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FAQs about the Pacific Yellow-Tail Blue, Palette, Hippo Tang 3

Related Articles: The Genus Paracanthurus

Related FAQs: Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 1Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 2, 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,



Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

T-5 Lighting And Sizing A Tank For A Hippo - 10/28/05 Hello crew, John here. <<Hello John...EricR here.>> I have a couple of questions, which after perusing the FAQ's, I could not find an answer for the particular situation. <<ok>> Perhaps you can shed some light? 1) Currently, I have a 90 gallon reef (softies and LPS) which is lit with 4x110 watt URI fluorescent tubes on an IceCap 660 ballast (2 actinic white and 2 actinic). <<Way more actinic than you need/want.>> I have seen some references to using this ballast to run a quartet of 54 watt HO T-5's, suggesting the bulbs would run at 85 watts and would be brighter. <<Would likely overdrive the bulbs, yes...which also shortens their already short life (in my opinion).>> This suggests that the lumens/watt would be higher than with VHO's. Do you have any insight on this? Is it just rubbish or is it an easy and worthwhile upgrade from VHO?  <<Not and "upgrade" at all in my opinion, I consider the VHO's to be better "bang for the buck" than PC's. I think if you were to replace all but one of the Actinic bulbs with either 6500K or 10000K bulbs you would be much better off than switching to PCs (even overdriving the bulbs, 85 watts is still less than 110 watts).>> 2) Speaking of up-grades, I am starting to plan my next tank, looking towards providing enough room for larger fishes (not huge, but things like hippo tangs and 'reef-safe' BF's). <<Hundreds of gallons in size I hope.>> The FAQ's suggest a minimum of a six-foot tank. Unfortunately, due to placement and space considerations in the home, a 5 foot tank would be much more do-able. The standard sizes for these seem to be 150 and 190 gallons. <<You might get away with a single Hippo Tang, but not more. These are very active (even twitchy) and robust animals that can reach a foot in length. I prefer to see them in larger quarters myself. As for "reef-safe" Butterflies, of those considered as such, this tank should be fine for a specimen or two of different specie.>> Would such a tank be adequate or will I be looking at the tank in a few years and pitying the plight of my poor charges?  <<The latter I believe...>> Thanks; JT <<Regards, EricR>>

Regal Tang or Hippo Tang Research Project  3/3/03 I am studying the Regal Tang in school (scientific name: Paracanthurus hepatus.) I would like to ask you a few questions about the fish.<Lets see what ya got.> 1.)what does it eat?<Meaty foods-finely chopped fish and shrimp.  Frozen herbivore preparations too> 2.)What is its territory in the tank?<It needs a minimum 100 gallon tank.  "Freckleface" of the WWF chat forum has a Regal Tank aka hippo tang.  Hers has it's own cave that he/she defends.> 3.)What its' territory in the wild would be?<It lives in the Indo-Pacific> 4.)How does it interact with member of its species?<This is a tough one...they may "fade/brighten" their colors, bite at one another etc.> 5.)How does it interact with at least two other species?<Probably the same as above> 6.)What is 1 species that could be added to the tank that would make a positive or neutral impact?<False Percula Clowns> 7.) A negative impact?<Another Regal Tang or even a different type of tang.> 8.)How does the coral benefit the tank?<Coral would probably not have any effect on the tang> 9.) Why do the snails stick to the side of the tank?<They clean algae off the sides.  They use suction to keep themselves attached.> 10)How does the eco-wheel work?<Do you mean bio-wheel, as in the filter type?  The BW spins giving the bacteria on it a mix of fresh saltwater and fresh air.> 11.)How can you tell a fish is sick?<This is a really really big question.  I use a Hippo Tang.  These fish are prone to contract a sickness called ICH.  They get white-spots all over their bodies.  They rube/ich themselves on the rock in the aquarium.  When sick fish may breath heavy, lose color, and not eat to name a few signs.> 12.)What should the temp. be?<For a Hippo Tang 75-78 degrees F> Thank you, this is greatly appreciated!<Hope this helps!!  Good luck with your report!  Phil>

RE: Hippo Tang Research Project  3/4/03 Thank you!<No problem! Phil with ya again!> I have a couple more questions, What kind of tang would react badly to the regal tang?<Any other type of tang presents a problem.  The biggest threat would come from a tang that has the same colors/markings.  Say a Yellow or Blue Tang...>   What does the coral do for the tank, not the regal tang?<Coral itself is a way different topic than say fish; coral shouldn't be included in every marine aquarium.  It's not like live rock, where live rock can be placed in almost any aquarium.  I'm just starting out with corals and keep mostly Fish-Only tanks.  Anthony another WWM Crew member is more into corals than I am, therefore he has more coral tanks vs. fish tanks.> Thanks again!<Sorry for not getting the questions the first time.  If you need more feel free to write back!  Phil>

Blue Tang Questions Hi- <Hi, MikeD here> Thanks for all the time and effort put into this site.  It has been very helpful!! <Thank you...we try.>  I am looking to buy a blue tang and have a few questions.  What origin is most desirable and why?<First off, when you say "Blue Tang" are you referring to the Pacific Blue Tang, aka the Hippo Tang, "Dory", etc. (Paracanthurus hepatus) or the Atlantic Blue Tang (Acanthurus coeruleus)? If the former, like many fish that occur over a wide range, there is some slight variation from region to region where it is found, with many claiming that Red Sea specimens are more brightly colored, thus often much higher in price.>  What is the ideal size to buy (if bought on-line)?<Hippo Tangs are notoriously susceptible to marine Ick, with larger specimens sometimes being more resistant than the very small ones.>  Is this fish compatible with a yellow tang?<In my opinion, no, as tangs should realistically be maintained one per tank. While they may get along as small juveniles, the likelihood that the Yellow will pick on the Hippo is quite high initially, with the added stress just one more factor that increases the chances of an ick outbreak.>  Should the blue tang be similar in size to the yellow?<If you insist on trying it, my suggestion would be to get a Hippo that's substantially larger than the yellow as they are generally much more mild mannered, keeping in mind that many to most Tangs gradually develop aggressive attitudes to relatives as they mature.>  I had planned to keep the blue in QT for 4 weeks, then introduce him to the main tank, and at the same time take the yellow out for a week so the blue can get comfortable. Is this advisable?<That sounds like as wise an idea as possible, but again, an older, mature and established tank is of great assistance and will increase the chances for success, with the more room the better.>  Thanks again for your help!<Good luck to you....while this combination is somewhat successful compared to most other Tang combinations, the odds against it are very high due to the delicate nature of the Hippos.> Wes

Blue tang Hi <How goes it, Michael here this afternoon>  I have a small blue tang. It seems to like scratch against the live rock and I'm a little worried about it. Is this normal behavior it eats well is very lively and swims all over the place.  Any ideas?  <Blue tangs are crypto magnets, so just watch him carefully.  If you notice white spots, heavy breathing, and more flashing, you may want to quarantine him.  There is a ton of information regarding crypto in the WWM archives for further reading.  Also, when you email WWM, please provide an email with correct grammar and sentence construction.  M. Maddox> Hippo tang I have a medium size hippo tang and he loves to eat formula 1 and 2 and prime reef. I have also feed him spinach which he enjoys very much along with eating bloodworms that I feed to my scooter blenny and he also enjoys brine shrimp. I have hear that you could feed them broccoli, romaine lettuce, and green and purple algae sheets. <I've never tried the broccoli but yes they generally like romaine and the algae sheets commonly called Nori that you can get in Chinese sections of stores.> what I was wondering is do you know of anything else to feed him and where I could purchase it? <There are always pellets as another option. I'm very pleased with the ones from Marine land and vita chem. Then there are Mysis and brine shrimp that are enhanced with vitamins. > Thank you for your time. <Good luck Joe, MacL> Joe Dalaviras Hippo Tang Behavior I would first like to say that your website is by far the best  source of information I have been able to find on the care and maintenance of marine aquariums.  Without you guys my fish tank would be in a world of hurt.  Currently I have a 4 month old 75 gallon salt water fish tank with 80lbs. of live rock.  All readings are good except my ammonia is a little high at .20 I just did a 10% water change and have cut back on feeding and its starting to go down. <Okay> I just bought a 2" hippo tang and for the past 2 days he has been hiding in a horizontal position between two rocks.  The only time he comes out is to nibble on some algae that I put on a clip for him.  The only other fish in the tank are 2 tank raised clown fish and a coral banded shrimp. I know I should have quarantined him but I have just now found out the importance of setting up a quarantine tank through your website.  I will be doing that before adding anymore fish.  But is this normal behavior for him. <Yes, quite normal> If so what can I do to make him feel more at home. <Mainly just have time pass... your small tang will become more outgoing with familiarity. Really, I'd just be patient> I am afraid that he may be sick and I do not want him to die.   Would it freak him out too much to put him into a day old  quarantine tank to watch him and to allow him to feel more at home before I put him back into the main  display tank.  Or should I just leave him as is and let him try to get used to things? Any info would help. <Better by far at this point to take the second path. Wait. Bob Fenner> Thanks Brendan Byrne

Re: Hippo Tang Behavior Bob thanks for the quick reply. I am glad to hear my Hippo Tang will be ok. I have one last question for you.  I would like add more fish to my display tank but I would like to quarantine them first for a couple of weeks. <A very good practice>   Is it ok to add new fish to a quarantine tank that is only a day or two old. <Mmm, IF it is stable, likely filled with "clean" water from a well-established disease free system...>   I plan on using tank water from my display tank but will that be enough to help cycle a new tank. <Likely so... but do monitor ammonia daily, be ready to make massive water changes... and get in the habit of "pre-cycling" filter media (like a sponge filter...) in your main system somewhere>   My display tank took almost a month to fully cycle should I expect that same amount of time for my quarantine tank as well? <Maybe, maybe not... sometimes there are sufficient microbes moved in water alone... but often not if the "load" is too great, too soon. Again, be careful re feeding, test daily. Bob Fenner>

Housing A Hippo Tang For Life Thanks a lot Scott.  Very prompt reply too, this is great! <Glad to be of service!> Since  I have a reliable source (you) to talk with, I might as well ask a few more  questions. <Ask away> I have a 65g fish only with live rock tank, and was wondering if  this is big enough to put a Hippo Tang in from start to finish without me ever  having to transfer it to a bigger tank with it growing to it's max? <I'm afraid not. These guys can hit a pretty large size in captivity, especially if you provide optimum conditions. I would not house an adult Hippo in anything less than a 6 foot tank, to be quite honest. We're talking 125 gallons and up (preferably, "Up"!). Anything less is kind of cruel, IMO > And what is the maximum it will grow in captivity? <I've seen them hit over 10 inches> Thanks again, Jason <My pleasure, Jason! Start thinking about that bigger tank! Regards, Scott F.> P.S.  Is there someone (regional/lead/manager) whom I can give  positive feedback to about your prompt reply to my  email? <Hee hee...No "management" or "bosses" here at WWM, just a bunch of dedicated fish nerds who are happy to help our fellow hobbyists! Thanks for the kind words, though!>   Blue tang aggression 19 Aug 2004 Thank you very much for your reply. <Hi Ian, MacL here on the follow-up.> We followed your advise by isolating our puffer and commencing medication. He and we are much happier! <Very nice to hear that!> It was our regal blue tang that was attacking him. Since our puffer has been taken out, the blue tang has started to attack the other fish by once again nipping at their tails. <Regal tangs are fairly known for doing this.  You haven't mentioned what size tank you have, is it large? Does the tang have lots of swimming room? These fish get, for lack of a better word, "bored" easily, they need swimming room and room through thing and under things. The need Caulerpas and other types of algae to be constantly grazing on. If you don't have any of that you might consider hanging strips of Nori every couple of days.> What has caused this change? <It is worse because the aggressive tactics worked. He got rid of one fish now its others.> We would like to keep our blue tang, but not at the expense of all the other fish in the tank. Can you help? We want our puffer back.. <Once again how big is the tank? How is it aquascaped, you can make changes there that might make a huge difference. Let me know please, MacL> Once again, many thanks.

Pacific YTB tang matters Thanks a lot Bob.  Very prompt reply too, this is great!  Since I  have a reliable source (you) to talk with, I might as well ask a few more  questions.  I have a 65g fish only w live rock tank, and was wondering if  this is big enough to put a hippo tang in from start to finish without me ever  having to transfer it to a bigger tank with it growing to it's max as an  adult?  And what is the maximum it will grow in captivity? Thanks again, Jason <Please read here. Bob Fenner>

Nemo Fever Claims Another Victim Hi Guys, <Hello! Ryan Bowen in your aid today> I have a single blue tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) in my mini reef for three months already.  The Finding Nemo thing.  I read a lot about this creature both on screen and out.  A lot of articles said that this is sensitive to diseases as compare to other marines. <And poorly suited for a miniature reef.> So, it has received five star accommodations since it was introduced to my minireef.  But, besides all those pamperings, I noticed lately that its tail shows somehow a symptom of fin rot. (Maybe this marine needs six star accommodation!) <Yes, I'd check dissolved oxygen, and plan for a bigger, more spacious home for him.  Prepare a quarantine tank, and treat him with Melafix.> I have a plan in mind but not sure this would work.  As they say, better ask the expert.  Would a Methylene blue dip work on fin rot? <Melafix will be much healthier, and work well.> Any other suggestion on how I would treat this "Dory" marine of mine? <Yes, plan for the future..."Dory" needs a tank of 150 gallons or more in adulthood.  Good luck, Ryan> Thanks!  

Mystery Malady? Hello! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I was reading your Q&A and you seem to be quite knowledgeable about fish. <Well, we certainly try our best!> We've recently acquired a Regal Blue Tang from a previous fish keeper (not a store) and as far as we know, his tank was filthy and the Regal Blue Tang seemed to always lie on its flat sides and drift around aimlessly, as if playing dead. <Not a good or "normal" behavior at all for this fish...> We set the fish into there and he seemed to be quite happy in the tank (after a brief period of wedging himself between two rocks), swimming around and playing with the other fishes. <Yikes! Next time, please quarantine all new fishes for a few weeks before placing them into your display tank. Especially in a situation where a fish is coming from a tank with known problems...> We then noticed an odd discolouration of some sort on his head and a bit on his tail. Enclosed are some links to pictures of the Regal Blue Tang. We were just wondering if it was stress and bad diet (as a result from the last tank), or if it was serious. As far as I can discern from other images on the internet, his eye area is supposed to be a dark black stripe across it, but it's faded and looks as if it has been discoloured. <Unfortunately, the photos did not come in too clear, so I cannot be 100% certain here, but this could be either Head and Lateral Line erosion (HLLE) or a possible parasitic illness, such as the deadly Amyloodinium (Marine Velvet). If it is Amyloodinium, this is a very contagious and highly virulent disease that must be treated immediately if you want to save the fish. Do look on the WWM parasitic disease FAQs to verify if this is indeed what you're dealing with. If you are looking at HLLE, this is more of a "condition" as opposed to a disease (at least in the traditional sense), and can often be placed into "remission" with excellent environmental conditions and quality food. I'd look into both of these possibilities, then draw your conclusions from your observations...Either way-both of these require some intervention on your part, but the degree to which you will need to respond will be dependant upon which condition that you're dealing with. Check out the FAQs for both on the WWM site, and take the appropriate action.> I've enlarged the photos a bit with an image resizer, but they might be a bit blurry. If you want, I can also send along sharper images.   http://www.sherei.com/regalblue.jpg http://www.sherei.com/regalblue1.jpg http://www.sherei.com/regalblue2.jpg http://www.sherei.com/regalblue3.jpg Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. :-) <Well, they are a bit blurry, but I think the fact that you can see the fish in person gives you the advantage when attempting a diagnosis here. Try investigating the two possibilities that I gave you here and let me know if you have any further questions! Hope this was of some help. Regards, Scott F.>

Tang Trouble? Hi, <Hey!  Scott F. here with you tonight.> I have a Blue Regal Tang. This fish has been extremely active ever since I have had it. Three days ago it started hiding and won't eat. It hides well and it is difficult to see it much.  However, what I can see is it shaking a lot and it looks like there is something wrong with its skin around the face and eyes area as well as starting down the side. The spots that look damaged are changing colors almost a reddish or brownish color from what I can see. Also the top fin looks like it could have some damage. <Hmm... could be some kind of parasitic disease...Maybe Amyloodinium, which shows some of those symptoms, particularly skin damage, lack of appetite and sluggishness> One day it was very active and like overnight this problem just appeared with no warning. I talked to a local fish store and they suggested ich but it seems to be more than  that. <Yep- sounds like more...> Also this fish is in a 90 gallon reef aquarium so I got something to help  ich that is reef safe per there advise, but it does not seem to be working and  frankly I don't know what is wrong with the fish. What do you think? Thanks in advance for any help. Mike <Well, Mike- I think we both will agree that "reef safe" medications are really not, and that there are more effective methods to treat parasitic diseases. If this is indeed Amyloodinium, a more aggressive medical approach (catching the affected fish and treating it in a separate aquarium) using a proven medication, such as copper sulphate or formalin-based preparations. Some tangs do not handle copper exposure well, so you may want to utilize a formalin-based medication if this turns out to be parasitic. Follow manufacturer's instructions to the letter concerning dosages and duration. If you act quickly and decisively, you can beat this illness. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Hippo In Distress Hi, I have a Hippo Tang, Yellow Tang, Molly Miller Blenny and 2 Chromis.  I battled ich with the Hippo Tang for 6 months (only fish affected).  It finally seemed gone when I combined Seachem's Metronidazole in the food with Kick Ich.  Fish has been clear of ich for several weeks.  Medicine was removed with charcoal and water changes 6 weeks ago.   About 2 weeks ago, I noticed one Chromis appeared a little dark and kind of quivers in place most of the time (not too unusual for him - but a little more than usual).  A few days later, most of the Blue on my Hippo Tang had turned very dark (especially around the head).  I searched but could not find an illness that fit the description.  Neither fish is scratching against rocks and both are eating well.  I did some water changes.  Four days later, the Hippo's color seemed normal and the Chromis was no worse.  Then a few days later the Hippo darkened again - only to look normal after a few days.  Today, the Hippo is "blacker" than ever.  He looks like someone airbrushed his head and part of his body with black or very, very dark purple (most of it - other than the blue in the center of the black markings).  One of his eyes is also matte over this time (used to do that with ich - but has been clear for 6 weeks).  The Chromis still looks a little "dull" colored.  Do you think this could be black ich - or have any ideas?  Nothing has been added to the tank.  No other fish are affected. Thanks, Doug <<Dear Doug; Black ich is easily recognized, it looks like white ich, only black...in other words, small, irregularly placed spots on the body of the fish. Easily seen on most tangs. Freshwater dips will take care of it, or Cupramine in a hospital tank. However, I do not think this is your problem. It sounds stress related. You do not give any water parameters, so I will need you to email me back with the following info: You used Kick Ich, is this a reef tank? What does filtration consist of? What are your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? Is the pH stable? Temp stable? Do you dose anything? ALK? CA? How often do you usually do water changes, and what size is this tank?? Do you see any aggression between the tangs? What do you feed them? Any other unusual behavior? Any signs of HITH? Please get back to me with this info. -Gwen>>
Hippo In Distress II
He was much better this morning - more like his old blue (a little darker around the head and above his fins).  Then this afternoon he started looking more and more black!  Maybe it is stress - but I can't figure out what is bothering him (other fish do not harass him). The only stressful thing I can think of has been a couple of quick power outages (several days ago - due to storms).  However, there is a grounding probe on the tank and his color has been going back and forth since then (without any more outages). The tank is a 120 gallon bow front (48 inches in back and 30" tall). We plan to move to a 72" tank soon - but he is only about 3" now (so I think he should have enough room). Filter - Ecosystem Caulerpa (with 10% water change per week) Water Parameters: Salinity 1.024 Nitrate - 10 (usually not detectible - I will do a 5 - 10 gallon water change tonight) Nitrite - 0 PH - 8.0 (runs a little low - I will be adding a little reef buffer to make up water) Temp 80 - 81 In case my test kits are off - would PH or any measure in particular possibly do this to a Hippo without affecting anything else (other fish, snails, shrimp, etc.)? Also, when we move up to a 72" tank we are probably going to get a wide, short tank (26" wide and 20" tall).  Will that 20" height be adequate for the Hippo and Yellow Tang? If we get him over this, I think we will move to the new tank very soon.  What type of quarantine do you recommend for the Hippo (between his ich and this we know we must run the new tank fallow for 6 weeks and will quarantine him separately, Should we treat him with very mild copper to make sure all ich is completely gone during part of the 6 weeks - he has had a spot or two since the kick ich/Metronidazole so I know he is not completely cured - but most days over the past six weeks he has been ich free). Thanks again from me and my "problem child," Doug <<Doug; Your pH does concern me. You would generally want to keep it anywhere from 8.2 to 8.6 (yes, some people do go this high) because it does fall at night, and if your pH is 8.0 during the day, it could fall as low as 7.6 at night...too low! This itself might be the sole stressor your tang. Thing is, your pH is also affected by other things, and affects other things... what else do you test for? Alkalinity should be next on your list. Yes, you can q-tank the tang, it might be a fine idea to quarantine both tangs. If you use copper, go with Cupramine. Also, from what I read, your sole filtration is Caulerpa. You might want to upgrade your filtration, either with a skimmer, a deep sand bed, or bioballs, whatever. Do some reading, and pick the one you like best. All filtration methods work well, if you understand them and their proper applications. In the meantime, a few more water changes might be in order...you know: manual filtration :P -Gwen>>
Hippo In Distress Again!
Hi Gwen, Looks like you were right on the money with the PH.  It was dropping from 8 to around 7.6 at night.  The cause was 2-fold:  1)  covered tank and 2)  Phosphate remover.  We removed both and added reef buffer slowly.  PH is holding it's own now around 8.3.  Unfortunately, a little red slime came back (which is why we used the Phosphate remover).  We are battling it with water changes. <<Running a high quality carbon will help, also Chemi-Pure.>> Our Hippo is looking a tiny bit better.  Still has a black face, but a tiny bit more blue is showing on his body.  I'm sure it may take a few weeks.  He is still eating and swimming great so hopefully he will fully recover! <<I hope so too.>> The new tank comes in a month.  It will have a protein skimmer along with the mud filter (Ecosystem advertises not to use a skimmer - but for us that only worked for a year then went downhill fast)! Before moving the fish and live rock, we'd like to do two things:  1) make sure ich is totally gone, and 2) get rid of as many or all Bristle worms if possible. <<Why? Bristleworms are excellent detritivores. Why remove them? Their number will balance out with the amount of nutrients available to them...if you remove some (and you will only be able to remove SOME) the rest will simply re-populate the tank until you have just as many as before...>> We don't want to stress the Hippo any more so I plan to wait until his color is back to normal before removing any of the rocks and putting him into quarantine (unless of course he gets worse instead of better).  I'll replace the CopperSafe we bought for emergencies with Cupramine.  And of course, I now have more questions! <<Okay>>   -  What is a good but very low level of Copper for the Tangs and how many days treatment are necessary to ensure it is gone (neither shows signs of ich right now)? <<I will assume you mean to use the copper in the q-tank only. A good level is the level listed on the product label: one milliliter for each 40 litres, every two days, for 14 days...(sorry, I'm Canadian, read yer own label :P) Use a good copper test kit to keep the level safe. Do not exceed 0,6ppm. Test the tank before each new addition of copper!>> -  Should we go ahead and quarantine the Blenny and Chromis with low dose of Cupramine just to be safe? <<I don't believe it's necessary, but then, I can't see the condition they are in. You must make some judgment calls.>>   - If they can be treated together, can they all go into a big Rubbermaid container with plenty of plastic hiding places (they all get along now)? <<Sure. Just make sure the water parameters are stable.>> - Or - we could move the rock and all inverts out of the existing tank and treat them in it - except I heard not to ever use Copper in acrylic tanks (let me know if that is not true). <<Don't know about acrylic, but DO NOT treat your main tank!>> And two Bristle worm elimination questions: -  Will 1.035 salinity dip (said to make bristle worms come out of the rock) hurt mushrooms and xenia for a short time?  We have a couple monster (30 lb.) rocks that are nicely covered with those corals - but the rocks also have Bristle worms that have been hard to get rid of (we would love any other ideas on how to get rid of them as we move tanks). -  Would taking the mud out of the sump and "sifting" it to try and remove all the worms while leaving amphipods, etc. work or would the larvae most likely still be there (should we go ahead and pay the price to change all the mud)? <<See above re: bristleworms. They are good. Keep them. Trying to remove them will result in dead pods, anyways. Why bother? Is there a necessary reason for their removal?>> Thanks a million once again! - Doug <<Most welcome. -Gwen>>

Tangling With A Tang! Hello, quick question for you. <Sure! Scott F. here> I have a Pacific Blue Tang who is (thankfully) starting to recover from a semi-severe case of HLLE...He has been scratching A LOT lately and I'm wondering if that is a symptom of recovering from HLLE or if it is more likely that he has a parasite. None of my other fish are scratching at all (that I have seen), which is why I suspect that it is not parasites. What do you think? <Well, it's hard to be sure without a picture. As you may well know, these fishes have a well-earned reputation as "Ich magnets", so they may contract this disease regardless of the condition of the other fishes...If you think that the fish is suffering from ich, it may be time to remove him for observation and/or treatment, if it becomes necessary. read up on parasitic diseases on the WWM site to confirm if this is, indeed, what you are dealing with here.> Also, just for those who may be curious I was able to successfully help him start recovering from HLLE with high quality pellets (actually that is the clown's food, which the tang steals), Nori soaked in Selcon and, dried purple Nori... I alternate the type of Nori I give him so there is some variety. <All good foods. For our other readers, I want to point out that these tangs are largely planktivorous, and vegetable matter, although highly important, may be secondary in importance to good meaty stuff. Try some frozen Mysis, or even some Cyclop-Eeze, which are excellent "planktonic-type" foods. That being said, fresh macroalgae are eagerly accepted, too. Try some fresh Gracilaria, which is my #1 food choice for herbivorous tangs. You can get starter cultures from my favorite e-tailer, Indo-Pacific Sea Farms, or the other wonderful source, Inland Aquatics. This stuff is amazing!> I didn't use the mysterious tank grounding technique or add any iodine or anything. Just good old fashioned nutrition. :) <I agree with you wholeheartedly. You did a great job! Great water quality and excellent food will often do the trick without anything else too exotic!> Thanks! Steve <My pleasure, Steve! Regards, Scott F>

Tang In Trouble? Hi, <HI there! Scott F. here today!> I have a hippo/regal tang.  It had ick about a week ago and I put him in a hospital tank.  I treated him with quick cure for the recommended five days and he seemed fine, however  after four days in tank he started to develop white patches in his belly and sides. I had a difficult time maintaining good water parameters in hospital tank, so I released him back into main tank, hoping that this condition was caused by poor water quality. <A calculated risk, but not worth taking again, IMO> He has been back in the main tank for a couple of days and he's eating and swimming normally but white patches are still present on his skin.  What is this? What can I do?  My daughter and I are very distressed, he is her baby. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  And any tips on keeping him healthy would also be helpful. Thank you very much> <Hard to say exactly what this could be. It might be a secondary infection of some sort, or it could be a condition brought on by the medication. I suppose the best course of action at this point might be to continue observation of the fish, rather than to subject the fish to another round of medication (especially if you're not 100% certain what it is you're treating!). Do consult the disease FAQs on the WWM site to see if anything that you see there is similar to what this tang has. If the symptoms worsen, or if the fish appears to be in distress, take appropriate action immediately. Otherwise, continue to maintain excellent water conditions, and these symptoms might just clear up on their own. Hang in there. Regards, Scott F>

Hippo tang and Dogface  <Hi J.R, Mac here>   First, I have to say that I enjoy your website and search it often for information. <Always nice to hear.>  I am usually reading about others' questions, but now I am in need of help/advice.  My Hippo Tang has gotten into the habit of biting my other fish. <Rut row>  At first, I thought she was harmlessly imitating my small Black and White Heniochus who likes to eat off of the other fish.  I just added a Dogface Puffer two days ago, and I have noticed the Hippo biting the Puffers fins.  One fin has several bites out of it. <So serious enough fighting that there are hurts being inflicted.>  My Yellow Tang also has two recent nips in its fins.  Have you ever heard of a Hippo with this kind of behavior?  <Actually I have heard of tangs attacking other fish. I don't believe it is all that common but they have been known to kill other  fish.> Its easier for me to accept this between the two Tangs, because they do have the occasional tail-duel.  <Territorial battles.> I would like to think the Hippo is only asserting its position in the tank to the Dogface and that this initiation will pass, but I don't want the Dogface to suffer and potentially die.  <It is very possible that there is just a minor territorial scuffle going on, however, if you have any battling going on in your tank it opens up potential problems.  Stress related problems such as ich, etc. I would indeed watch what is going on very carefully >Will this behavior pass, or should I take other action?  <You don't mention here the size of your tank and whether or not you can possibly separate the fish.  It really concerns me when there is what sounds like problematic fighting going on in the tank for all species.  I would seriously suggest separating these fish or perhaps taking the one causing all the problems out and placing in a separate tank.>   Thanks for your help.

Tang In Trouble? Hi, <Hello! Scott F. hee today!> I need help on identifying what is wrong with my Tang. This brown/pink discoloration starts near it mouth and is growing fast. At the local aquarium they told me it could be Velvet, but I'm not so sure. Its behaviour is changing to, it swims with flashing movements, like nervous. I post it here because I want to show you the picture Any Idea of what it can be? Thanks for you time. Sincerely, Francisco Maino <Good photos, Francisco! It's hard to be 100% certain, but it may be some sort of fungal illness of some sort. On the other hand, if you're seeing labored breathing, scratching, lack of appetite, and the other symptoms commonly associated with Amyloodinium, then you will need to take some aggressive action to counterattack (Do see the WWM disease FAQs for details). The fish looks pretty good, other than the discoloration, IMO. On the other hand, if this is a fungal infection, an antibiotic product might do the trick (administered in a separate aquarium). It might be a good idea to do a complete workup of your basic water conditions to make sure that things are in order. Sometimes, these types of conditions can be cleared up with simple improvements to water parameters. Do the tests and take any corrective measures required! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Blue Tang- Too Much With This Gang! Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you> I've read many of your answers to questions and I am hoping you can help me with mine. I have a 65 gallon tank and I want to get a regal tang. I've been getting polar opposite advice regarding these. I've gotten from two different LFS that the tang will be OK and online advice saying the opposite. <I agree with the online advice! These fish can and do get quite large (like up to 10 inches plus!) and have very long lifespans. They will need a lot of room, and eat a lot of food.> How long before he grows out of my tank? <Well, it can be as little as 6 months to a year- or less. Personally, I'd look for larger quarters for this fish as soon as possible. I generally will not start a tang in anything less than a 6 foot long tank. This provides both the physical space that the fish needs, but the larger tank volume will provide sufficient capacity to handle the copious amounts of biological waste that these fishes put off> It is currently approx. less than 2 inches. <Not for long!>  He is in a QT at my LFS and I don't want to pick it up if it'll be miserable in the long run. <Well, in my opinion, it will not be in the fish's best long-term interest to start him in less than a 6 foot tank, as outlined above> I eventually want to get a larger tank, but I honestly don't know when that will be possible. It's more of a matter of space than money. <I appreciate the fact that you are being honest with yourself, and that you care enough to way the odds here> The current occupants are a Coral Beauty Angelfish (I nursed back to health), Percula Clownfish, Lawnmower Blenny, Royal Gramma, and Raccoon Butterflyfish. If the regal tang is not a good option, can you suggest any other fish?? I would love to have one more medium sized fish. <Well, I have to be honest with you...The tank is really at maximum capacity, fish-wise, already- IMO. The Raccoon can also get quite large. At the most, I'd add maybe one smaller fish (like blenny or Fairy Wrasse size). But that would be it. Always consider the ultimate size of the fishes that you want to add before purchasing them. Make sure that you will be able to provide sufficient space for their entire lifespans.> Thanks for all your advise...I've been really troubled by this. <I'm impressed with the amount of consideration that you've given this matter, as well as your conscientious attitude towards your fishes' needs. This will serve you well as you continue to grow in the hobby! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tang In Trouble? Hello to all, <Hello! Scott F. here today!> I have a question regarding my baby hippo Tang:  When we bought her, she (or he) was about 1", and in the past month she is growing fast, seems to be happy and healthy (until recently). It appears that she is developing black spots, but not just along her head and lateral line...these bumps are also on both sides of her belly. Plus at times she appears to have a whitish film on parts of her body. I have looked up HLLE and other health problems on your website but I haven't been able to find anything that definitely resembles this. We have had our water tested (many times just to be safe) and all of our conditions are fine. I am feeding her a much better diet, (following the instructions for HLLE) but I am wondering, could this be signs of a different disease? Please help, I love this tang and want to keep her healthy and beautiful!! Thanks for taking time to help!!! Jamie <Well, Jamie, the film that you are describing could be indicative of a parasitic illness of some sort. However, if you're seeing that the fish is eating well and otherwise behaving normally, it may pay just to wait and watch carefully. If the fish is declining, and just doesn't look right- I'd consider starting with a very simple course of action, such as occasional freshwater dips. Granted, these are sometimes ineffective, but they do often provide some relief for light symptoms of parasitic infections. On the other hand, if you are dealing with some sort of serious parasitic infection, more aggressive treatment regimens are recommended, such as formalin-based products. Whichever way you go, be sure to observe the fish carefully. Do read up more on the parasitic disease FAQs on the WWM site to verify what you may be dealing with. Let us know if the symptoms get worse...Good luck! Regards, Scott F> 

Tiny Tang Dilemma?  Hello again,  <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight..>  Another question for another topic.  I went to the LFS to pick up supplies and in a holding tank they had approx. 12 Juv. Blue Tangs approx less than a inch , were talking maybe just born.  <Well, maybe just "post larval"!)  I don't know where they got them from but as I said, 12. I noticed all these other fish were picking on them badly.  <Yuck! Sorry to hear that>  I mentioned it to the "Idiots" there and they said they would take care of it. I showed up the next day and most of them were dead and have chewed, there were 2 left, so I took them both to try to save them.  <Well, that's a noble thing to do, but sometimes, such actions reinforce the stupidity of the dealer: If these were simply young tangs caught in the wild, and not some of the newer "lagoon reared" ones, then you are unintentionally sending the message to the dealer to get more of them, 'cause people want them!">  They are smaller than my thumb nail. I have them in my 10 gal quarantine tank.  <Good procedure there!>  I have a 10 gal, 5 gal, and 30 gal quarantine tanks. They are too tiny to be in Main tank anyway. can you please tell me on any special care.  <When the fish are this small, it's important to keep them well fed at all times, and provide excellent filtration/water quality and oxygenation. Be sure to provide them with nutritious foods, such as Mysis, zooplankton (like "Sweetwater Plankton", a good product), frozen "Formula" foods, and minced seafoods. I suppose that you could also provide some of my favorite macroalgae, Gracilaria, as a supplemental food source, as well>  I notice they are a little whitish on the bottoms but so far they appear ok. I know all to well about impulse buying, but this was a life saving situation , If I can get them healthy and they start to grow I will keep one and I can get another person to take the other. Have a 140 with not a lot in it.  I feel like a SPCA for fish... Can you give me any advice.  I felt that, even if I cannot get them to make it (which I am going to do all I can), they would have perished at the LFS for sure.  <I don't doubt you there. Again, it can be a two-edged sword, but it is a noble gesture on your part. As long as you can provide a good long-term home for the fishes, this can be a good thing>  I do notice they pick at each other , nothing major, but I think I'm going to have to separate them. Please help ...Thanks.  <Nothing wrong with separating them, if needed. Just keep providing a high level of care, good food, and a large tank, and you may have some nice specimens in the future. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Tang Concerns (4/3/2004)  Dear Crew,  I currently have a 55 FOWOLR. I have approx 120 lbs of base rock, i.e.. Texas Holey Rock, which is becoming covered with coralline algae. I have had it up and running for approx 10 months. Everything seems well. No real issues with algae etc. I only have to clean my glass approximately every two weeks.  Current residents are a yellow tang, coral beauty, lawn mower blenny, four Astraea snails and approx 10 Cerith snails. I have a coral banded shrimp, yellow ball sponge and a blue sponge. I have the opportunity to purchase a beautiful blue tang from a local fish store for about half the normal price. <It will outgrow your 55 gallon given a few years, as it will attain 12" or so> It is approximately the same size as my yellow tang 3/3.5", fat with good colors and I witnessed it eating. Do you think they will get along. <Yellow tangs can be very territorial, especially once well established. In a larger system you could get away with it, but I definitely would not recommend adding the Blue tang in a tank of that size>  Dean  <M. Maddox>

Pacific Blue Tang Question Hi guys, <Hi! Ryan with you today> I have a question about my recently purchased Pacific Blue Tang. <OK> He seemed healthy in the store. But after I got him home and settled in the tank, I noticed a few marks on his head that look a little like scars.. I have a feeling after reading the FAQ's about these guys that it is HLLE. <I am glad you are familiar> But I've had him for about a week now and he seems perfectly healthy. <to be expected with HLLE> He is eating nicely and making friends with my clownfish (I know what your thinking and no I didn't make a Finding Nemo aquarium, I just happen to enjoy both species).  <Sure Buddy!  If you're a dentist, this question is over ;)   > Anyway, my question is about feeding and healing the possible HLLE. I know that blue tang's are grazers on the algae, but how much of their diet should be algae?  My current feeding schedule is to let him graze on the algae (which there is plenty of on the live rock at the moment) for the majority of the day, then in the evening give him some purple seaweed (Porphyra Umbilicalis) and then later in the even let him share the clown's Formula One flakes. Does that sound like a good feeding plan or not? <It sounds good, but I would add a little extra attention.  Get some Selcon, it is really helpful when trying to fight HLLE.  Also, get some frozen formula 2, and some dried Nori.  Feed the formula 2 once a day, the garlic is really good for him.  Now, soak the Nori in Selcon for 10 minutes, and clip in for the tang to eat for a few hours each day.>   What about the purple seaweed.. is that an acceptable replacement for Nori until I run out of it or not? <Yes, in fact it's great to vary the diet as much as possible...just like you and me.> Also, just out of curiosity.. the tang and the clown fish seem to be inseparable they are ALWAYS right next to each other. This was also the case with my now departed Yellow Tang and the same clown fish. Is my clown fish just "tang friendly" or are these two species normally so friendly with each other? Actually as a little side story, when my yellow tang was in the process of dying the clown fish went up and laid right next to him, it was kinda sad actually. <I'm so sorry for the loss...Clowns exhibit some crazy behavior, I'm not even close to understanding what it means.  I wish you the best with your new tang!> Thanks for the info. <You're welcome> Steve

Hippo tang Hiya Bob and crew! Hope none of ya have to work too hard this weekend!  Any who I wrote in awhile back about a hippo (P. hepatus) I had rescued in terrible shape, he is big fat healthy fella now :-)  I originally intended to sell him but, I love this fish, appropriately named Rocky.  So naturally I had to buy another tank!  The thing is that I have a another hippo in a different tank and now would like to join them together in the larger tank.  The fish are about 5-6" and the other is at least 7". The tank is still cycling and I intend to add a snowflake, a pair of tomato's and a teeny Volitans before introducing the hippos.  Hoping the others will be a bit of distraction?  Planning on adding them at night at the same time w veggie clips at each end of the tank. Please let me know your thoughts on this and any suggestions you may have! <This may or may not work....I would try it and if their is any aggression you can always remove one of them. I tried the same thing with my 14" Naso Vlamingi and my little 6" Juvenile...and all is great...they are side by side 24-7. Good luck, IanB> Thanks again! Amanda

Blue Tang life cycle I'm doing a project on Blue Tangs for school and can find no information of their life cycle. I need information on... - their courtship ritual to pick a mate (if they have one) <Most live singly as adults... getting together seasonally to spawn in the upper water column, following a bit of a "dance"> - if they have life-long mates or just flings? <More of the latter than the former> - how many eggs are released when they spawn <A few thousand> - if the parents guard the eggs/young <No parental care... the fertilized eggs, embryos float about in the plankton wherever it takes them> - and what is the blue tang's average life span? <Mmm, average? Likely a few years... depends on how you figure it... starting from all individuals... or from some early life stage> There seems to be no good sites on their body systems, either. <Look about... perhaps a visit to a large college library and the help of a reference librarian in the life sciences section. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much, Peaches

Lucky the Blue Tang >Hey there, >>Hey there yourself. >Well, I have a blue tang.   >>I hope you meant to.  What species of blue tang is it?  (There are three I'm thinking of off the top of my head.) >He is doing great.   >>Excellent. >He came with the tank I bought.  The lady that owned him and the tank before didn't take care of him very well.  She told me he likes to lay on his side (what?).   >>Yeah.. what? >He doesn't seem to anymore.   >>Cuz he never did "like" it, but you don't need me to tell you that, do you? >We called him Lucky because I was sure he would die in the first week, but he didn't.  He had HLLE, but most has been reversed.  Now, he is the happiest blue tang I have ever seen.   >>Excellent! >However, a couple of times I have seen his black markings turn completely yellow.   >>Hhmm.. Hippo tang or powder blue tang?  If a hippo, unusual, if a PB, not so. >It is the strangest thing in the world!  I have never seen anything like this happen.   >>I've only seen similar with PBs, when they're either stressed or going into sleep mode. >I don't think it is his night coloration.  He just sometimes does this in the middle of the day.  I have been looking for info on this, but haven't found anything.  Do you know why he is doing this?  Does it serve some purpose?  Do you think I am insane?  Maybe he is "magical".  Any info would be great!  Big Al Haggerty - Grand Junction, CO                                                       >>I honestly have no idea.  If he's a hippo tang (with the yellow tail) I've only seen coloration changes when stressed or sleeping, and even then it's just a general paleness to the overall color, not in specific areas.  If a powder blue, I've seen paleness in areas, but almost always in stressed fish.  Personally, I'm not familiar with this, but I would look to see what's happening in or around the tank, or note down time of day, anything/everything that's occurring concurrently or immediately previous to or after this change.  You may begin to see a pattern emerge.  Marina

- Blue Tang, Black Spots - Well? >Hi, >>Hi, I'm coming into a conversation already taking place, so forgive me if I go over stuff already covered (this is why we like to have previous exchanges included in the body - this is also likely why you ended up with me). >We have a new tank raised baby Hippo Tang with black ich. >>Righty-oh.  Very easily eradicated. >Have read everything on freshwater dips - but haven't found the step by step for complete idiot's guide. Is this procedure appropriate? - - Add amount of reef buffer recommended for salt water to RO/DI water (do not add any salt) - Test that pH is the same as saltwater - Get temperature exactly the same - Add an airstone for 5 minutes prior to putting in Tang - Place baby Tang in the freshwater for 3 minutes - Move baby tang to fresh tank treated with ? (CopperSafe at xx strength???)? >>I don't know that you would really need to go with the copper, this parasite is so easily eradicated with simple hyposalinity.  A salinity of 1.010 ought to do the trick.  Also, I'd leave him in there much longer than 3 minutes, I'd give him more on the order of 10 or so. >Also, how many days should we wait before bathing the little fellow (to not add too much to his stress) - and then how often would you do the fwb? >>Bathing?  I'm going to assume that you're using this terminology interchangeably with dipping, in which case length of dip as above (forgot to add that you would do well to add Methylene blue - enough to turn the water dark blue).  I would keep the tang in the hypo for two weeks, using observation to decide at what point he seems to be clear.  As I said, this is easily dealt with.  Then, he should remain in quarantine for 30 days MINIMUM, starting from the point at which you decide that he's clear of all disease.  After that 30 days is up, begin bringing the salinity up to the tank's levels, over two or three days is good.  Dip in the freshwater as above, then he can be placed in the display.  Oh!  Garlic has not been shown at all to demonstrate any efficacy for treating Cryptocaryon irritans. >History - 1" tank raised baby Hippo Tang was put in quarantine Friday evening after a very traumatic shipping experience. Developed small black spots Saturday night and now hides in the rock about 95% of the time (we can only tell he has the spots by looking with flashlight). Has eaten a little off the live rock and nibbled a tiny bit of the Gracilaria we soaked in garlic extract - I think. Thanks, Patty PS: Sorry for constantly sending you questions! Your site is the best - the only one we trust completely! >>It's the first for me, so.. I'm not irritated at this point.  ;)  (We like our fish-minded friends, anyway.)  Be sure to keep up water quality with water changes, this is KEY.  ZERO ammonia and nitrites, nitrates under 30-40ppm is desired (obviously, the lower the better).  Best of luck!  Marina

HELP - Barking Blue Tang in Distress 2/10/04 Hello all: <howdy> Perhaps this should be addressed to Anthony, as he and my tang have a relationship (remember the football prognosticator?). <I do... I hope he's feeling good about next year> I have a 125G Fowl/oLR that has been up and running for 4 1/2 years. We have had the blue hippo from the get-go. The tang has developed a swollen mouth in that it stays open all the time. It is difficult for him to ingest any food. He will go up to the pieces, but they get lodged between his lips. He seems to rely on the water current to allow food to enter his mouth. <hmmm... any pics possible? I'm wondering if its a swollen thyroid (iodine deficiency or excess nitrates induced)> There are no spots or any external indications of disease. As I said, he shows a desire to eat, but is having difficulty. I also find him swimming somewhat on his side at times. The LFS said that these are not good signs and that age may be a factor. <age?!?!? What are they smoking?! Blue tangs were considered hardy back in the 70's as one of the few fish that could be kept for many years (albeit with regular bouts of ich<G>). They are some of the oldest kept fishes in the marine trade with longevity records over 30 years old. I personally know of a 26 year old specimen kept locally to me (Pittsburgh)> I am reluctant to freshwater dip, as the stress of both catching him and the dip itself may prove too harmful. All water parameters are fine. I would appreciate any advice that you can give in our attempt to save this fish. Thanks,  Mitch <if its the throat that looks swollen, it would be consistent with a dietary deficiency for how long you've had the fish (limited diet, lack of iodine dosing in the tank or lack of water changes to maintain bromide levels for the absorption of iodine adequately. If instead though it looks like a swollen lip/jaw... all best are off for my diagnosis. A pic would help here my friend. Else do consult a local vet (some do fishes). Anthony>

- Blue Tang, Black Spots - Hi, We have a new tank raised baby Hippo Tang with black ich.   Have read everything on freshwater dips - but haven't found the step by step for complete idiot's guide:-) Is this procedure appropriate? - - Add amount of reef buffer recommended for salt water to RO/DI water (do not add any salt) - Test that PH is the same as saltwater <I'd just use this second step to add the buffer - the directions on the container are too general. Just add and test, add and test.> - Get temperature exactly the same - Add an airstone for 5 minutes prior to putting in Tang - Place baby Tang in the freshwater for 3 minutes <If you can push this to five minutes, that would be excellent.> - Move baby tang to fresh tank treated with ? (CopperSafe at xx strength???)? <Nah... just move to a quarantine tank. Don't treat with anything unless the problems persist.> Also, how many days should we wait before bathing the little fellow (to not add too much to his stress) - and then how often would you do the fwb? <If the problem reoccurs, I wouldn't dip the fish any more than once every other day, and then also think about some form of treatment in the quarantine.> History - 1" tank raised baby Hippo Tang was put in quarantine Friday evening after a very traumatic shipping experience.  Developed small black spots Saturday night and now hides in the rock about 95% of the time (we can only tell he has the spots by looking with flashlight).  Has eaten a little off the live rock and nibbled a tiny bit of the Gracilaria we soaked in garlic extract - I think. Thanks, Patty PS: Sorry for constantly sending you questions!  Your site is the best - the only one we trust completely! <Cheers, J -- >

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
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