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FAQs about the Yellow-Tail Blue, Palette, Hippo Tang Disease/Health 1

FAQs on Paracanthurus Tang Disease: PYTB Tang Disease 1, Pacific YTB Tang Disease 2, PYTB Tang Disease 3, Pacific YTB Disease 4, YTBT Health 5, YTBT Health 6, YTBT Disease 7, YTBT Disease 8, YTBT Disease 9, YTBT Disease , & Tangs/Rabbitfishes &Crypt,
FAQs on Paracanthurus Tang Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic (plus see Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt), Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: The Genus Paracanthurus,

Related FAQs: Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 1Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 2, Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 3, Pacific YTB Disease 4, Pacific YTB Tang FAQs 4, YTBT Health 5, YTBT Health 6, PYTB Tang IDPYTB Tang Behavior, PYTB Tang Compatibility, PYTB Tang Selection, PYTB Tang Systems, PYTB Tang Feeding, PYTB Tang Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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>

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!   Joebel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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>>

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>>

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

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>

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>

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>

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

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>

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>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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