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FAQs about the Pacific Yellow-Tail Blue, Palette, Regal, Hippo Tang 1

Related Articles: The Genus Paracanthurus, Naso

Related FAQs: Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 2Pacific 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,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Pallet Tang worries?    8/7/06 Thank you Bob for your response, <Welcome> The Odonus is in a separate quarantine tank and I didn't want to place the Tang in with it - the tank with the Perculas and the gobies was the only available option that I had at the time. <Ahh... thank goodness> I have recently moved out to Pakistan (moved from NC, USA) for work and we have very few resources here to help - generally I would not have bought the tang but it was imported  and essentially had no home, which is why I took it in. <I see> Thanks again your information resource is a wonderful lifeline out here. Aehsun. <Do take care my friend. Bob Fenner>

Tiny Tang Challenge Hello, Crew... <Scott F. your Crew member tonight> Can you help me save a baby Hippo Tang?  Here's the scoop...I have a small 37-gallon display tank in my home that has been up and running for a little over a year.  It is my first tank in the "saltwater" aquarium hobby and I love it.  Before I go any further, I also realize that it is too small for a tang - however, I LOVE the fish and am in the planning stages for a tank in my office built purposefully around the needs of such a great creature (whole different story which you guys have provided some great direct and indirect advice). <Good to hear that. A larger tank is simply a "must" for these fish> I only mention this to give you an idea of my relative experience in the hobby. Anyway, I always love checking out the Hippos at my LFS.  This past weekend when I was in, I spotted two tiny hippos struggling to survive in one of the tanks.  When I say tiny, I mean about the size of a dime or just under. <That's really small...> One had visible signs of ich.  I have followed the advice on this site and other resources and have a small 10-gallon QT tank set up in my basement.  At my request, and knowing that this poor fish was probably doomed, the LFS actually gave me this little guy to put in my QT tank (and also realizing they had to get it out of theirs, I suppose).  My hope is that I can both nurse this fish back to health and learn how to deal with ich and QT at the same time.  If I am successful, I hope to someday move it to the aforementioned "tang-tank" in my office that I plan on having ready by the end of the year. <A noble goal, and a tough challenge> In the QT tank I have several pieces of live rock and one small hermit crab hitchhiker. <Hopefully, really small. If the tang is as small as you say, he can become a meal for the crab. Also, if you are planning on medicating, the crab needs to come out, as does the live rock> I have lowered the salinity in the tank to 1.015 and raised the temperature to about 79F.  I have not attempted a freshwater dip in an effort to not totally freak out this little guy.  For food, I have added a couple string of Caulerpa prolifera (?) algae for him to nibble on.  I also added about 10 drops of a vitamin supplement on days 2 and 4 ( 2 drops per gallon/week suggested dose).  For the first few days he simply lay on his side under an edge of one of the live rocks.  I actually had to nudge the rock to see if he was still alive.  He was not very active and I was beginning to lose hope, until today when I came home to see him swimming about the tank (still near the rock) and nibbling at the algae. <Very good signs> A long story, but what else might I do to help nurse and raise this great fish?  With his shyness and the small size of my tank, I am REALLY concerned about overfeeding and compromising my water quality. <Very valid concerns. Frequent small water changes and use of chemical filtration media are big helps towards this goal. As far as treating the fish is concerned, if it comes to that, be very careful with dosages. This little guy can be very adversely affected by the traditional ich medications, such as copper. I'd feel better about using a formalin-based product. Follow manufacturer's instructions to the letter.> At the same time, I don't want to get him healthy only to starve him.  In addition, I have NO PLANS to introduce him to my 37 gallon tank even for a short time. <Good move, given his condition.> I hope for a long QT period (several months in the QT tank) and then intro as the first fish into the tank in my office.  Am I crazy or is it possible I could actually pull this off?  I really appreciate your insight. Thanks in advance... Bob <Well, Bob- it seems to me that you have the dedication and desire to pull this off. with your diligent care, the passage of time, and lots of observation, I'm certain that you can be successful! Consult the WWM parasitic disease FAQs as required. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Blue tang quarantine Hi, all... <Cheers> Short recap: I had a nasty ich breakout in my 75 gallon main reef tank. Rather than treat it with "gunk", I've kept it isolated for 3 weeks (I know, I know, 4 weeks recommended, but other circumstances make that difficult.  <no worries my friend... 2 weeks at least is good. The 4 week limit is simply ideal> While it was laying fallow, I kept a yellow tang, blue tang and flame angel in quarantine (finally set up a quarantine tank).  <excellent!> Yellow tang and flame angel did well, but the blue tang hid under the one rock I have in there, day and night. I moved the yellow tang and flame angel to the main tank last night, and am left with 2 questions: - I gave them a freshwater dip before moving them in, and moved them at night, with the MH off and the blue actinics only on for one more hour.  <nice moves> They both hated the dip, but while the flame angel seems to be doing OK this morning, the yellow tang has been very agitated since the move, swimming back and forth on the glass over a very short area (not the length of the tank). Is this simply residue of the shock of the move? He looks healthy enough, and had been eating in the QT. <I'm actually wondering if there has been a change in the flow volume or direction of the water flow in the tank. Tangs commonly pace with inadequate water flow or a change in lights that causes a mirror reflection inside the tank> - The blue tang hid under a rock the entire time while they were quarantined. When his partners moved out, the blue came out for a short while, and I was happy, but he's back to being under the rock, all day, all night (yes, I'm obsessed enough to check on him in the middle of the night every once in a while). Still not eating, at least not in front of me. Anything I can do to make him happy?  <believe it or not... try some floating plastic plants... anything cheap and ugly is fine... just to diffuse light and perhaps make it feel secure by day. A piece of algae covered live rock would be nice too at this point (from the since fallow tank will be fine)> I'm waiting until I can at least get him to eat before I move him;  <agreed> is there anything else for which I should be looking? <no worries... the bare bottom and change of light simply disturb some fishes... blue tangs are rather thin skinned in this regard> Arthur <kindly, Anthony>

Hippo Blues How many baby hippo blues can you acquire/place together in a very large tank (several hundred gallons). <I have seen 6 in a 450.> I'm thinking of getting a group of maybe 8 or 10 (about 1"), since it looks like they actually prefer to group together in those numbers. I do notice that they have a tendency to hide more when singular. <They hide in groups, too.> I know they are relatively not territorial, but am wondering if this is a good idea or not? Thanks, Jim <Have a nice night. -Steven Pro>

Blue Hepatus Tang (behavior) Hi guys! Thanks for always answering questions sooo quickly. I've got another. I wrote about my Flame Angel that was constantly swimming up and down the glass. I increased the water flow without any change in the animal. Same thing. Now my Blue Hepatus Tang is "copying" it. I've had both these fish for nearly a year. My water quality has always been good because I do water changes and run a skimmer. (The more water changes one does, the less work one ends up with.) <Agreed> So my husband suggested that maybe our Foxface "got them?" Thanks again! -Becky <Likely nothing wrong here. It may well be that these fishes are seeing an "internal" reflection in the viewing panel, and reacting to their own image... Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue Hepatus Tang (behavior)
I wanted to describe the Tangs actions better. It puts it's belly right in the corner of the tank then flaps it's fins quickly without moving. It's head faces upward. Thanks <Mmm, some of the WetWebMedia crew does the same sort of thing when we've been out drinking tequila... Again, an agonistic display... self-generated... Which some of the folks who make up the WWM crew display as well. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> -Becky

Hippo tang Hi again, I am planning on getting a hippo tang but heard they get ick quite easily.  <yes... I think the species name "hepatus) is Latin for "Ich-magnet"> Is this true?  <does a bear bring a reader's digest into the woods?!?> Will a pair of cleaner shrimp take care of this problem?  <not likely... a weak way to treat the problem. Fish get ich from compromises in aquarium husbandry. It's just that P. hepatus is more strict than most. Water changes with indiscriminately cooler water, lack of quarantine on entry, system temperature fluctuations between day and night, etc will all cause it to flare. If there is any fish that requires that you have a hospital tank on hand at all times for quarantine... this is the one> And also do you think that a hippo tank will fare better in a 55 than a powder blue tang? <relatively speaking, yes. The tank is too small for either in the long run with regard for their skimming needs and adult sizes. But the Powder blue suffers in smaller tanks and without extremely strong water movement. A small blue hepatus would be a much better choice. Make sure to QT for a full month first. Kindly, Anthony>

Tangs, a tank and a shoehorn I own 2- 70 gallon f/o aquariums. One has an orange-shoulder tang, a yellow tang, and a Singapore angel. The other has a coral beauty, orange-shoulder tang, and a Picasso trigger. I would like to add a hippo to the latter of the two but I don't know what size I should order. I realize that the orange-shoulder will outgrow the tank but we'll handle that when the time comes.  <so will the hippo for that matter... it is hard for me to make a recommendation on something that will only work for 12-18 months if the fish is well fed and cared for. Indeed the sum length of both fish at adulthood is over two feet! One fish will be too much for a 70 gallon tank at that point... assuming it lives that long cramped> Currently he's a juvenile just maturing to adult coloration. I'm worried that the Orange-shoulder will harass the hippo if I add him.  <some hippos are rather scrappy just the same. Mixing groups of angels, butterflies or tangs is always a risk. With so many other wonderful reef fishes to keep, I'd advise you to find something with a different feeding habit that will be perceived as less of a threat> I had an Atlantic blue tang before that ended up killing my one-inch hippo and I don't want to have the same happen with the orange-shoulder. The orange-shoulder is about 3.5 inches long. If I need to I can divide the tang but what do you think I should do? Do you think the two will get along? <Alas, my friend...in the big picture it is not worth the risk... even if 4 in 10 work out, that leaves 6 of 10 that suffer. With hundreds of great marine fish to pick from, do look for something that will remain small and be more compatible for your tank size. Kindly, Anthony Calfo>

Diet for Hepatus Tang Hi, I have a hepatus tang and plan to feed him lifeline herbivore, Hikari mega marine algae, and omega flake. Is this mix good enough to keep him healthy as possible? <We should always strive to incorporate as much variety as possible into your animals diets. I prefer to use some dry foods, with some frozen foods, and always add some Nori to a Tang's feeding regimen.> What are your opinions on formula one, my LFS says they are mostly water. <One of my favorite foods. Formula Two would be more appropriate for Tangs. All frozen foods have a high moisture content, but that is not necessarily bad. -Steven Pro>

Hippos Everywhere Hi Bob- <Anthony Calfo in your service> Trying to find some info. on keeping multiple Hippo tangs in the same tank and have not had much luck, so I turn to the experts. <make sure that you quarantine all hippos for a strict month in a hospital tank and then keep an extremely stable temperature in the display (two heaters) once moved... these lovely fish get white-spot disease very easily from stress> 1) Is it even possible to keep multiple hippos together? <easily and commonly> 2) Any special warnings that could be observed (i.e. only keep in odd numbers; I have heard this for other tangs). <nope...rubbish. All pot luck, but larger shoals are safer of like sized animals. Three is a minimum and a bit scary. I'd opt for at least four assuming you have a six foot tank or bigger to plan responsibly for their adult size> 3) IF possible: I am planning a 150 gallon reef tank with a bi-color pseudo and 6-line wrasse. The only other fish would be a small grouping of hippos. How many adults could this tank comfortably support? <If you want to leave room for them as adults, let the hippos be the only large fish and the other tankmates should be small as you have planned with the pseudo and wrasse. > Thanks T.J. Morgan <best regards, Anthony>

Hepatus Diet I have a young hepatus tang and he will just not eat the dried algae sheets I give him. How can I get it to eat this or what else can I try with the same nutritional value? <Try attaching your feeding clip to a small, removable piece of liverock. That way the food is on a more natural looking substrate. I also like Formula Two. Your best bet is to offer a wide variety of foods. -Steven Pro>

Fat Blue Tang? Mr. Fenner, <Brad and Brandy... Anthony Calfo here feeling kind of zany and answering Bob's mail> What will happen if a fish gets too fat? <he will seem less charming at parties even though he's really the same inside> And can a fish get too fat?  <seriously...yes. Like any animal (including and especially humans) an improper diet can harm or kill a fish> How can I tell if my hippo is too fat.  <tough to say... fish store fat along the base of the dorsal fin (their "back") which lends a very thick appearance to the fish. It is not easy to accomplish without seriously corrupting water quality in most systems. Usually not a reality or problem> He is very well rounded, has a few fat lines in his sides, and his side fins don't know technical name) appear really fat. He was the only fish for about 6 weeks and he got all the food, so he gained a lot of weight. We are worried he could die from being overweight. <no worries... a fish cannot become dangerously obese in such a short period of time. You may have a nicely healthy fish. Be sure to feed an overwhelmingly green diet (Nori Seaweed good) to this strict herbivore...no brine shrimp! Best regards, Anthony>

Fat Hepatus Tang Anthony, <"Hello Again... Hello" (anyone else singing Neil Diamond right now? Just me, huh?) Anyway...greetings, Anthony Calfo in your service again> Thank you so much for your reply. <quite welcome!>  I feed him Spirulina and omega one (flakes) soaked in Zo?every morning, during the day he and his buddy (a desjardinii Zebrasoma) munch on seaweed selects (though the zebra eats most of it) and in the evening he eats frozen Mysis shrimp, sometimes mixed with frozen formula two. <excellent diet>  I was so worried about his size that I skipped his morning feeding, so he is probably going to be really grumpy tonight. Should I continue feeding him as I stated above or drop down to one feeding per day. <please keep feeding small frequent portions. Three tiny feedings are much better than one large one for over all health and good husbandry> He lives with the Sailfin, two true perculas and a bunch of snails, hermit crabs, shrimp and rock crabs. We just want to keep him happy and healthy as all his previous tank mates died of marine velvet (TWO SEPARATE TIMES) he was the lone survivor, so we really value him!!!! Thanks again, I feel much better. <your doing a great job... keep learning and growing. I've stopped growing, but I am learning. So what if I can't dunk a basketball. Anthony>

Blue Tang Bob, Another question - I have a small (2.5 inch) Blue (Regal) Tang. <Wow, this is small> I have had it for about 2 weeks. It has some white fluffy like spots on it's body and fins. Mostly noticeable when the light hits him at an angle. Not too many, and it is eating fine, swimming fine. On a rare occasion will brush against the live rock. Best described as like the dandelion seed fluff that blows in the air. I am feeding the usual flake food, and Graze. I have read your articles in "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" regarding Ick, but also have read your advice on the website about Lymphocystis.  <This is likely the latter.> I am really not sure what this is or whether to treat it or not. <I wouldn't "treat it" as such... simply maintain good water quality, boost immune systems with vitamins, iodide addition to foods, water... perhaps add a cleaner (oh, see you have down below)> All my levels are at zero, PH is good, salinity good. I also have a Yellow Tang, two Clownfish, Royal Gramma, Flame Angel and just got a Cleaner Wrasse (bought it before I read your boycott article in your book - it will be my last one) and two cleaner shrimp. I think it and the Yellow Tang had some of these spots once before but they went away. Any suggestions? <Just the above> I bought your book a week ago and read it in two days  <!> (amazon.com is a great thing). Awesome material, I wish I had it before I even bought the tank. Should be a must read for anyone BEFORE getting into this hobby. Your knowledge seems endless. <Simply many years of accumulation, tests, trying to "make known" what one feels should be...> After reading the book, it gave a whole new perspective on being "conscientious", and changed my whole feeling of responsibility about keeping these animals. Thank-you. <Thank you my friend. Our minds, consciousnesses have met, are confluent. Bob Fenner> John Kummer

Restocking tank Mr. Fenner, We were wondering if a Hippo will get along with a Coral Beauty (much smaller than the Hippo) and then, will they get along with Perculas and a yellow eyed tang? If so in which order should these fish be added and how long in between each addition should we wait before adding the next? The only one we have right now is the Hippo and we have had him for about 15 months and he is pretty big!!! <In a good sized system, say 75 gallons or more, with adequate cover (live rock, etc.) these should all get along... I would place them in the order you present, with a week or more between the Dwarf Angel and then the Clowns and other Tang can be placed at the same time or no... The Hippo (Paracanthurus hepatus) may chase the newcomers, especially the Kole, for a while... but is very unlikely to damage them given the above stipulations. Bob Fenner>

Confession: I Keep a Hippo Tang in a 55 Gallon Tank Hi Bob <Hello> I have been in the hobby only about 2 years and am enjoying The Conscientious Marine Aquarist for the first time. My question involves the ethics of keeping a hippo tang in a "small" tank (55 gallons). I bought this guy from my LFS before I heard claims that he could not be kept in small tanks. I did some research, but not enough to discover that this issue existed. Now I have had him in a sparsely populated full reef tank for about 18 months, with what I thought was great success.  <By definition... yes. I have kept this species in this size quarters as well. For a largely sedentary fish during the day, I don't consider fifty five gallons as "way too" small, but down to about the smallest size volume for a "medium" individual> He recovered completely from an early bout with an ick-like affliction and has shown no signs of stress for well over a year. The problem: he's only about 2 1/2 inches long (sans tail). I mentioned this on an internet forum and was excoriated by some knowledgeable folks (or so they claim) for keeping a tang in such a tiny tank, the theory being that this species grows to 10 or 12 inches in the wild, so must be stunted by living in the small tank, therefore must be suffering as a result of my cruelty. <Mmm, not necessarily... Paracanthurus can, do get to be five, six inches in captivity as some average maximum length... but are slow growers... often not fed continuously as in the wild...> I contend that he eats well, exhibits good social skills, looks great, and never gets sick. No doubt the small tank is restricting his growth, but what harm does that do?  <Little to none... chances are (here we go with generalized statements, albeit necessary) that a given individual would have been consumed in the wild by now...> Now I notice that your fine book does not warn against putting hippo tangs in a small tank. Am I missing something, like maybe a conscience? <You seem to be missing nothing... but simply considering disparate opinions at this point. I am still of the notion that this fish is doing fine in your care. Be chatting. Bob Fenner. Oh, please do read through our principal site, www.WetWebMedia.com for more timely, recent input.> Ev Newton

PS to my Confession Hi again In my e-mail about keeping a hippo tag in a 55, I should have mentioned the Latin name Paracanthurus hepatus (but you knew that) <Yes> and the fact that the fish has grown only very slightly since I got him a year and a half ago. So unless he undergoes an anomalous growth spurt, it will take him about 7 years to reach 6 inches in length. (By this time I hope to have my dream tank up and running.) Other details: he's fat (despite sparse feeding) and well conformed. Tankmates are one Pseudochromis fridmani, two cinnamon clowns, and half a dozen inverts, including a Heteractis malu (but that's a different sin for another time). Ev Newton <You're making my day. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Re: PS to my Confession
Thanks for the lightning response, Bob. I did look at the P. hepatus and general surgeonfish material on WWM before asking. Your stuff is by far the most reliable and sensible information on line. I wish I had known about WWM when I started this tank. Newt <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. They mean much to me. I do hope/trust that we can contribute to the appreciation and proper use of our world by such interactions. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Pits in a Hippo Tang Mr. Fenner, I was just reading your site on the Palette tang (hippo) and noticed the section on Hole in head and Lateral Line Erosion diseases. How can I tell If my hippo has these? <Quite obvious... and common with this species. Obvious pits, generally starting with enlargement of lateral line pores of the head...> He eats flake and Spirulina soaked in vitamins in the morning and munches on seaweed selects during day, also has Mysis, brine shrimp plus, and Formula Two in evening. He eats well, but he has and has always had little "freckles" on his face. Is this that disease?  <No... no worries... likely the vitamin addition has/will preclude involvement> He is very healthy actually fat) We have had him about 15 months and he has always had these little black freckles. Is that species specific (I see lots of hippos like this.) or is it lack of nutrition? Also you say they should not be quarantines due to overstress. He is alone right now as all his tank mates died from Velvet and other "bugs" about 8 days ago. He has no signs of anything wrong, but will he be alright by himself for a few more weeks while we make sure all things are well in our tank? <Likely yes> How is a yellow eyed tang as a tank mate for him?  <Should be fine> Jason (who filled in while you were gone) suggests no other tangs, but he seems happier doesn't hide as much) when he is not the only tang in tank....Thanks in advance.... <These two species generally co-exist well... though don't overlap in distribution in the wild. A bit of "jousting" to be expected... but no real damage. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pits in a Hippo Tang
Mr. Fenner, of the two tangs hippo and yellow eye) who will be dominant? I want to keep my hippo as the "King"!!! <Sort of like many marriages... a kind of co-dominance, with the Blue being allowed to believe it's king. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pits in a Hippo Tang
I am sorry to bother you again, but I am looking at a picture of him and he has this area between his mouth and his eye that is just these "freckles". They do look like pits in his skin to me, but I see it in every hippo I have ever seen. They are only in this area, Is this the disease? Now I am really worried about him, because they do look like "pits"....But...he is VERY fat!!!! <Mmm, not to worry. This environmental, nutritional disease is easily recognized for what it is... your fish is not mal-affected. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pits in a Hippo Tang
Thank you so much for all your wonderful advice. What is the name of your book? I was trying to get it yesterday but could not remember the exact title. <Mmm, likely "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". Bob Fenner>

RE: Blue Tang Hi again "Dr. Fenner" In the past 3 weeks, my Blue Tang's face has continued to erode. There are definite dot-sized "pits" all over his face. I don't know what to do. <Sounds like the nutritional disorder: HLLE. Please read here: http://WetWebMedia.Com/hllefaqs.htm> Water levels are good. Feeding him seaweed soaked in a vitamin mix daily. Feeding a variety of frozen "pop" food every day & even placing a drop of garlic paste on top (to soak in). Broccoli, carrots, peas & lettuce.....won't touch any of them, so I don't even try feeding these any more <How about Nori, kombu... human intended prepared algae... in strips?> Doing the whole reef enhancer, calcium, Strontium., iodine & Essential elements weekly. Please help my beautiful blue baby!!!  Thanks again. Jennifer <Do you have live rock in this system? I would place some if not... and Do add some red and green species of macro-algae (live)... to improve water quality. Let's keep discussing this situation. Bob Fenner>
RE: Blue Tang
Thanks Bob, I know that it is HLLE because none of the other fish in the tank are affected. Actually my seaweed is Nori; it's cheaper it get it from the Asian grocery store than seaweed from the fish store. I peel it into strips & soak it for about 1/2 hour in a liquid vitamin mix. <Ah, good> I have about 70 lbs of live rock in the tank & it is doing great. Many fan/tube worms, yellow ball-like sponges & bright yellow & red flat sponges continue to grow. Any other thoughts? The HLLE is progressing quite rapidly. <The "miracle mud" sold by Ecosystem Aquariums, refugium sump with reverse daylight photoperiod or 24/7 light... please read these over on WetWebMedia.com). Bob Fenner> Thanks again. Jennifer

Hippo Tang Hello Bob, <Howdy> I'm looking for some words of advice on a Hippo Tang that is sick with something. As we discussed on the phone a couple of weekends ago, I recently added a sump and Turboflotor skimmer in my 60 gallon system. To get the sump in I had to drain the tank and move the live rock out, etc... A lot of mix up of water and sand for a while. All appeared fine for a while as far as the fishes health goes. I decided to put some brittle stars and turbo snails in my tank for a clean up crew. Unfortunately, the next day my prized Hippo Tang is sick. Here are the symptoms 1. breathing is heavy, gill noticeably open/panting 2. hides - does this a lot normally too, but more than normal 3. Most readily visible symptoms are large areas of discoloring a) white/grayish areas on face (not spots). b) Yellow portion of tail appears to be "running" into black part of body (see picture 1) 3. Yesterday there seemed to an area where there was a hole forming near his head, but that has since disappeared. (I originally suspected HLLE) 4. Mouth, face and gills are swollen 5. Later suspected Brooklynella hostilis and did the below: <Rare that species other than Clownfishes "have" Brooklynellosis> I have given the fish a freshwater bath, quarantined him with a cleaner shrimp and Kent Marine's RxP parasite remover in the water (supposed to be invert safe and the shrimp seems to be doing fine - haven't seen too much cleaning though). I've also added some Cycle and vitamins to the water, as well as Iodide. <Okay> Truth of the matter is I still have no clue what is wrong with this fish and don't want to lose him. I've had him about a year now and he's my favorite marine pal. <I would skip on the RXP, other medications and treat this fish's foods with a liquid vitamin mix and iodide (not just the water), and add some red and/or green macro-algae to the system. I do suspect the changes in adding the sump triggered this "environmental disease", and that it's best countered with improving nutrition and water quality. Bob Fenner>

Fish (livestock selection, marine) Bob I have another question for you in regard to my tank. I have a 135 reef tank with around 200 lbs of live rock and quite a few soft and hard corals. The fish I have are Cherub angel, fire fish, six line wrasse, 3 lyretail Anthias (I don't know if one is going to make it. She has not been acting all that great lately) 2 perculas clowns, Banggai cardinal and purple tang. I was thinking about adding a hippo tang. I do not want to over crowd my tank. Do you think the addition of the Hippo would be too much? <The added fish, Paracanthurus, should be fine. A good choice here for temperament, color...> Are there any other fish you would recommend that might compliment what I all ready have? Once again thank you so much for your help and time. <Many choices... please read through, check the ratings, images of what we have posted on WetWebMedia.com) Bob Fenner> Jason

Re: fish Bob A quick follow up. If staying with smaller size fish how many more do you think I could put in this tank? <No more> I have been reading through your web site and it said not to quarantine the Hippo tang do you still subscribe to this philosophy? <For most cases yes> Would Two hippo get along better than one? <One> That is all and I will leave you alone. Thank You so much, Jason <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Lateral line problem, Paracanthurus Bob, first of all I got to ask, how do you do it? I see all these folks that ask you questions, questions, questions and you always seem to have a thoughtful, patient, response. Great job and God bless you. <Practice, dedication, drive and quick keying my friend> MY question relates to my Hippo Tang. He eats well, and seems to enjoy life. He is quite a character. Recently I have noticed he has a number of small black marks on and above his gills. I have never seen lateral line disease before but have heard/read of it. The photos I find on the internet don't look like what I am seeing. Any hints on how to identify what I am dealing with here?  <Sounds "natural"... there are "races" of Paracanthurus that display such melanization... is it bilateral, that is, "balanced", present on both sides of the fish? If so, I wouldn't be concerned> For all I know these may just be natural markings but they are in different locations on his gills (right and left side) and much more numerous (maybe 8 or 9 "spots") on his left. Any suggestions or ideas? Again thanks for all your hard work and help! <Could be a subdermal protozoan presence... but wouldn't let it bother me/you at this point. Bob Fenner>

Hippo Tang with gill problems Hi Bob, I love your site and think that your advice is invaluable. I have looked through the FAQ's and have not seen what I am looking for, maybe you can help. Today I acquired a Hippo Tang (a surprise from mom), looked pretty good except for one or two large white spots. I began copper treatment in what has become a q tank this morning for a yellow tang with small black spots (have reduced by half throughout the day), and thought I would put him in. Everything was great for several hours, no signs of stress, getting along fine and picking at rock. Late this evening before lights went off, I noticed him spinning in circles, nose down, scratching one side of his face, and running into the rock. When I looked closer, he was breathing very rapidly out of his left gill, and his right gill was clamped shut. Color was OK and tests were all fine. After about 10 minutes. I netted him and brought him to the surface for closer inspection. He then began using both gills equally and swimming normally. Several minutes later, he was doing the same thing, just opposite side. What do you think is wrong and can it be fixed? Thanks for your help. <Maybe just reacting to being new, perhaps a bit of artifact of the copper treatment... Do read over the "Tang" sections including the associated FAQs files posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com... I would likely switch out of the copper use in favor of biological cleaners at this point. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hippo Tang with gill problems
Thank you very much for your response. I know that you were away  for a short time and could not get back very quickly. The tang ended up  dying three days later, spot free. He continued to swim erratically and run  into things. I am guessing that he had some sort of neurological damage  from toxins in shipping bag (came straight from distributor's bag) or other. Thank you anyway, and I will read over tangs on WWM. <Sorry to hear of your loss. Yes to the possibility of neurological damage... possibly from shipping, other incidental trauma, possibly internal parasitization, infection. Bob Fenner>

Hippo tang, tank-raised clown, BGA Bob, <Lorenzo Gonzalez, standing in for Bob-in-Asia> I just purchased a regal tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) from the LFS. <Nice.> According to them, it was tank-raised by C-Quest. These tangs seem smaller to me than most of the other wild-caught Regals. I have purchased all of my fish from this store and they are all tank-raised (royal Gramma, 2 Percula/ocellaris clownfish (not sure which), Lysmata amboinensis shrimp, and now regal tang). I am sold on tank raised marine fish.  <Good for you, even better for the industry, and the environment> The clownfish come right to the top of the tank when I open the lid and if I hold a piece of frozen food they will eat right out of my hand. The shrimp likewise, in fact the shrimp gets to be a bit pushy and I have to chase him off so the clownfish can get a chance. He even nips my hand sometimes. The regal tang was also a great buy. (though not cheap) The next day he was out swimming around and eating. I purchased him on Monday and yesterday (Thursday) he even ate some flake food. I have some questions regarding the tang. I have put some dried seaweed on a clip in the tank, but he hasn't yet eaten any. How long will it take before he finds it or trusts it or whatever? How long can I safely leave an uneaten piece of seaweed on the clip? <He may never take dried seaweed, some just won't. Have you seen 'tang heaven' stuff at www.ipsf.org ? As far as leaving it in the tank, don't worry about it.> I also some questions about an algae problem. A while ago I added a second pair of fluorescents in anticipation of adding the tang. (i.e. grow more algae for it to eat.) Soon afterwards, I began to get a reddish algae growing on the sand. It grows in mats but also has stringers flowing up into the current. It got so bad that it trapped gas underneath it and I had two peaks of algae raising about 4-6 inches off the bottom, one pointed and the other dome shaped. I tried to physically remove it, but it is coming back faster than it grew originally. I have 6 blue legged hermit crabs and 4 turbo snails. (Obviously not enough for my 55 gal. tank) The crabs don't seem to like it and the snails prefer the glass or rock. What is this algae? and Do you have a recommendation for an algae eater that will eat this algae off the sand? What about turning off the second pair of fluorescents for a while? (Eventually though, I want to add some invertebrates so this can't be a permanent solution.) Where do you think the gas came from that was trapped under the algae? Was it Nitrogen from by plenum or Oxygen from the algae or something else? <See bob's articles, FAQ's regarding this stuff on WetWebMedia.Com: http://www.WetWebMedia.com/algaeconMar.htm http://www.WetWebMedia.com/bluegralgae.htm That second article has a pic of the very stuff you're complaining about.> Thanks for your advice. Jeffrey P. Schulz <No problem, and good luck with the BGA (blue-green algae) -Lorenzo>

Yet Another Ich Question...! Mr. Fenner, I have read all related questions prior to bothering you but had no luck with finding anything relating to my problem. I am new to "The Hobby" and introduced a hippo tang into my reef tank a couple of weeks ago (12 Gallon Eclipse). <A Paracanthurus in such a small system...> I DID dip him in a product called "HydroPlex". He developed the onset of Ich two days ago and I purchased and added a product called "No-Ich Marine" to the tank that same day. <Both non-effective products in my estimation...> I started doing some research and you can imagine my dismay when I found your web site and started reading all the horror stories regarding Ich. Do you know if the products I used are valuable as I am using them?  <Yes, do know, and no, they're not...> I have raised the temp, vacuumed the live gravel and rock, changed the water, purchased a cleaner shrimp, etc., etc. as I see you advise over and over again, but am hopeful that this "new" type of medication will prove more effective than older products. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer! <Ah, my new friend... I do wish I had some 'magic' or other-additional information to render... you now know about all I do re the common parasitic infestations of marine fishes... do continue with the environmental manipulation, use of cleaners, vitamin prep.s.... Bob Fenner, who would of course, encourage you to dip-bath, or quarantine all new livestock... not place the stated species in such a small system... I wish you well, life>

Stock list (continued) and soft corals Hi - I have a few follow-on questions related to the next step in my aquarium adventure. (I feel like I'm perhaps asking too many questions, but you keep answering them!) I included our previous emails for context - I now have a cleaner goby along with my clownfish, and both are doing great. For my next step I am planning to mail-order a tank-raised palette tang <Really? Paracanthurus hepatus? This is news to me...> and royal Gramma...planning to dip/bath both, and then put the tang straight in, but I was thinking of still quarantining the Gramma for a couple weeks. Or is it better to add them both at the same time? <if the system is stable... all at once> I will follow (much later) with a flame angel, and perhaps a Halichoeres (of some type) wrasse. Do the stock list modifications still sound ok? <So far...> An a different note, I followed your advice and added a small cutting from a green star polyp colony - seems to be doing well so far. I would like to try a couple other soft corals <This organism is not a Soft Coral> (xenia and Sarcophyton maybe)...however, I do not currently have any live rock in the main tank - I simply glued the star polyp cutting to the top of a large terrestrial rock in the tank (LFS called it bowl rock) - is it OK to do this with the other soft corals listed? I also currently only have two normal fluorescent bulbs for lighting - are the corals mentioned ok with that? <Maybe not the Sarcophyton, and better to wait, have the live rock in, cycled first> I might eventually upgrade the lighting and add more live rock, but was wanting to take it slow for now... <Go slow... in orderly fashion... buy, place the LR first> Some more setup info in case it is helpful: I'm now adding c-balance to maintain calcium and alkalinity, and I have a wavemaker with quite a bit of current in the tank (55 gallon...3 maxi-jet 1200s). Thanks again - Keith <Okay. Bob Fenner>

Re: Paracanthurus hepatus rearing from wild young This is an email I received from Inland Aquatics, one of the sources that sells the captive-reared Paracanthurus hepatus: ----------------- <<Can you tell me where you catch your Paracanthurus hepatus?>> Ours are "Captive Raised", meaning they are collected as larvae/post-larvae (in the Solomon Islands). They are grown out there for about a month before being shipped state-side where they are grown out for another 3 month or so. They are approximately 2" when we offer them for sale. ($39.99) --- Perhaps they are an exception to the rule? Thanks again for your well-founded insight - this is a complex industry to understand, with many environmental as well as economic considerations. Keith <Thanks much for this... do know the company and the owner/mgr. Morgan Lidster... and he is a straight shooter... If he says this is what they're doing than I believe them... Do know of (and have dived with) what I thought was the only outfit doing this "collection/rearing" procedure (in French Polynesia)... and know that they don't (of course) handle Palette/Yellow-Tail Blue/Hippo Tangs (not much in range)... Will post under genus on WWM site. Thank you again. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine of yellow-tail blue tang I have read your articles about the blue tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), and see that you recommend not quarantining this fish and introducing it directly to the tank. I'm wondering if you can comment a little more on this...?  <Will try... Most Paracanthurus are relatively "clean" on arrival (especially from some locales... like New Caledonia...) and if you had, say, a thousand random specimens/trials, you would find (as I have) that the vast majority of them (and their tank-mates) are better off with this practice (pH adjusted freshwater dipping and placement in the main/display system versus quarantine, particularly exposure to copper, other metal salts).> I currently have a 55 gallon fish-only tank with a single tank-raised Percula clownfish. There are no parasites in the tank, and I would like to keep it that way ;].  <I understand> Doesn't placing the tang directly into the tank (after a bath/dip) still pose a (significant?) risk of introducing parasites into the tank which may then infect other fish? Thanks - Keith <Not in my opinion... but would still avail myself of biological cleaners... perhaps a Lysmata Shrimp or other (see the newly spiffed up files on these on the www.WetWebMedia.com site for pix, more on choices) or a Gobiosoma goby... Other Surgeonfishes are much more prone to cause troubles of the sort you're trying to avoid... they're surveyed on the WWM site. Bob Fenner>

Ectoparasites on hippo tang Bob, Once again I crave your advise. I have two hippo tangs and a Bannerfish butterfly that have been in quarantine since 12/9/00. I dipped the fish in fresh water and then treated them with therapeutic copper x 10 days. During that time, the tangs were reclusive so I didn't get to examine them well. Two days after stopping the copper, I noted that one of the tangs had several ~1mm brownish attachments to one side of its dorsal fin. Both tangs had 3 mm white oval rings on their bodies. The butterfly had a single white 1 mm lesion on its body. I attempted to view the dorsal fin lesion in my surface microscope, but was unable to hold the fish in focus without traumatizing it, so I didn't get a good view of the lesions. I treated them again with copper for another 14 days, and only the butterfly's lesion disappeared. Then, I tried a commercial Malachite green / quinine preparation x 5 days, while feeding them brine shrimp mixed with Metronidazole, without affect. Then I used Paragon (which along with various antibiotics, has Dylox. <Yes, DTHP, an organophosphate insecticide...> The oval rings are gone. The butterfly and one tang have been completely clear for two weeks. The other tang still has 3 brownish, 1 mm protuberances on its dorsal fin. All fish are eating and acting well. Should I continue quarantine or could these represent dead but firmly attached parasites? I do have a cleaner wrasse in the main tank (sorry, I read your injunction after the purchase!). Would it be sufficient to safeguard the tank from contamination? Should I try another treatment, and if so, with what? thanks, Sam <Much thought and thoughtfulness have gone into your actions and message here; I appreciate this. And a somewhat tough call on how to proceed. I can, as always, only speak to how I would proceed. I would place the Paracanthurus Tang, even with the described lesions at this point... and consider that the risk of contamination is very small (acceptably). Biological cleaners (I like various shrimp, Gobiosoma gobies as you know, rather than the dismal survival-history Labroides)... do help, but cannot/will not prevent infectious, parasitic disease spread... All else contributing... an optimized, stable environment and so much more (see the "Three Sets of Factors Determining Livestock Health" on the www.WetWebMedia.com site) I give you very good odds that the problems on the Palette/Hippo/Pacific Yellow Tail Blue Tang will self-cure. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ectoparasites on hippo tang
Thanks. Here's another quick question. When I realized that the quarantine tank was needed for more than two weeks, I moved my fluidized sand filter from my main system (where it had run in parallel to the primary wet/dry filtration) to the quarantine tank. Despite having been running for 8 months, the sand filter did not stop the quarantine tank from cycling. I was surprised. Do you think that the medications killed the bio-filtration organisms (they each claimed not to),  <Yes, copper kills nitrifying microbes... Bob Fenner> or is the fluidized sand filter less capable than advertised? <These can be finicky depending on lack of flow, temperature change, availability of nutrients...> thanks, Sam

Hippo (Pig) Tang Hi Bob, I added a Hippo Tang to my reef tank. I've had Hippos before, but only in a FO tank. This guy is eating constantly (normal) and it looks like he's about to explode! His stomach is huge. Is this normal for Hippos in a reef tank/nature? Thanks and hope all is well, Tony <Yes, healthy Paracanthurus hepatus are very girthy in captivity. Bob Fenner>

Blue tang ich options Hi Robert, I think I'm making good decisions, but I thought if I was making obvious mistakes you could catch me on them, if you have time. <Okay> I have a 33G tank with ~10lbs of live rock, 1" of aragonite sand over 2" of crushed coral over a UGF run in reverse. The draw if through an Eheim surface suction extractor into an Eheim canister, into the UGF. I've ordered an AquaC Remora protein skimmer, and I'm waiting for it to arrive (should be this week) to remove the UGF. The tank is 6 weeks old and I cycled it with two damsels. There were two snails and a nickel-sized starfish on the live rock. <I'd likely just "unplug" the flow to the UG and leave the plate there as an ersatz plenum> After 6 weeks and no measurable ammonia, nitrite and ~2ppm (approx based on colour somewhere between 0 and 5 on my test kit) nitrate, I bought some more friends! I bought 2 scarlet hermit crabs, 3 snails (one Astrea, one turbo, one tiger turbo, bringing the total up to 5), and a starfish (I don't remember what kind, but it looks pretty standard, nothing fancy, roughly 3" in diameter and brown.)<Hmm> I bought those at Marinescape in Ottawa; nice store, I think I'll be going there a lot. I waited almost a week, returned the Damsels at the Ottawa (St. Laurent) ASWO and got two real fish there. A blue tang and a pygmy angel. The rep seems quite knowledgeable about marine tanks, and said that these two are reasonably good choices for a beginner and should coexist well. Not trusting him, I checked in their books anyway! They pretty much confirmed that these fish are easy to keep and hardy. I acclimatized them over the course of an hour, but didn't do the freshwater dip. <Yikes, I would have... and no quarantine? You may have inadvertently infested your tank... time will tell.> Both fish were from the same tank, the tank was very active and seemed in perfect health, and I had no other fish to protect, so I was unconcerned. Although future incidents put that into question, my understanding of the biology of marine ich (foreshadowing there!) seem to me to indicate that this was not a bad decision. I got some emerald entree as well. <Do like the mystery lingo entered here... can we wait to see how this "turns out"?> They've been home for three nights now, and unfortunately 2 days ago the blue tang was dusted with about 30 or so white spots (consistent with your description of marine ich.) Yesterday, the fish was less active and there were fewer white spots. Both fish are still feeding well and there is no sign of asphyxiation. There was 100% I'll stake my reputation on it absolutely no sign of it in the store. More Internet research has uncovered the fact (absent from the book in the store!) that the tang is susceptible to ich. Sigh. <Arggghhhh, I knew it... It was YOU! Not the Butler after all... Don't be too hard on yourself... Neither you, I or anyone else could/would have likely seen the "spots"... but in shops they're epidemic... Most systems are not independent in mixing, treating water... folks are sloppy in sharing specimen containers, nets... sans sanitizing dips/procedures... Hence the rationale behind dips/baths, quarantine procedures... a bunch and I mean a really big pile more on this stored on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com> Marine ich biology is now a subject in which I am reasonably well versed. Please correct me where I'm wrong: The little bastards live in and on fish, not just on them. A freshwater dip can be helpful, but won't necessarily prevent fish who are currently infected from bringing their infection along with them. The lifecycle of marine ich (three stages) lasts approximately from 8-10 weeks, with about 2 weeks being the "white dust" phase. <Pretty much correct, 'cept for time frames of single generation infestations... and the capacity to speed up same with elevating temperature... the Q10 factor as you may recall> There seem to be two possible ways to deal with this: 1) I accept that marine ich parasites in the tank is a fact of life, the way going into a hospital the fact that the flu virus is somewhere in there is a fact of life. Healthy fish need not be particularly concerned, but whenever there is a stressful event, some may catch it. It's unlikely to kill my fish. I can control it with a cleaner shrimp, which many sources advocate as a natural way to combat marine ich and other marine parasites. OR 2) I don't want any nasty marine ich in my tank, thank you very much. I take the two fish out right away, pop them into a hospital tank (that currently does not exist), treat them with copper and leave them there for 10 weeks, while not adding any fish to my main tank. I can add inverts and have some fun watching them while the tang and angel recuperate. In 10 weeks, having completely deprived any ich in any stages in the tank from any fish hosts, my tank is clean. I can add the fish back in. From now on, however, I need to treat ANY new fish with copper for 2 weeks in my hospital tank before adding them to my main tank. <Two weeks should do it... in the hospital tank with environmental manipulation thrown in... and a month of dropping spg and elevating temp. in the now-impugned main system... but you can/will read about this on the WWM site> I'm going to decide (1) as it requires me to buy a 30$ additional pet to enjoy instead of setting up another tank and going without my pets (for practical purposes) for a long time. I also surfed your site and there are salinity options discussed there that I am open to adopting. I am worried about overstressing the fish in this weakened state with salinity changes. Any advice for me? Thanks in advance, Paul <First, I do commiserate with your situation... I would do both 1 and 2 in the way of treating the fishes in the main system with a copper based medication (which will likely be necessary... you'll very likely otherwise lose your livestock...), test kit, and the mentioned spg, temp. changes... in the main tank... Yes, risking the loss of nitrification and all that portends... and having plenty of back up pre-made water to effect possible water changes... And then once this "parasite problem" appears to be licked, avail yourself of plan "1" (after utilizing activated carbon or Polyfilter to assure removal of the cupric ion... and returning temp. and spg to near natural seawater conditions...) and make a firm commitment to adopt and adhere to a stiff regimen of dip/bath and quarantine of all new fish livestock.... Bob Fenner>

Hippo Tang with Glassy Eye I came home from a week-end long vacation and found my 65 in generally good shape. I had to arrange the live rock, as it had become unstable. Surely, this scared the little guy a bit (2" hippo tang). Lights were out when I was done. I get home from work today, and he has a glassy eye. Looks like its got a clear glassy coat to it. And has a small white spot on it. No other abnormalities. He is swimming and eating well. But it concerns me. What is this? Did he scrape his eye and hurt himself? Is this ICH or some other disease? Please help! <Very likely you are correct... the tang went "bang in the night"... per the description and the fact that the opacity is unilateral (one sided)...> Tank Overview: 65 gallon, PH looks good. Going to run the rest of the tests. Other fish: Sm. Juv. Imp Angel, 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 6 line, 1 flame hawk--all look good.  HELP HELP! Thanks in advance. >> <No need to panic, now or probably in future... this situation will resolve itself, and you're likely to do more harm than good by manipulating the animal, or pouring in a "medication"... just wait a week or so and let's see if the problem is clearing... sometimes requires weeks to months for complete restoration...Bob Fenner>
Re: Hippo Tang with Glassy Eye
Bob, Thanks for the advice. The wait and see for the last few days has shown that he is almost completely back to normal with regards to the eye. He is doing great! Thanks again. Matt <Ah very good to hear. Thanks for the update. Bob Fenner>

HLLE Bob, I have noticed that most of the Indian Ocean Blue tangs at some point in time seem to develop lateral line disease. Most of the larger ones I have seen in home aquariums or at pet stores tend to be moderately to severely affected. I was wondering if there was any new insights as to this disease, and with this species in particular. I currently have one in my aquarium which has been doing very well for the last 8 months. It is a small individual (4 inches), and I would like to prevent this disease if possible. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Gerardo Martin Del Campo UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2000 <<Do agree with you re the preponderance of HLLE problems per the apparent distribution/source of this fish... and no to anything new as far as I've heard... still direct to not link with avitaminoses (fat and not soluble vitamins and iodine (stray electrical potential and Octomita necatrix have lost their shine)... You are aware of the use of "mud filtration" (Caulerpa algae in filters lighted continuously)... that has shown dramatic improvements in various fish groups commonly afflicted with HLLE? The causative mechanism is undisclosed at this point... but likely a water quality improvement... including the production of needed chemical cofactors... Bob Fenner>>

Blue morph tang Good morning Bob, I have a friend who has a blue morph tang whose tail fin seems to be all  chewed up. He has had it in a hospital tank a few times and removed some of  the tank mates that may be bothering it but it seems to continue to get  shredded. Could this be a parasite? What can he do to fix it. This fish is a  great pet. ( very friendly and loaded with personality) Maybe a freshwater  dip? Thanks for any assistance. <<Hmm, long time since I've heard this common name. As you know this Surgeonfish sleeps on its side in a convenient cave, overhang at night... I suspect you have a big, bad crustacean (crab, mantis shrimp, pistol shrimp...) that is working it woe while it catches some ZZZZ'z.... Do you have a plastic trap (live mouse type) you can bait at night and see what you can catch? If not, something large, meaty, in a small glass jar in a corner might prove interesting... be ready with flashlight and nets. Bob Fenner, who wouldn't dip the tang.>>

Pacific blue tang I recently purchased a pacific blue tang for my 29 gallon FOWLR. My problem  is his belly looks bumpy. He is eating and acting fine. do I need to worry? I  have some hermit crabs a snail , a cleaner shrimp, and a scooter dragonet. He  gets fed daphnia ,life line , and flakes. I have compact fluorescent lighting  and plenty of live rock. <<Good observation... this fish and other tangs actually eat "grit", parts of gravel, sand to help with food processing... but you don't want the fish to be too thin... Do start adding some more greens to their diet... maybe some sheet algae (Nori by name) from the fish biz or oriental food store. Bob Fenner>>

Sick Fish? Hi Bob, I am having problems with a blue hippo tang (Paracanthurus hepatus). This morning I noticed him behaving a little odd, he would swim to the front of the tank and rest on the sand almost sideways at times. Then get up and swim away like nothing happened. This sitting on the bottom would last about 3 to 5 seconds and occurred about four of five time over a period of an hour. I immediately looked for spots but could not see any on him. So I called the local fish store and said that it was just weird behavior of that fish. Then tonight he started it all over again but this time after lying on the sand he would then rub against the rock. Again I can't see any spots or anything that looks abnormal other than the behavior. So I have tired netting him so I could put him into a quarantine tank but I can't catch him with all the live rock. Here is my situation, 125 gallon all glass tank, 120 gallon sump, 100lbs of rock, 180 of sand, a ETS downdraft skimmer, no ammonia, no nitrate or nitrite, gravity of 1.023, and PH about 8.3. In December of 1999 I converted from a 37 gallon tank to the current system. The old system was a little over a year old with the following inhabitants: one six line wrasse one blue hippo tang one Percula clown ten mushrooms three feather dusters some hermit crabs and snails Since converting in early January, I added a pink and yellow Anthias who was dipped for three minutes and then sat for two weeks in a quarantine tank. In mid January I added additional 50 of cured live rock from a local pet store. The same week I also added 40 pounds of live sand. In early February I got a yellow tank and a lawnmower blenny. Both fish were dipped for three minutes and then spent two weeks in quarantine. Copper was not used while any of the fish were in quarantine. Its been about a week in a half since the blenny and yellow tank were introduced. No other fish is showing this behavior. My guess is its Oodinium or Cryptocaryon. Do I continue to try and catch him or with this stress him out more and add to his problems? Or should I take out all the rock in order to catch him that is probably the only way I will catch him? If it is one of the above should I quarantine all the fish and treat with copper and if so for how long? Should I add a cleaner shrimp now or wait till this problem has been resolved? The only other thing I have done to my tank was this morning I vacuumed up some dirty brown/algae) sand from the front of the tank. At that time I replaced the ten gallons of water I sucked out with fresh saltwater. Thanks for your help!! Sincerely, Brian <<Well written, and a full account, thank you... I wouldn't worry, this is really "normal" behavior for this species... in the wild and captivity. I wouldn't catch the animal out, treat the tank...And I would add the cleaner shrimp because they will help, and are neat to keep. Bob Fenner>>

Tangs Hello Bob,  I'd like your advice on the following. I currently have a yellow tang and will be adding 3 medium sized hippo tangs. I'd also like to add either a Sailfin or Desjardin. Do you foresee any problems with this? I have a 110 gallon. Thanks. <<Well, if these are the only fish livestock... May I ask why three of the hippo (Paracanthurus hepatus) tangs? If you're set on this number they would be happier if one was decidedly larger (the other two an inch or more smaller)...  With some luck/chance the Desjardin's (Zebrasoma desjardinii) will not initially be overly-bullied by the existing Yellow, nor become a bully as time goes by and it gets much larger. This Zebrasoma is a better choice than the congener "Sailfin"... in part, because of its lack of familiarity (different geographic range) with the Yellow. Bob Fenner>>

Hippo tang Hi Bob, I have a hippo tang that constantly rubs on the live rock. I have had this fish for over a year. Any solutions would be appreciated. thanks, Gary <<Eh! What can be done? The Hippo/Yellow-Tail Blue/Palette (Paracanthurus hepatus) Tang just does "rub" a bunch... I bet more are bumped off by well-meaning aquarists trying to "treat them" than from all other causes combined. Just leave him/her be. Bob "Scratchy" Fenner>>

Hippo tangs Bob,  What are your thoughts on keeping blue (hippo) tangs in a reef tank? what are their food and other basic requirements? schooling or solitary? When I go to my local reef retailer to observe the hippos, they are some times laying on the floor. The owner says they are perfectly healthy and this is normal behavior. I did observe the fish, and they did not have any external signs of stress or disease, is this behavior really normal in hippos? thanks, Chris <<Have seen hippo/palette/yellow-tail blue tangs (Paracanthurus hepatus) kept in reef tanks around the world, including some gorgeous ones at the Waikiki Aquarium in the "backyard" Mondo reef tank. I like them. They eat most anything, but really appreciate greens everyday (and not terrestrial, btw). Seem happy enough solo or in a group (often in association with their own kind in the wild). And, yes, this species does "lay down" a lot; in captivity and the wild. Not a worry. Just select for one that is "plump", esp. in the upper flank it/they should be concave in profile, not convex. Bob Fenner>>

Emaciated Hippo I have a Blue Tang in a 240 gallon with several other fish. The over last  three weeks he has become very emaciated even though his appetite has  remained strong. None of the other fish have been effected. Water quality  parameter seem fine. I run a wet/dry skimmer system with a UV. Not sure  what to do. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have. Thanks, Brad <<Brad, your Blue Tang may have lost its beneficial microbe populations in its gut, and/or the bits of coral sand that tangs ingest that help them triturate/grind their foods. If you have another tank with healthy tangs in it, I'd move this specimen to it (this is how to re-inoculate the skinny fish with the microbes)... and if you have a bare tank, add some fine coral sand in the corner. Another possibility is that the animal is suffering from some sort of nutrient deprivation. I would soak whatever food it takes most readily with a complete vitamin liquid prep. You can buy these for pet-fish or just get one meant for babies (humans) at the drugstore. Put the drops on the food a few minutes before feeding. Bob Fenner>>

Regal Tang Hello again Bob, <Hi there> I am writing to you about a new acquisition, a regal Tang. I have him in a quarantine tank (50 litre tank) and he has been there for 1 week now. He is eating well, I am feeding him pacific krill, chopped cockle/mussel, brine shrimp (all foods dosed with a vitamin supplement and left for 24 hours before use) and lastly dried seaweed which is clipped to the QT tank wall. He is eating well, taking every bit of food with enthusiasm. He looks well, very colorful, fattening out a little more. The reason I am writing is that I put him in quarantine as you say to many folks who write in, I am prepared to keep him there for the next 3 weeks, performing daily tests/changes etc to ensure his good health before I move him to the main tank (350 litre with 1 PJ wrasse and 2 yellow clarkii) but I am a little concerned about him getting bored. <Okay> I started to read more and more into the WWM forums and FAQ and noticed that you suggested NOT to QT regal tangs as they become bored when solitary and end up stressed and possibly sick. <Mmm, maybe other folks here have stated this... weighing the above likelihood with the chance of introducing a parasitic infestation, I side on boring the specimen> Currently he spends most of his time sitting behind the heater stat which is clipped to the side of the tank (not the element part obviously), only really coming out when he thinks no one is around or when food drifts his way. He has 3 pieces of decor in the tank, a large barnacle, 1 rock and a small ornamental castle which he occasionally lies down underneath and "peeps" at us through the castle windows.... (don't laugh :-) ) <Not laughing. Try inserting a couple of plastic fittings or pipe as well> Do you think it is wise to continue the QT given the description of his behaviour or should I contemplate a move to the main tank? My LFS QTs their fish for 4 weeks before they go on display but as I have read so many times, even the journey home from the shop could stress him hence why I have put him in QT. The last thing I want is for him to get stressed from being "lonely" and end up sick anyway. <I would leave the animal in isolation for a total time of two weeks, then move it through a freshwater bath as proscribed here: http://www.WetWebMedia.com/dips_baths.htm  enroute to your main system. Bob Fenner> All advice greatly received, keep up the excellent work. Thanks Andrew, UK

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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