesting little critters> I don't want to remove him for treatment unless I have to because that just causes more stress. Copper would require moving him.<yes, don't treat until you are sure of what is wrong with him> How long should I wait? Until PH is back to normal?<would just check water quality, don't think your fish are sick, make sure your nitrates are under 30ppm and you have zero nitrites and ammonia readings><Keep reading on WWM and good luck, IanB> Thanks Christy

Blue Tang With A Mean Streak! I thought tangs were herbivores, mine is attacking other fish and is now eating my cleaner shrimp!   <Attacking the shrimp is really unusual, but bossing around tank mates is certainly not unusual for any tang!> What could I be doing wrong?  I literally bought 2 new cleaners because the other 2 were letting his ick get a little out of hand.  So, I thought some competition would help clean the fish up...well I put the other two in and the tang went NUTS.  He started attacking the cleaner shrimps tentacles and then eventually killed and ate him?????????? Now I know why the existing cleaner shrimp hide in the frog spawn! Any ideas? Jeanie York <Well, Jeanie, it sounds like you're not doing anything wrong here...It's just that tangs (like people) have distinct individual personalities; one can be a perfectly model citizen, and another can be an unholy terror! The aggression towards the shrimp is just one of those things that you can't explain! Sometimes, attacks on other fishes can be reduced by breaking up the aquascaping a bit- giving slightly different "territories" to the fish, which may reduce some of the aggression...Other than that- you may need to just wait out this "aggressive phase" and hope that he mellows out a bit. It may be necessary to remove some of the tank mates that are creating this aggressive behavior (perhaps for their own safety!)...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

The Hippo Is A Sick-O! I recently bought a med hippo tang (yesterday). The LFS I bought him from QTs their fish for 7-14 days. Today he is rubbing against the rocks and has small white spots. <Uh-Oh...could be ich- or worse. You need to take immediate action... By the way, unless the LFS quarantines the fishes in tanks that have no connection to a central filtration system, does not add any new fishes into the tank after the quarantine period has started, and completely breaks down the tanks after each use, then I would not consider the fish "quarantined". The quarantine process is very simple, but requires perseverance in order to be successful. And, the quarantine period should last a minimum of 3 weeks- ideally, a month. This gives sufficient time to assure that, if diseases arise, you can catch them before they are introduced into the display> The other fish in the tank have been fed garlic soaked food once a day for the last 2 weeks. They include 2 perc clowns 2 yellowtails damsels a yellow tang a royal Gramma a yellow goby 125 gal tank, with 75lbs live rock. Should I try to beat this with the garlic soaked food and seaweed or should I net him and put him in qt for a week or 2 with meds? <Garlic may have some value as a preventative, but the jury is still out as to its effectiveness as a "cure". I'd rely on more traditional treatment regimes.> If so what do you suggest? <Well, my recommended course of action doesn't endear me to every hobbyist- but here it is: I'd remove ALL of the fishes from the display tank, even the ones that are not showing symptoms. If an infected fish has been placed in the display, there is a good possibility that the parasites that cause ich are in the tank now, and that the other fishes have been exposed to it. I'd treat the fish that are showing signs of the illness with a commercial copper sulphate remedy (follow manufacturer's instructions to the letter, and test for copper concentration). Meanwhile, the display tank should run "fallow", without fishes, for about a month. In the absence of potential hosts, the parasite population will "crash", and their numbers will be dramatically reduced to a level that otherwise healthy fishes should withstand. This is a very conservative course of action, it's not fun- but it really works. Believe me, it's absolutely awful to watch one fish after another contract this disease, especially after you think that you've licked it...Hope this helps! Scott F>

Troubled Tang <Hi Abby, PF here with your this AM> I have a blue tang that seems to be suffering from HLLE and is experiencing some fin degeneration.  Pictures in your book seem to indicate it may be fin rot.  I am really at my wit's end.  The fish is fat and eats well.  All other tank inhabitants (flame angel, neon gobies, clowns, damsels, and mandarin) are fine and look awesome.  I feed a variety of frozen foods (always soaked in Selcon or VitaChem - I alternate the vitamins) and flake foods.  I also have plenty of algae growing in the tank, I buy special "tang heaven" packages for this fish, I place dried Nori seaweed, etc. <Well, he sounds happily spoiled. This is a stumper.> I did not buy any crabs when I set up the tank. <My wife heard several loud expletives directed at the crab population of my first tank.> There are two crabs that came with and live in the live rock. I really do not think they are bothering him.  None of the fish bother him as he is the largest fish.  Tank set up for 14 months.  Tang has been in tank about 6 months, came down with symptoms about 3 months ago.  I am confused because his condition seems to be staying the same.  If he was getting well, I would expect to see improvement.  If he was getting worse, I would expect to see deterioration.  Also, the fin rot is puzzling because as a bacterial disease, wouldn't other fish be affected.  I also feed Mysis shrimp regularly, brine shrimp occasionally as a treat.  I tried the steamed broccoli idea but the fish would not eat it. <Mine either> The tank is a 110 gallon tank.  I quarantine all fish for 4 weeks <Good for you. Nice to see someone being responsible> -- the tang was treated this way also.  I am pretty against the use of medications in the main tank <More harm than good IMO> but feel that I will not be able to capture the tang to place in QT. <You could use a clear container (a large acrylic pitcher for instance). Put some Nori on a clip at the bottom, have the pitcher in sideways. Feed him this way for a few days, then spring the trap by sliding the lid behind him. You could try mixing some garlic in with his food too. Blend it up with the vitamins. There is some ongoing debate about the effectiveness of garlic, but it can't hurt (and my fish love the stuff). >  I just do not know what to do now.  Any help or feedback would be appreciated.  Abby <Well, I've also seen some research showing that Ly Seng's ecosystem filters help with HLLE, though that's a rather expensive option (and controversial in it's own right). I'd recommend you get him into a hospital tank, and treat him there for his infection. In addition, here's the webpage for HLLE: www.WetWebMedia.com/hlle.htm  . Do read that and the FAQs attached to it. I hope the little guy recovers soon, and I hope I've been able to help some. PF>

Tang Scratching Normal? >Hey everybody, >>Hey yourself, Paul. >Just want to start off by thanking everybody there for A LOT of help throughout my startup. Even though this is my first written question your pages have answered tons of others and got me this far with minimal problems.   >>Excellent.  Glad to hear it, goal achieved. >Overview of tank: >125G standard main with ~140# Live rock (Fiji) 1/4" to 3/4" fine sand >48G DIY Acrylic Sump with EV-180 Skimmer >6" DSB >38G Refugium with 4" coarse DSB >Water Quality is as follows: >SG 1.025 >Ammonia 0 >Nitrite 0 >Nitrate <5ppm >pH 8.4 daytime >Alk 8.5dKH >temp 78 >Fishes: >1 Zebrasoma veliferum (Pacific Sailfin Tang) ~2" when bought 12/21/03 stocked 2/24/03, is now ~2 1/2" >2 Paracanthurus hepatus (Hippo Tangs) ~3/4" when bought 12/21/03, Stocked 2/24/03, is now 1 1/4" >2 Pomacentrus alleni (Allen's Damsels) ~1" when bought 12/1/02 (were 3), stocked 1/3/03 is now ~2" >2 Amphiprion percula (Percula Clowns) ~3/4" when bought 12/1/02, stocked 1/3/03, are now 1 1/2" and ~2" >>WOW!  Great charting and fantastic growth, I can't imagine you having a problem, let's read on. >Inverts include various small snails, hermits, small sand clams, and hitchhikers.  My question is this: My wife bought me the tangs for a x-mas gift (of course without asking what to get...) because they were cute. >>She meant well, but it seems a little chat is in order, yeah? >When I put them into quarantine one of the hippos started scratching after about 2 weeks, so everyone got FW/Methylene Blue dips (~15min) for 3 days. >>In the quarantine system, yeah?  If so, you're spot on.  However, there are only two methods that I know of that are proven to cure any ich (the obvious suspect).  They are hyposalinity (<1.010) and copper.  Many folks don't want to copper their tangs, however, I've never had a problem using good quality (Cupramine) products, and DAILY testing, along with lots of good, fresh water.  Expensive, I know (because along with the water changes you have to add the medication again), but it's the standard at the local public aquarium and it works. >Other than a scratch on the tang's side where he was scratching on the decorations in the QT tank saw no indications of any spots or disease.   >>Great, this is to be expected, but with a good feeding regimen they should heal quickly. >Left them all in QT for another 4 weeks before stocking them into the display.   >>You're using the same protocol I would. >Now after they have been in the display for about 6 weeks the same tang has started scratching again.   >>Darn fish. >Nothing has been added into the tank without QT since the LR/inverts at the beginning. Nothing has changed in the tank since these fish were added. My question is should I just watch him for awhile more (been scratching about once an hour for the last 4 days) or should I tear apart my tank trying to get him out of my LR?   >>I would put in some cleaner shrimps, and, if you don't already use any food supplements, then begin soaking your Nori/krill in something such as Selcon.  Also, if you don't already, I suggest free feeding Nori and romaine.  I believe that if you address water quality (other than nitrates, yours is tip top) and nutrition, the cleaners should help keep anything else in check. >He seems very healthy eats good, no rapid breathing, is schooling well with the damsels and other hippo (strange school but they like it). >>So, just a touch, I wouldn't stress him (or yourself) further at this point. >Sorry to ramble but wanted to give you all the information possible to get the right answer.  Thanks in advance, Paul. >>No worries, we want and *need* that information to give you the best answer possible.  Marina

Loss of color Once again I come to you guys for help, you have never steered my wrong.  I have a Pacific Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) that has developed a 1/4" white "patch" on one side of its body.  Not like ich or velvet, more like an area void of color. Fish seems otherwise healthy, eating, breathing OK. I have a QT set-up and I'm wondering if I should move him for further observation.  Also, any directions if the condition worsens? As always thanks for your time and excellent advise. Mike Maas >>Hello Mike.  Because this sounds as though the fish may be experiencing some sort of stress, I would certainly keep an eye on him.  Observe for other changes, behavior he exhibits towards other fish, or that they may exhibit towards him.  If you think you can catch him and not cause him undue stress, then moving him to the q/t might not be a bad idea.  Also, try to see if there are visible changes to the skin, he may have had a scrape, and might need a bit of a boost with vitamins and/or antibiotics (but don't use anything just because you think he *might* have been nicked). >>Keep us posted!  Marina

Tangling With Quarantine Hello; <Hi there! Scott F. here today> Just wondering what your take is on quarantining  hippo tangs. I want to buy one and plan on quarantining it for a couple of weeks. A friend of mine read here that you people don't believe in quarantining this particular fish and I would like to know the reasons for that. Want to make the right decision.              Thank you. Craig <Well, Craig- I'd have to disagree with whoever suggested that you should not quarantine this fish. The Hippo Tang is notorious as an "ich magnet", and tends to be particularly prone to acquiring this disease. It is for that very reason that it should be quarantined. I suppose the school of thought which suggests not quarantining this, and other species of tangs assumes that they are more stressed out by the quarantine process. Again- I tend to disagree. It seems to me that a fish which is easily stressed should be a prime candidate for quarantine. I would not, however, use medications, such as copper, with this or any fish, unless the appearance of disease dictates. Tangs have digestive bacteria that can be easily damaged by prolonged exposure to copper. In the end, though- quarantine all new fishes a minimum of three weeks. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

This Hippo Is A Sicko...(Treating a Sick Hippo Tang) Thank you for the info...much appreciated...."freshwater" dip instructions very clear...thank you...I unfortunately have more questions regarding this...I was able to find a Methylene blue 5% solution...the only directions on the package say to add one drop per gallon of water...is this for a QT tank or a dip? I don't know how much of this stuff to add to dip and how much water do I want for the dip --- 1 gal , 2 gal? <I use a decidedly "low tech" approach...I use a 3- 5 gallon bucket, and add enough Methylene blue to color the water a deep, royal blue color...simple as that. Methylene blue is gentle to pretty much every fish that you'd commonly encounter in the hobby, so it's pretty hard to mess this up, IMO!> I understand that the time in dip will depend on condition of fish...I have never dipped a fish before...Just want to do it right the first time so now life lost...after dip I plan to QT for four weeks per your instruction and let display go fallow. <Yep- let the main system run fallow for a month. As far as the dip duration, I'd shoot for at least 3 to 5 minutes (preferably 5 minutes) > Can I leave the invertebrates (snails, crabs, orange Linckia, coral banded shrimp, feather duster, etc.) in display while fish are out...Will it still go fallow? <Yep- this is fine...The inverts are not thought to be hosts for the parasitic illnesses that we're talking about> Also do I keep specific gravity and temp normal in the display throughout this process? <I would, personally. In fact, if you are keeping the inverts in the main tank, then you really cannot mess with the specific gravity. Some people like the lower specific gravity approach in a fallow tank...I have not done this myself, and have been very successful with the fallow route...your call here> Do I do water changes, and how frequent during this "fallowing" period? <Follow your regular maintenance schedule, which I hope includes at least weekly, if not more frequent, water changes> In the QT tank , during the copper treatments for velvet, should I include fish that show no symptoms in order to let main go fallow...I have a royal Gramma that looks fine and eats great...and a clown goby that has had a couple of white circles on him off and on for a couple days...Is this velvet too? <Hard to say- but better safe than sorry. I would include the fishes that are showing no signs of infection, as they have been exposed. If you have an extra tank, and are leery about copper sulphate, you can put the "not-yet-showing-symptoms" fishes in there, without copper.> Spots don't look grainy or salt like , it looks soft and "velvety"( excuse the term) which makes me think it is ...the Hippo is more covered not circles...and is still not eating...I have continued offering algae sheets, Tetra Marine Color flakes, and brine shrimp,  I have only seen him eat a few flakes one time since we've had him(2-25)  any suggestions on what else I could offer, especially while in QT <Hippos are more "planktivorous" than most other tang species, so I'd try frozen Mysis shrimp. And I'd enrich all foods at this point with a nutritional supplement, such as Selcon> Should I get a vitamin supplement of some sort ? any recommendations? <Yep! You hit it on the head...I'd use Vita Chem, and administer it directly into the water in the hospital tank. This way, the fish can absorb or drink the preparation...Important for fishes that are fighting an illness> I live in Illinois and the local stores are terrible about information and not to mention product availability...so it might take a couple days for me to order something... <Well, give the LFS a try first, but if you can't locate the products you need, then definitely mail order...Getting the copper sulphate is more important than the vitamin preparations at this point...You should be able to find a product like Copper Safe or Cupramine locally>    Thank you for all your help , I really appreciate it...In the mean time I'll continue to re-read the info on WWM and await your response...Thank You again...J. Smith <You're quite welcome! Just hang in there, take decisive action, and the fishes should recover nicely! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>
This Hippo Is A Sicko (Pt. 2)
Thank you thank you  thank you....you cleared up so many of my questions! <Really glad to hear that!> I picked up CopperSafe today and I am in the process of setting up the dip.  I couldn't find a copper test at my LFS....will be ordering one online tonight...will probably hold off on adding copper till tomorrow so I can be sure of testing it (it will take 2 days to get kit). <Very wise! Always test concentration of copper> I will definitely do freshwater dip and get them into QT right away ...I am also scheduled for water change today...Thank you again for sharing your knowledge with me It is very much appreciated....I feel much better after your reply...good day, J. Smith <Always happy to help! You're gonna do fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: blue tang In my experience in seems that most of the blue tangs in the local fish store have what appears to be bleached white spots on them. I live in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada and the fish have to travel long distances to get here. These spots that I am referring to are not ick (have seen that  on a blue tang before). The fish store owner isn't quite sure what these bleached spots are but he feels that it is just stress related. There isn't much other information I can give, basically these are just lighter blue spots that seem to come and go. I have been dealing with the owner for some time now and feel I can trust him, he is a keeper FO marine fish himself. Should this be something to worry about when buying a blue tang. Regards, Rick <If your job is to buy the best, healthiest livestock, condition is the only way to judge health. Stressed fish are not healthy fish. Poorly colored fish are not a good example of health nor are skinny fish with irregularities in color, body condition, temperament, etc.  Craig>

PYT Blue Tang I have a blue tang in my 10 gallon quarantine tank.  When he was in my 80 gallon and I had to take him out because he would wedge himself in my coral and it was deteriorating his scales rapidly.  Once in my 10 gallon I started treating him with MelaFix.  It seems to be working very slowly is there any suggestions you have to speed this up or a better treatment   <Mmm, well the Pacific Yellow Tail Blue Tang DOES wedge itself into nooks, crannies quite often (this is a natural behavior), but am concerned about your statement re "deteriorating scales". I would place this fish back in the main system (as it will likely do much better there), and look to improving its living circumstances (improved algal foods with supplements, using cleaner organisms, checking water quality (cleaned skimmer recently?). Your fish's root problem is likely environmental, perhaps even social (is someone bullying it in the display system?). Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracant.htm and the associated FAQs files (linked, in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

Re: disease? I have a hippo tang with small bumps on his body. It looks like small pimples of some sort (best way I can describe it). I have searched online but have only found one disease that seems to fit what he has, and that was called wasting disease. I have had the fish about a year now and never had any problems with him so far and he still eats and it seems to not bother him at all. I would like your opinion as to what it could be and what I should do about it. Should I give him a freshwater dip or just leave it alone and see what happens? It started out as one bump about 5 days ago and has progressed to about 6 to 8 bumps now, mainly on the middle part of body. Any help with this would be appreciated, thank you.   <This is hopefully evidence of a microsporidean infection... a type of protozoan. And not (currently) "treatable". Not uncommon in wild stocks or otherwise healthy Paracanthurus. These "spots" are multiplying too quickly to suit me though. I wouldn't dip or chemically try to medicate this specimen for now, unless the "spots" are white, epidermal (rather than blue, subdermal)... in which case I suspect marine ich... and would read quickly on www.WetWebMedia.com re treatment. Bob Fenner>

Shipping Troubles (Paracanthurus) Dear WWM Crew, hope all is well with you.  I have ordered many fish from a very reputable online dealer, and never had a problem.  The dealer is in the next state, and the fish don't have to travel nearly as far as if I were ordering from some of the other online retailers.  I recently have ordered a Blue Hippo Tang, which they said was not necessarily a delicate shipper,  I  lost the first one they sent within five minutes of opening the shipping bag; they sent a replacement, this one lasted almost 24 hours, before passing on.  I have acclimated these fish to the last little detail of their guidelines.  Both fish had brilliant colors and appeared to be very healthy specimens. <Mmm, Paracanthurus are "average" shippers re incidental mortality> Here is my question, why am I having problems receiving these fish alive, when the LFS seems to get in 5 or 10 in one shipment and even if they don't look like healthy fish, at least their alive.  By the way, in case your wondering why I don't want to buy fish from this LFS, I have had so many problems with them in the past, that its come to the point that I just don't buy fish from them. <I see. Your two losses could be a "luck of the draw" coincidence... might be the bagger, wholesaler...> Is there something that I should ask the shipper to do differently, is there a different way to acclimate a fish that is received in poor shape. <Mmm, not really... just to "keep an eye" as the animals are being moved about, waiting> Is there anything I can do on my end, to help a fish that seems to have shipped poorly.  I am very frustrated at losing these fish, as I feel it is an unnecessary death(s), and I don't want any part in that.  I Thank You and appreciate your time and your knowledge.  Jen Marshall <Our collective input on acclimation can be found on WWM. Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm and through the linked (in blue, at top) pages onward. Bob Fenner>

Stocking question Hey there WWM crew - I would like your thoughts on some additional fish I am considering. <I'm a'thinkin'> I currently have a 55 gallon tank (w/separate refugium) that has a percula clownfish, hepatus tang, and sixline wrasse - all long-time inhabitants (18-24 months). <The Hepatus will outgrow this tank in short order. The Hepatus that I had got really mean after a little more than a year. In fact, it got so bad I was forced to trade him in at the LFS for store credit> I am thinking about adding another percula clownfish and a trio of Talbot's damsels.   <Trade in the Hepatus, skip the additional percula and add the trio of damsels> I am wondering if this is too many damsel-like fish for this size tank? <The Hepatus is what worries me> Also, my hepatus tang nips at the tail of the wrasse a bit, and I am hoping a few more fish might give him a few more targets and make everyone happier...? <Opps...Trouble in paradise! Nope...Don't count on calming this guy down by adding more fish. In fact, I predict that it will make the problem even worse. Your tank is very small for the Hepatus and his reaction to all these other fishes will be large. How do you feel when you're in a very crowded room for a long amount of time?>    Is this a sign he's getting too big for the tank (about 4-5" now)?   <It's not just about size...He needs lots of room to roam and forage. Clowns and wrasses in the wild tend to stake out areas and stay there...The Hepatus doesn't do this and that's why your tank is small and will become too small in the near future> Other than this he seems behaviorally perfectly happy (bought captive reared).   <Hum...Never knew tangs could be tank reared. Live and learn I guess...> And of course I really have no clue if he's a "he" ;]. <Neither do I!> Thanks - Keith <You're welcome! David Dowless>

Hippo Needs A Dip? I am sorry to be bothering you about this (since I should know what it is), but I can't seem to get into the chat forum at this time. It is giving me an error message. <Well- hopefully we can help you out here... Scott F. with you!> Anyway, my hippo tang has a white spot on his fin. It isn't very small like ich usually is. It is about the size of maybe 6 or7 grains of salt all clumped together. I gave him some tetra anti parasite flakes and he gobbled them down like a hippo would. Is this in fact ich or something bacterial? <Hard to say from here. A single larger mass like you are describing could be anything from a parasite to the beginnings of Lymphocystis. If there are no other visible symptoms of illness on the fish, or behavior indicative of disease, such as scratching, heavy breathing, etc., then it could indeed be Lympho.> I haven't done a water test in about 4 days (but that is next on my list when I finish this email). However, my AM, Nitrites, nitrates were all 0. My PH was about 8.0, so I added buffer to it. And my temp is steady at 78. We have had a house full of people for the past week that could have stressed him out and I had my hand in tank for a few minutes last night trying to break up a constant battle between two hermits. <Stress is definitely a factor in disease, but it may have been a pre-existing condition that just manifested itself visually...coincidence?> I have no QT tank, so whatever I do Unfortunately has to be done in the main tank. <That was my next question. Maladies such as this are a lot easier to deal with during quarantine...Ideally this process should last 3-4 weeks; part of the reason for quarantine is to allow symptoms to show and give you the opportunity to address them before being placed in the main tank. Do consider a simple quarantine set up in the near future. It will pay real dividends in terms of healthier fish, greater control, and less headaches!> I have a Des. Sailfin, who is fine and two perculas who are also fine. But whenever I have had problems in the past, the hippo was always the first to show signs. <Yep- these fish are great "barometers", often tipping you off to approaching illness.> >I am going to do a 10 gallon water change tonight! I will test the water right now and email you my results. My question, should I be worried, or will my water change and anti-parasite flakes take care of this????? < Regular water changes are always a good thing, but I don't think that they will "cure" a condition such as this. They are great for keeping high-quality water conditions Anti-parasitic food is effective only if you are dealing with a parasitic infection, of course-and only if the fish consumes the stuff in sufficient quantities. I'd look long and hard in the disease archives on the WetWebMedia.Com site to confirm what it is you may be dealing with here. You could attempt some freshwater dips to see if they help-they are often effective at treating parasites. Do read more on the site regarding dipping procedures. Should this turn out to be ich (and it sounds like it may not be...), different procedures and techniques are called for.> My tank is 2.5 years old. Thanks, FF <Keep a close eye on this fish, and be prepared to take proper action in a prompt manner if required. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>
Hippo Needs A Dip? (PT 2)
No scratching, heavy breathing or anything out of the ordinary. His mouth was a little swollen  few weeks ago, but antibacterial flakes fixed that. Is this related? <Sounds different to me...really hard to say from here> I am going to read on Lympho right now as I do not yet know what it is. I don't think we can catch him to dip him unless I tear apart the tank! <Very frustrating, I know- but it's much better to treat sick in a different aquarium. Medicating in the main tank is almost always problematic, for a variety of reasons.> Would anti bacterial flakes and MelaFix work? I have no corals, only LR, shrimp, crabs and snails. <Medicated flakes are okay to use, but I am somewhat skeptical of their effectiveness (I mean, how many flakes equals a proper therapeutic dose, and how often do you need to feed to achieve the desired results?). Melafix is recommended for some funguses and injuries, and is advertised to be invertebrate safe, but I'd really avoid using any medication in the main aquarium. Once again, it's no fun to remove the fish, but this is really the best way to treat a sick fish. Diagnose the disease that you're dealing with; be patient, catch the fish if necessary, and the fish should be okay. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>
The Hippo Needs A Dip (PT3)
Thank You Scott. <You're welcome!> Fortunately he actually looks better today. He seems to LOVE medicated flakes more than Mysis shrimp. If you can believe that! So maybe they helped. I will keep an eye on him and if he gets any worse, take him out and dip him for sure. <Good move, IMO> We have caught him on several occasions to put drops on his eyes when he gets Popeye, so we know it can be done. It is just a 2 hour ordeal that we would like to avoid if we can. <So would he! LOL :)> I read up on the Lympho and it sounded like what I saw. Thanks so much for you quick response. I am so glad you were there or I would still be thinking it was ich and I would have raised temp and lowered salinity for nothing!!! <It's always nice to get a second opinion before embarking on a course of treatment! I'm glad that we were able to point you in the right direction. Still- keep a close eye on him just to be sure! And keep up quality environmental conditions with regular maintenance and keen observation, and I'm sure your fish will be fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

White spot on my blue tangs. Hi there...sorry to bother you... I am just beginner on marine reef. I just  recently bought 3" blue tangs <Tangs? Not tang? You mean more than one?> for my 33 gallon tank <Uh-Oh!> before I put him to my tank. I just changed the water after 5 hr then I put my blue tangs inside my tank. After 2 days I saw white spot on the body but the tangs seem good in swimming and eating very well only the white spot on his body. what should I do? <One white spot? Watch carefully for a while. I wouldn't worry too much about one spot. However, these fish are known as "ich magnets" and it is certainly possible this fish may have ich. He needed to be placed in a quarantine tank before being placed in your main display> must  I change the water? I check the NO2 and its ok. What is the problem bob and what must I do? <My friend...I see a couple of problems...Your tank is really too small to house a blue tang long term. I  know it probably looks like it's doing alright now but he will grow...up to 12"! Here's my advice: Before purchasing any other fish get a good fish book. Michael Scott has a book called "Marine Fishes". It's a small pocket size book that is needed by virtually all hobbyists. Secondly...you also need a good book on husbandry techniques. I suggest Bob Fenner's book "The Conscientious Aquarist". Lastly, peruse the WetWebMedia.Com facts and articles section to learn the basics about aquarium setup, water chemistry, aquarium husbandry and much, much, more! David Dowless> thanks <You're welcome! Keep reading and learning!>

Little Blue Hippo Tang I just put my little blue tang in the tank.  He was in quarantine for a month. Why would he stay at the top and try to get his head out of the water? He is not breathing fast, he is really nervous for some reason. He is the only tang in the tank any idea? <Hello, this behavior could just be a result of being moved from a quarantine tank to a new display. He may be nervous in his new house. To be certain we would need to know your tank size, filtration, other tank mates, and water parameters (ph, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, salinity, and temp). If you can test your water and let us know, or have your local fish store test your water that would be helpful. Best Regards, Gage>

Baby Blue hippo Tangs Hi Guys! Great Website Just a quick question I got a 280 gallon tank with a 5/6 inch Hippo tang in it already. I was at a local pet shop and a saw a schooling group of fat and I mean Fat Baby Hippo tangs. There were 4 of them and they are all about an inch. I was just wondering if it was safe to add them or would the big hippo try to kill them or even eat them. Any advice would be appreciated as the store has them on hold for me. Thanks, Jay <Hippo, Palette, Pacific Yellow Tail Blue Tangs... Paracanthurus (hepatus) is one of the few "exceptions" to the general rule of Tang conspecific aggression... likely the newcomer/s would do fine with your existing one. Have you seen here?: http://www.WetWebMedia.com/paracant.htm

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here

New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

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