Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about the Powder Brown and White Cheek Tangs Disease/Health

Related Articles: Powder Brown Surgeonfishes, Genus Acanthurus, Naso,

Related FAQs: Powder Brown Tangs 1, Powder Brown Tangs 2, & FAQs on: Powder Brown Tangs Identification, Powder Brown Tangs Behavior, Powder Brown Tangs Compatibility, Powder Brown Tangs Selection, Powder Brown Tangs Systems, Powder Brown Tangs Feeding, Powder Brown Tangs Reproduction, & Acanthurus, Acanthurus Tangs 2, Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Vision issues with powder brown tang, not able to eat but still looks healthy with a good coat and fins      4/22/18
I have a medium sized tang from Live Aquaria, got him along with 2 other fish (quarantined them overnight and introduced all three of them at once into a 250 gallon tank.
<... quarantined (just) overnight? A good source, and know their supplier in turn (that is excellent), but this Tang is a notorious "Ich/Crypt magnet".>
The two other medium sized fish (bi color angel and a yellow spotted rabbit fish) are doing exceptionally well. This one was shy to begin with for a few days because of a slightly larger and dominant sail fin tang that was one of the original fish in tank. All are healthy after 4 weeks during which this one darted in front of my gyre pump for the most part. But over the last 4 days, it seemed to have lost its ability to see food and hence seems to stab at the food which it seems to sense by fell mostly. No haze or swelling in the eyes, that I can make out.
I have taken him out to the quarantine/medical tank (20 gals) quite easily and trying to feed different kinds of food (flakes, shrimp pellets, Mysis shrimp, veggie rounds) but nothing interests him. He does not even pick food lying on the floor of the tank. Water quality in both tanks is quite good, DT has consistently had some nitrates (.5 ppm) and slight phosphates (0.25) ppm) but correct ammonia. QT has a slight ammonia but right level of Nitrates. Water changes in both tanks weekly but more often in the QT tank this week. 15% water changes in DT weekly (30-35 gallons) and 30% water changes in QT (5 gallons). PH is 8.2-8.4 in both tanks. Sp. Gravity is between 1.020-1.025 in both tanks.
<I'd maintain the main/display tank at natural seawater spg, and likely drop that of the quarantine for now>
I have treated the PBTang with Mardel's antibiotic for the 2nd consecutive day, changed water over the last 2 days and hoping he starts to see and feed better.
<Mmm; again... IF I suspected a gut/alimentary canal parasite/s I'd go ahead and treat for such. Metronidazole and a vermifuge (maybe Praziquantel, Levamisole...) and possibly an antibiotic (a furan cpd. likely...>
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. My DT is just over 6 months old and has 11 big and small fish and a cleaner shrimp and about 20 inverts. A few corals and 2 anemones to aid a paired spotted wild clowns.
I have had a few algae outbreaks but went through some Chem clean sessions and cleaning of most of the 80-100 lb rocks recently. All fish are still doing well (knock on wood). Thanks in advance.
Srini K
<Do use the in-place Google search tool on WWM (on every page) to gain background on the medicines mentioned, their use for lumenal issues; and write back if all is not clear. Oh, and please, re your further actions and observations. Bob Fenner>

Naso Tang not feeding... A. japonicus poisoned w/ phony med. 11/27/11
I have a 125 gallon reef tank. Water quality is within parameters. I bought this Naso Tang
<I don't see a pic of a Naso sp. anywhere. You did send along one of a very sick Acanthurus japonicus... is this what you're referring to?>
healthy along with a Hawkfish and a yellow Sailfin that is still very healthy.
<I take it these fishes were not quarantined, nor prophylactically dipped/bathed before being placed>
At the time, I had two gobies, a watchmen and a sleeper banded goby. All fish were eating well for several weeks. The Naso eventually
came down with Ich. The banded goby got Ich. The banded goby died soon after. I treated the tank with Ich attack.
<... please search, read on WWM before writing us... This is a very poor choice of treatments>
It worked very well. I saw no outward appearances of Ich for a week afterwards. Soon after the Ich cleared up on the Naso, my watchmen showed signs of distress and eventually died.
Now my Naso is not eating and is sitting in the corner of the tank. I've tried to hand feed it Nori to no avail. I've soaked in garlic. I've tried a variety of frozen foods (I have a variety pack of frozen items from my LFS.)
He doesn't touch it. He just sits there, in the corner, swimming vertically in the same spot.
This fish was a voracious eater for weeks, even during the Ich.
None of the other fish, including the tomato clown, Hawkfish, damsels, hippo, Foxface or the yellow tang seem to be in any visible sign of distress.
They are all eating well.
My corals have never looked better and the cleaner shrimp is doing well.
The only thing that seemed unusual to me was the formation of these white, tube like structures on one of my overflows. I can't seem to explain it.
They are white, about 1.5-2 cm in length, semi translucent. I've tried the best I could to photograph them.
<Can't make out what these are, but highly unlikely that they are associated w/ Crypt, other parasitic disease>
Anything suggestions you may have would be much appreciated.
<See above... quarantine, reading...>
It has been about 3 days since he last ate something and I'd hate to lose him. The fish itself is looking very gaunt, with some caudal fin damage and some scarring throughout the body, I assume from the Ich.
<Can't tell; but likely... The BGA evident is also a probable cause/influence>
I appreciate the time you guys have invested in this. On an related note, I am a web developer, and would be happy to assist you free of charge in making your site more easily updateable, indexable and searchable through a dynamic database-driven solution.
<Aye yah! Did DarrelB send you?!>
It has been an invaluable resource and I am happy to contribute my time as my way of saying thank you.
<Thank you for your offer. Bob Fenner>

Help Powder Brown 7/4.5/11
I have what I think is a powder brown tang, this guy
<Proprietary image, deleted. This is one common name applied to this, Acanthurus japonicus>
I can't seem to find a picture of mine but looks like the guy above.
<See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm and the linked files above>
I have had him for over 2 years in a 150g, he has always been fat and healthy and eats out of my hand, the boss of the tank. I had an incident recently where a timer turned my lights on at midnight until 6am when I shut them off, I only mention this because it's the only thing that changed in my tank.
The next day I noticed my pb had a white lump on his eye, <Almost certainly from a mechanical injury>
much bigger than Ich unless Ich clusters?
<Not really, no>
Anyway, he went into hiding behind a rock, pacing back and forth and not eating, I left him that way for 3 weeks and while I never saw him eat he remained healthy looking and the thing on his eye disappeared, finally I decided to pull him from the tank which was too easy, it was like he couldn't see me coming with the net. Now he has been in my QT tank for 3-4 weeks, I treated him with a low dose of Cupramine
<... Don't do this... see WWM re Acanthuroids and copper compounds>
the first week. He eats NLS pellets off the bottom of the tank which he seems to have a hard time finding, he swims up to them and then misses, also he would never eat these before in the DT. He will not touch any Nori/seaweed of any kind which was always his favourite before, his eyes now look normal. He is a bit thinner than before but still very healthy looking but still not acting himself, he won't come near my hand now and just lacks his usual friendliness. Do you have any idea what could be wrong? Have you seen the
white clump on the eye before? Thank You for the great site and knowledgeable advice.
<Read where you were referred. Bob Fenner>
Re Help Powder Brown 7/4.5/11
Thank you for your help. I should have mentioned, about 8 months ago I had a butterfly fish in this tank that also developed a clump of white on her eye, this never went away and eventually this fish died. Also, my dose of Cupramine was low, I don't think it helped or hindered.
<Any hurts, only a physiological dose helps>
I guess I will put him back in the display and hope it was an injury that has healed. I don't see anything to treat him for but still do not understand the change in appetite and behaviour, I hope he returns to himself soon.
<Me too. BobF>

Powder brown tang (Acanthurus Japonicus), hlth. 12/29/10
Hi crew.
<Hello Jase>
I have a difficult question for you guys/gals. I had my 3" pb tang in qt for over a month which I just transferred to the main display tonight. Within the month of qt I treated with Prazi pro and quinine
sulfate (separately) for sunken belly and Ich. The tang was mostly full bodied and now, a month later, you can see the bones on top of his head and spine.
<Mmm, worrying, and also common for Tangs coming out of quarantine.. one of the dangers>
Throughout this month I fed frequently with Spirulina sheets, new life spectrum, Mysis, and bloodworms soaked in a multivitamin/Selcon. Can I nurse him back to good health (appearance wise)
<Oh yes>
or is there less of a chance of that happening?
<If feeding and not being hassled, then there is a good chance>
I am just concerned that the meds damaged him
<Yes, particularly his 'gut fauna'>
but I am hoping its just from being in a small tank for such a long time with mediocre water quality. He is eating an unbelievable amount and his color is slightly faded but gets better each day. Is there hope here or is he more likely going to remain thin and slightly faded? Any suggestions /input would be of importance/appreciation.
<I would just keep doing what you are doing Jase, particularly with the NLS pellets. Make sure he is not being bullied by others. These animals can recover to full health, even from the sunken area above the eyes>
Thanks much everyone,
<No problem>
Re: re: Powder brown tang (Acanthurus Japonicus), hlth. 12/29/10

<Hello Jase>
Well this is good to hear....thank you and Happy New Year!
<And to you too! Simon;)>

Powder brown tang w/ black spots 11/4/10
Hi Crew,
<Hi Donald>
I currently have a powder brown tang that I put through QT for a month with Cupramine. It has black spots on it but I noticed that it didn't seem to affect him at all other than the fact he seems pale. No scratching, rapid breathing, or loss of appetite, so I added it to my display. I'm just curious as to what these black spots are. Is it black ich? If so, can I just leave him be because he's eating well and has put on substantial weight? I have 3 cleaner shrimp in my tank.
<This does look like it to me.. have you read here?
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paravortexfaqs.htm. You should have freshwater dipped this fish before introduction to the display, might be worth doing this now... and seeing if you can control it, otherwise it's removal to QT while your system goes fallow for a month or more I'm afraid>
Here is a picture, it's not mine but the spots are similar:
<Good picture>

Brown powder tang 3/2/10
Hi Guys,
I wanted to thank you guys for the wonderful information provided by the web page. I wanted to buy a brown powder tang and I did some research about it before the actual buy. I bought the fish and everything seemed fine. but now he seemed to have a disease or something else. Can you please help me identify? thank you in advance.
<Does look to be a protozoan infestation... You can/could discern by the behavior of the host... Read, and I mean quickly, on WWM re Cryptocaryon and Amyloodinium. This fish needs to be treated NOW to save it... Hopefully
it is alone or separated in a quarantine system. What it has is very contagious and fatal. Bob Fenner>

Re: Brown powder tang, dis. 3/3/10
yes I recently separated the fish from the main system, can you please tell me how to cure him? thank you.
<... Please read here (and now): http://wetwebmedia.com/crypttangs.htm
and the Related FAQs linked in the series, and here:

White-faced tang Hi, I recently asked you about adding a powder blue tang to my 55 gal tank. You suggested another type of fish. Well , I decided on adding a white-faced tang A. japonicus). I've had him since 1-30-00. My problem is he seems to have a small section of white fungus looking stuff on his left side below the lateral line. Also in front of his eyes are little holes, I don't recall these being here before. I set up a hospital tank and purchased some meds (Hex-a-mit active ingredient Metronidazole). Is there something better to use? I do monthly 25% H2O changes, last one 1-23. The set up is as follows: 20# live rock, H.O.T pro canister and BioWheel, Skilter filter, small power head, 2 cinnamon clowns, 1 blenny, 1 banded coral shrimp, 1 yellow tail damsel, some macroalgae. Also the Skilter filter isn't producing any scum. The last H2O test showed about 1.5 on the scale. I know there's a lot of questions here, so any suggestions would be helpful. Nicole' <<Hmm, well I wish I could see this animal close up... Don't know if I'd move and treat it... the pits may be just natural openings of the Lateral line system... and not necessarily infected... Do consider moving the fish back to the main tank and trying feeding it foods soaked in vitamin and iodine preparation (the Nori sheet algae from oriental food sections is great for this)... and maybe add a biological cleaner (like a Lysmata shrimp) to help clean up the damage on the side... likely not an infection, but a sign of mechanical injury. Bob Fenner>>

Blotchy Powder Brown Tang Bob, or anyone else who can help me. My Powder Brown Tang has started showing some skin coloration blotches along its gray body. They are not spots and no other fish seems to be affected. All readings are okay except that the alkalinity is way down less than 1.0 The fish only tank is 75 gallons with a UV sterilizer, a protein skimmer and trickle filter. The fish appears to be fine, eating, etc. but I am worried. What should I do? Thanks. Howard Cushnir <<Hmm, how long have you had this animal? What do you feed it? What temperature is your water? I would raise the temp (to low eighties) and raise the alkalinity (add a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate, yes baking soda, per ten gallons for the next few days till the alkalinity is above 3.0), and check for low oxygen tension... and/or just add a mechanical aerator (airstone, powerhead with venturi intake)... lower your specific gravity to about 1.021... This is a touchy species that requires high water quality, lots of oxygen...Bob Fenner>>

Black spot Hi, I have recently acquired a power brown tang. It's eating and swimming normally. However, yesterday I noticed it rubbing one side of its body along the substrate and today I there is a black/dark-ish spot close to its scalpel spine. Do you know what this is and what should I do to correct it? <Mmm... "this" might well be just being new as a cause... but this species is one of the more difficult to keep Surgeonfishes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm and the accompanying FAQs... on to the nutritional, environmental disease sections on the Marine Index... Bob Fenner> Thanks. Geoff

Powder brown dis. Hi, I put a small powder brown with a small purple tang they are doing fine but my powder brown have some white spots but they are like really hard to see. am I okay ??? the powder brown was 15 days in quarantine tank and now he is in a 45g reef with cleaner shrimp and a cleaner wrasse! is they ick the result of the initial stress of the fist day? will it go away? -Miguel <Oh where to start. Hopefully, you have the good Powder Brown Tang, A. japonicas. You can read more about their care and determining which you have here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm Also, your cleaner wrasse has a terrible history of dying in captivity. You can find out more about them here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm Now, what to do about your sick fish. Move back to quarantine and treat separately. You may have to quarantine the Purple Tang and allow the tank to go fallow for up to one month. -Steven Pro>

Wrong Kind of Powder-Brown Tang I tried to do everything the correct way this time around. After eight years away from marine fishkeeping, I got back into it here recently and decided this time I was going to take my time and do things properly to avoid the heartache of losing livestock. I was making good progress on your book, but I now know I should have been more conscientious! I purchased a 55 gallon, dug back up my old wet/dry, added 70 lbs of live rock, bought 4-96 watt subcompacts, a Fluval 404, a couple of powerheads, undergravel, added live rock to the wet/dry and lit it... and waited two weeks for the nitrogen cycle before I decided I'd add my first fish. I got excited and went to the retailer to see if I could find a fish I'd fall in love with. I have not yet set up a quarantine tank, so my new fish was slowly acclimated and released. Some of the retailer's water escaped into my system via a bag puncture. The new guy is what I now know to be the "bad" Powder Brown Tang nigricans. He was vigorously healthy at the retailer, eating algae like it was his job and very happy. He's about four inches in length. He's now rubbing pretty constantly on the live rock and shows tiny white spots on his body and fins. <Sounds like Marine Ich/Cryptocaryon.> I also brought home five turbo snails and two tiny blue hermit crabs that were recommended for my planned reef setup. My pH is about 8.2, nitrite 1 ppm, nitrate 20 ppm. <Both ammonia and nitrite should be zero and 20 ppm for nitrate is about as high as I like to see.> What should I do with this guy? <Do read through WWM concerning treatment of parasitic diseases and Marine Ich/Cryptocaryon.> He's eating algae still but is rubbing very frequently. What's the best treatment for him and for my tank Bob? <Educate yourself and formulate a plan of attack.> Thanks, Marc White <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Powder Brown follow-up Greetings, <<Hello to you, Marc.>> I recently wrote to describe my mistake purchase of a Powder Brown (nigricans) and the marine ich that followed. I am sad to say the lowered salinity, increased temperature and copper treatment did not work and I lost him. <<am sorry to hear of this loss. >> I am now left with a livestock-less 55g tank and don't know which direction to proceed. I now know I want to have a solid quarantine tank up and running (ahh, here's to learning the hard way). What will it take to rid the main tank of the ich? <<Let it run fallow for five to six weeks, then quarantine anything you plan to add.>> I am considering making it a q tank and starting a larger system. <<Also a possibility.>> Would I be able to use the 70 lbs of LR from the 55 in the larger system, or is my assumption correct that the LR would infect the new system? <<No worries. Live rock doesn't 'catch' parasites.>> Also, I have an undergravel filter with reverse powerheads as described in Bob's book, but I have been told by others this may cause problems with nitrates. Should I remove it? <<You could. There really isn't anything wrong with this system per se... and normal levels of nitrates can be addressed with regular water changes. Are your nitrates high? If not, I wouldn't be concerned. If you do build the larger system, you could easily forego the undergravel filter and add more live rock.>> Also, the turbo snails and blue hermit crabs almost immediately died when I introduced them to the new tank along with the nigricans. Was this likely from the nitrite at 1ppm? <<Ahh - perhaps. If you have/had any nitrite at all, then the possibility exists that your tank had not completed the nitrogen cycle. In any case, it's never wise to add many things at once to a system... much better to add one thing a month and let things settle in between.>> Thanks for your time and understanding! Warm regards, Marc White, Greenville, SC <<Cheers, J -- >>

Powder Brown Problem? Hi, <Hi there- Scott F. here today> I'm hoping you can help me diagnose what is affecting a new fish of mine. I've begun the process of carefully adding livestock now using your advice. I added a powder brown tang to my main tank about a week ago after quarantining him for two weeks. Very good, but I recommend a full 30 day quarantine procedure> He appeared very healthy up until a day or two ago. The symptoms he's showing are pale coloration on top of the head and towards the dorsal area and a more slight paleness overall. He darts about and thrashes around a bit. There are no visible spots of any kind on his exterior and I haven't really seen him scratch, so I don't think it's ich or velvet. I've tried to see if there is rapid gilling, but it's hard to tell with him. <That's somewhat encouraging. If he's eating well, that's a good sign, too.> I have a Picasso trigger in there too and he seems fine right now, but then again that fish is seemingly bullet-proof. Do you know what this might be or what else I should look for? < Well, hard to say without a picture, but it could be anything from acclimation/collection trauma, water quality or dietary issue to a disease. In the absence of poor water quality parameters (i.e.; detectible ammonia, nitrite, etc.), I'd suspect that this may be the beginnings of a more serious parasitic illness...I still would not rule out Cryptocaryon or Amyloodinium here.> And what treatment should I use? I have the QT ready to go. Is there anything I should do immediately, like a freshwater dip? Thanks so much for any help. Tim <Well, Tim- I'm inclined to recommend removing the fish to the treatment tank (I commend you on the preparation of the "hospital facility") for further observation. Yes, I do like the idea of a freshwater dip here as an initial start. If other symptoms indicative of a parasitic illness manifest, I'd begin a treatment regimen utilizing a formalin-based product. I'm a big copper sulphate fan for many fishes, but you do need to be careful with tangs and copper, as this medication can damage the fish's digestive system and cause other difficulties for the fish. If this does prove to be one of the aforementioned parasitic illnesses, I'd consider removing all of the fishes for observation and/or treatment. Meanwhile, you may want the main tank to go "fallow", without fishes for about a month, to allow the parasitic population time to "crash" for lack of hosts. Quick action is vital here...Regards, Scott F>

A Cure For The Powder Brown Blues? Scott, thanks for the reply. Well I took him out and placed him in the QT and he was just fine, no signs of irritation or anything. <Excellent! Glad to hear that!> I left him there for a few days, and in the mean time I thought maybe an old power head that I had in there that quit working might have something to do with it since it was still plugged in but had quit running properly. So I unplugged it and put him in a few days later. <I wonder if "stray voltage" or some other unusual phenomenon caused this problem? Hard to say what it was...> He seemed ok but I noticed he gets real frisky and aggressive along the glass. I think he's seeing his reflection and it's driving him nuts. <Definitely a possibility> Or maybe I'm nuts, but I don't know what else it might be. <Well, that's an entirely different matter, LOL!> He started this when I first put him in there initially, but now I he just acts kinda crazy. He zooms around and gets all twitchy and stuff. <Not a totally unusual behavior for a tang...> I tested it by turning out the overhead lights so there is no reflection on the glass and he calms down. It probably sounds strange, but I think he's just a little too high strung. <Again, not out of character for tangs..> Anyway, he seems totally healthy other than that. His coloration is beautiful as it was when I got him and he's definitely full of energy. Having so many problems with parasites in the past, I thought for sure he had something. It's good that he doesn't, because I'd be ready to pull my hair out. The tank sat fallow for 6 weeks and I'm taking a lot of precaution now. All seems to be well for now, thanks for your help. Tim <Well, Tim, even though your procedures were conservative, I think that they were the way to go...The potential risk of skipping this process is not worth it, IMO. I hope that things continue to go well for you and the fish! It was a little "touch and go" there for a while, but I'm glad to see things are looking up! Regards, Scott F.>

Acanthurus japonicus 26 Mar 2005 Hello Crew, <Hi there Brad, MacL here with you tonight.> I have been looking for a white cheek for a while now and came across on in a LFS. It was housed in a tank with another white cheek of the same size. They were having a fierce battle. Both fish were beaten up one way worse than the other. <Such a shame, those guys don't import well to begin with then to put them in a tank together is tough.> Feeling sorry for the fish I purchased the better of the two for a good discount. <Please, please please don't ever buy a fish you feel sorry for, it's always fighting a tough battle.> He was placed in my 20 gal QT tank. I then added Mela fix for 5 days and his torn fins and body gashes have healed nicely. Thursday evening I noticed a few white spots on his body, flashing, and rapid breathing out of one gill. <Stress from the fighting.> I have started treatment in the QT tank with quick cure but am confused about what is the better method of treatment. I have read in your FAQs that copper is harmful to tangs as well as formalin based meds. <They can indeed be, you need to use very low doses with them and frequent water changes after treatment.> Which is the better of the two evils to use? <Copper works faster in my experience.> 30 minutes after adding the quick cure the tang started using both gills but has resorted to one again this morning. <He might have damage to his gills, often you have to treat with a follow up antibiotic and not MelaFix to handle the results of the ich damage.> Most of the ich spots have dropped off but is breathing is still fast. Also his inner lips were reddish and are starting to return back to a white color. <Since you have already begun with the formalin I would continue with it but cut the dose. My problem with both of them is that you really need to test the amounts in the tank.> If I need to switch to copper should I put carbon in to absorb quick cure before using the copper or can I just switch. <Big huge water changes to get rid of something before you add something else. Good luck Brad.>

Powder Brown Low-Down (Tang Quarantine) 7/14/05 I have a 75gal FOWLR, and I am thinking of adding a Powder Brown (White Faced) Tang. <Just keep thinking, but please don't add this fish to your tank, unless a much larger tank is in the very near future. Your tank really is too small to support this fish for anything close to a natural life span, IMO. You need a tank that is at least 6 feet long, to provide "physical space" for the fish, as well as large water capacity to help dilute metabolic waste...> I have a 20gal hospital tank setup and I know how to perform a freshwater dip. <A good practice> Should I run copper in the hospital for the whole 21 days or just wait and see if anything pops up. <I would not use copper, or any other medicine, on a prophylactic basis.> I'm pretty sure with a Powder Brown it is going to have ich (even if I don't see it) and I don't want to kill it the copper treatment but I also don't want the ich in my main. What to do? Thanks Daryl <Well, Daryl- if you were going to get this fish, you'd be well advised to do a full 30 day quarantine, without copper or other medication. Only medicate if the fish shows signs of illness. Just make sure that you run the full 30 day quarantine. Regards, Scott F.>

White-cheek tang, Acanthurus nigricans 9/17/05 I recently got one of these from Hawaii direct. It is beautiful, very active and quite aggressive. It is 5" long. It will chase my 5" saddle grouper, 8" niger trigger, 7" Bluejaw trigger, and even make my new 12" red Coris watch it's tail. It loves dried seaweed, Nori like the site suggested, and dried brown algae. It has not eaten pellets or meat yet. I am curious about the longevity claim on the site. This fish is aggressive, more than I thought, and very healthy. Have you heard of this? <These tangs are generally aggressive toward other tangs. This should simmer down.> Could this fish still be in the die in 3 months or less category? If so, what to look for. <Dan, Acanthurus tangs are not the easiest tangs to keep. They are ich magnets so to speak. Your tank is MUCH too small to keep the sizes of fish you are keeping. Most tangs from this family are difficult to keep alive more than three months. Your stocking level alone will more than likely shorten this time.> This alone will add stress to the fish.> I have an Eheim wet/dry that sprays in 2 gallons every minute creating a ton or air in the water, and all together the water cycles 18 times an hour. I have 2 large skimmers and 2 emperor 400's also, UV, and nitrate reducer by Aquaripure that actually keeps them under 20 ppm. The tank is a 100 gallon with about 175 lbs of rockwork. <Good luck, James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Dan North.

Possible fish ick but not sure??? 2/13/06 To All: <To James today.> I have a 90gal tank setup with coral and fish. I believe I have two tangs with ick. It almost looks like small air bubbles on the skin and front side fins. It also looks like my powder tang's color maybe fading. I have two. Is this what Ick looks like?? <Sure sounds like it.> I know you recommend a tank for treating, but I don't have one setup at this time. <Should have waited till you got one, especially with purchasing a powder blue/brown tang. The quarantine tank would have been a much better investment than the powder tang.> I was going to try "Stop Parasites until I get a 2nd tank. If it doesn't cure the problem hopefully it will save the fish <How can it save the fish if it doesn't cure the problem?> until I get the 2nd tank setup. Any suggestions on this or help if this is really ick would be of great help. Oh and this tank has only been setup for about 3 months. <Tank really isn't "seasoned" enough to be adding difficult species of fish such as the powder. Only in larger and well maintained systems will you have a chance at keeping powders alive for any length of time. Any effective ich treatment is going to contain copper which cannot be used in a tank with corals. My only suggestion to you would be to ask your dealer if he has a treatment tank you could put the fish into. If not, then you will have to find a home for the corals so you can treat with a copper base medication. A copper test kit will be required to ensure effective levels without overdosing, which can be fatal to the tangs.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> J.R.

Gold Rim Tang with Blue Bumps... learning not an easy way 7/10/06 Hey guys. I have a gold rim tang and have had him for about a week. I noticed this morning that he has a few blue bumps on his face and about 6-8 blue bumps on his side. I noticed that he also has 3 white bumps on his other side. I am unsure as how to diagnose this and treat. If it was only white bumps that would be ich, but not sure about the blue bumps. He is acting normal. The other 3 fish are healthy and happy. We added some new Fiji live rock a couple days ago. I have been testing the water every 3 days. Water parameters are: salinity 1.021, <I'd raise and keep this up to NSW, 1.025...> Ammonia 0, nitrite .05 (had a small spike), <Dangerous> nitrate 5 (again tied to that small spike when I added the live rock) and ph seemed low this morning 8.1. I know the ph needs to be raised ASAP. <Uh, no> I tested the water 3 days ago and the PH was fine. Not sure what caused the drop. I read that you can dissolve a small amount of baking soda in a cup with dechlorinated water and that will raise the PH. How can I safely raise the PH? <Not with sodium bicarbonate here: Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm and the linked files above> Sorry, not to get off topic... but I did not heed your advice about a QT tank, and am setting one up as we speak. How can I help this little guy get better? <... now a treatment tank. Actually, this fish likely "came in" with either a protozoan (likely, and likely a Sporozoan of some sort) or Cercaria infestation... is "under the skin"... not able to be treated easily... except to treat the environment... That is, to optimize, stabilize the habitat, deal with through reduced stress, good nutrition... Very common for this species (Acanthurus nigricans, nee glaucopareius) to have problems. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

- Help with Ick on a Goldrim Achilles Tang - 6/14/06 I am interested in a Goldrim achilles hybrid at the local LFS but he has bad ich. They don't seem to know very much. I suggested vitamin C and algae to feed and Kick Ick but they don't know about any of it. <I don't know that the Kick Ich is a good idea.> Would I be better off to buy it and treat it myself or let them teat it. <Your choice - one of the two ways will cost you nothing.> I guess I should ask if the fish would be better off. <Too late for that...> I think I know more than them but do you have any tips as to aid in its survival. <You can try but when these tangs get sick for real, they rarely make a comeback. You'd have to have a large quarantine system with excellent water quality to even begin to turn this fish around. Odds are not in your favor.> Thanks, James G. PS. They are only asking 40 dollars so I wouldn't be out too much... <Or... you could save your $40 for the next one that comes in healthy. Cheers, J -- >

Treating a Powder Brown Tang (A. nigricans) with Crypt. 9/27/06 Hello Crew, <Mark> First let me tell you what a great service your website is to those of us who love the hobby. It is simply the most accurate source of information I've found. It has really helped me make better decisions at the LFS, separating truth from fiction. <Ah, good> I'm treating a powder brown (A. nigricans) for crypt that was in a 120 gal reef tank. The tank is located at a business and is "taken care of" by a local service. I have salt tanks at home and have seen/treated crypt before but never on such a delicate species as a powder brown. I was the first to notice the fish had a slight case and suggested to the service that they remove all the fish and treat in a separate tank. They obviously didn't QT the tang before they brought it to us. We'll they didn't listen and went to dipping and then to Kick Ich and......you know the rest. <Oh yes> Yes they put Kick-Ich in the main tank, soft corals, inverts, and all. I have nothing good to say about Kick-Ich. I fell pray to it a long time ago. It's worthless. <We are in agreement. Perhaps worse than worthless... as folks actually believe they're doing something of use> I do not have experience with this species. I've now educated myself about the powder brown on your site and realize I may not win this battle, but I have to try. I brought my 10 gal H.T. in from home and set it up in my office. I removed a small power filter I run on my 55 at home just for this purpose. The fish had a fairly severe case when the "fish service" finally cried uncle and let me try 3 weeks later. I'm at day 5 of a 14 day copper treatment (Mardel, Copper Safe) and the fish is doing very well now. I've got it eating dried seaweed, it won't take dried foods and I haven't tried frozen yet. <Very likely it won't feed till the copper treatment ceases> Spots are gone, I'm doing daily 4 gal water changes using water from my 55 gal at home in attempt to seed the tank. Copper is probably killing bacteria as quickly as I put it in. <Likely so> I am fighting ammonia; it's at a steady 0.5 ppm as long as I continue water changes, which was predictable. Nitrite is 0, which may change next week. Salinity is at 1.023. that's where I keep my tanks. I am testing for Copper and levels are where they're supposed to be. Here are my questions: Assuming I can keep this delicate fish alive through the copper treatment, should I return the fish to the main display after two weeks or try to get the 10 gal to cycle and keep the tang out of the "infested tank" for a full 30 days? <The latter... the main tank has been left sans fish hosts? Or "nuked" as in bleached?> I say "infested" because none of the other fish are showing signs of crypt. <It's there> I understand there is a potential for the fish to become infested again <Almost a surety> I just don't know if the extra time out of the tank really means anything since we didn't let the system go fallow. <A mistake> I'm conflicted between stressing the fish by keeping it in the 10 gal longer than required and potentially re-infesting it in the main tank. How much stress am I putting the tang through keeping it in such a small tank? <A bunch> I realize they like large spaces! Do you see any thing wrong with my treatment method? Thanks for a wonderful site! Mark Gustin <Mmm, nothing per se... but the "whole picture" is incomplete w/o the "treatment" of the main display... Bob Fenner>
Re: Treating a Powder Brown Tang (A. nigricans) with Crypt. 9/27/06
Bob, <Mark...> Thanks for your response. I know it's a mistake to not let the main system go fallow. I couldn't get them (the "service") to pull all the fish from the display. They won't listen to me. They're the experts you see! Since I'm not the owner of the tank I couldn't force the issue although I tried. I thought it would be better to try to get the tang healthy again than to just let it die, which was inevitable. I had to try something. <Mmm, Mark... you're on the edge of raising my blood pressure dangerously... I salute your efforts/intervention in trying to cure this fish, re/solve the overall situation, but don't give a damn re who "owns" the rights to do/not do whatever here. SomeONE must come forward and seize responsibility... I call on you to be that person, really. Am only interested in facts, not who did or did not do what here, anywhere... Show the "service company" our site... I worked in this aspect of the trade for nineteen years... > I don't have a big enough H.T. (only 10 gal) to house all of the fish in the 120 gal display or I would have. I normally use my 10 gal only as a quarantine tank. <Who owns this livestock? It will be lost, the tank remain infested if no action is taken. You understand this... make them understand it as well> I really have no choice but to put the tang back in the display (it's not my fish) and cross my fingers it doesn't get re-infested. <...> Frustrating! I know the odds are not in favor of this. Knowing that the main system will always have some level of the parasite in it, will keeping the tang out of the main system for the full 30 days decrease the chance of re-infestation? <Very marginally> This assumes none of the other fish becomes infested in the next 25 days! <They are my friend... just "sub-clinically"> One thing that the "expert" brought up was that the soft corals will help reduce the numbers of the parasite. <... no> Is this true to any extent? Nothing else this guy says has been correct so I'm not holding my breath! Maybe I'll gain a little credibility with the "service" and they'll at least entertain the concept of quarantine. <Did this myself for many years... only route to go is to provide as clean livestock as you can...> These guys make pretty good money for stocking and maintaining tanks. I'd think that they would take as many precautions as possible to keep parasites from entering systems they're responsible for. I'm dreaming... I know Thanks again. Mark Gustin <Please put them in contact with me. Bob Fenner>

Re: Treating a Powder Brown Tang (A. nigricans) with Crypt. 9/27/06 Bob, <Mark> I'll do my best. I've already forwarded your responses. Don't hold your breath. <Sometimes...> I get upset at ignorance too! The problem here is we have someone who loves the fish tank but isn't interested in learning about the creatures in it. I have to be careful here. His secretary feeds them! He can afford to have it...likes it...and can afford to pay someone to set it up and care for it. <Is this then the/an end-all rationale in the West?> When fish get sick it just becomes a decision of economics. If it costs more to treat it than to kill it and replace it...guess what the decision is? That's the attitude of the tank owner...not the service. It boils down to money because there's no respect for the creatures themselves. This tang would have ended up in the garbage can if I hadn't pulled it out! <My friend... there are many "things" contained w/in a relationship that make it "work"... concurrent goals, projects, paths... BUT most importantly values... I call on you... to testify, witness on your own behalf whether you can... in good faith... "work" with this outfit, person> I'd just take it home if I had a large enough tank to keep it. Unfortunately...I don't. I could house it for a short time in a 29 I have but my 55 is fully stocked and would not support the addition of this aggressive fish. We'll figure something out! Mark Gustin <Yes... we both will indeed. BobF> Re: Treating a Powder Brown Tang (A. nigricans) with Crypt. 9/27/06 I understand.... no this is not the prevailing rational in the west... just with some individuals. You have to pick your battles and there isn't anything that I'm going to say that's going to change him. <Just be yourself> I don't/won't work for him or with him...just in the same building. Since I love the tank I occasionally stop by to see it...and dream of someday having one like it. The Friday before Labor Day I noticed the Ich and e-mailed the owner a proper course of action...and you know the rest. <Ahhh> I may have some luck with the guy who services the tank. He is a fellow diver and obviously respects the creatures. He may never admit I was right but may react differently in the future just for me having said something to him. I don't think he's a bad guy... just misinformed about dealing with Ich, and since he's in a business relationship with the other... I've put him in an awkward position. I think he truly believes I'm going to fail at this. I may....but for now the fish is doing remarkably well. I had to teach it how to eat the dried seaweed by sticking it to the filter intake. It was picking at the tube like they do so I stuck a piece on it the tang is now eating seaweed from a clip. If he makes it thru the copper treatment I may take him home and put him in my 29 temporarily. It beats trying to make this small tank cycle and wasting all the salt changing water everyday. One last question and I'll get out you're hair...you've got better things to do I'm sure. If I do convince them to pull the other fish out...should they be treated with copper even though they show no symptoms? <Yes> You say they are infested "sub-clinically". To treat or not is the question? <Treat> It seems that I've read in the FAQ's that it would be ok to put them in quarantine and observe while the display is left fallow for 30 days. If they then develop symptoms while in QT then treat. <May not exhibit symptoms, will be carriers...> Mark Gustin <Life to you my friend. BobF> Re: Treating a Powder Brown Tang (A. nigricans) with Crypt. 9/27/06 Good news! <Always welcome> The tank owner has informed the service that he wants the fish pulled and treated...will be meeting them tomorrow to discuss the situation. <Ah, good> Looks like we did it...all is going to work out! Thanks Bob! Mark Gustin <Thank you Mark. BobF>

Powder Brown has ick... writer not reading... proof or WWM 11/1/07 Hi, I picked up a Powder Brown tang at my local FS and had him in my 20gal to QT for 30 days before putting him in my 180 with 250 pounds of live rock. It's been running for 4 months. A week after we got him we notices spots of ick, so we moved him to a 10 gal. <... Am a bit lost here... the fish was quarantined for a month, THEN moved, THEN caught and placed in a treatment tank? Your main system is now infested> QT and started Red SEA non-chelated copper. <Not my choice...> The test says to keep it at 0.3 ppm for ten days but everything I am reading says to treat for 2 weeks. Is ten days long enough? <Mmm, possibly, though I would run chelated copper, if using it/this, and complete the two-week treatment regimen> The test kit is very hard to read. Is there a good test kit that is easy to read, like maybe a stick test you hold up to the chart? <There are better test kits... Again, covered on WWM...> The tang seems to be doing good except he's not eating much. I've been trying to feed him seaweed salad and vitamin soaked brine shrimp. It is now day 3 in his treatment. I also had a Green Mandarin Goby in the 20 gal. with him. I've been keeping him in the 20 gal. with 20 pounds of live rock and feeding him baby brine shrimp that I hatch, so I can get a good stock of food in the 180 for him. The mandarin hasn't shown any signs of ick yet. I've heard that they aren't susceptible to ick. Is this true? <Not as susceptible, but can/do "get"> Do you think I have enough food in my 180 to move him? Of course I would wait at least 30 days now that he has been exposed to ick. Thanks in advance. <Again... am not following you closely enough... I suspect you should read on WWM re these issues: Crypt, Copper Use, Mandarin care... And write back with sensible information and questions. Bob Fenner>

Loss of powder brown tang 12/26/07 Hello, First off I want to thank you for putting together such an informative site. I have a 125 gallon tank with an attached 30 gallon refugium and a 20 gallon sump. I have about 175 lbs of LR throughout. DSBs are utilized in the display tank and refugium. Specific gravity kept at 1.024 <I would raise a bit.> and temperature at 75 degrees. Inhabitants included: 1 Powder Brown Tang, 1 Tiger Wardii Goby, 1 Orange Spotted Goby, 1 Crocea Clam, 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, & 1 Peppermint Shrimp. My heater stopped operating yesterday and being that it was Christmas, I was not able to purchase another. <Yikes, a back up unit next time?> It was cold last night for Arizona standards and the temperature in the tank must have dropped into the sixties. I woke this morning and found the tang dead. I checked the water parameters and everything checked out fine. Do you think it was the drop in temp that killed him? <Sounds likely.> I added the clam a few days ago and it has periodically excreted something from its spout, but I was leaning more towards the temp drop. Also I was wondering, I have two 6 ft blue actinic bulbs running off an Ice Cap 660 ballast. Do you think this will be sufficient lighting for a Crocea clam if I place it near the top of the tank? <No, not enough light and wrong spectrum.> Would it make a difference if I replaced one of the bulbs with a 50/50 daylight bulb? <Very little, you simply will need more light for the clam. Read more on their needs, start here and related FAQ's http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/Clam_care/Clam_care.htm Thank you for your time <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Need Help - Tang sick Jun 22, 2008 6/23/08 Attached is photo of powdered brown tang, <For clarification, an Acanthurus japonicus... nee nigricans/glaucopareius> young, have had him 4 months, very active, eating well, were gone to Coral Conference and came home to find him, lethargic last night, today he is on the bottom, breathing hard, we have him in 10 gal. isolation tank with pump, heater, and treated the isolation tank with Melafix. <... Worse than worthless IMO> He has darkened area internal towards top front of his body. Lost a Chromis last week that had darkening internal as if bleeding inside. Should we do a freshwater dip, or antibiotics? <Mmmm> Please advise, we call this morning and a technician is supposed to be calling us back but has not yet. Our no. is XXXX, Keith and Lisa XXXX. We have another Chromis inside the rocks that has left the school. <Good descriptions, bad behaviors> We think maybe the Chromis brought in disease as the water parameters have been zero for months, we just retested ammonia and N2 both zero, PH is 8.2 as usual, temp is 78, we do 10% water changes every week. We did have a break out of red slime <Uhhh> and tremendous brown/green hair algae in the past week, also noticed a foul smell a few days ago, cleaned all filters and it went away. Recently added alot <No such word> of snails and hermits. <Something is amiss with the environment here... that needs identifying and addressing. The BGA could be a cause/effect... I would do a MASSIVE water change, return the Tang to the main system (the small confines, tea juice will likely kill it), keep a good quantity of pre-made/stored water on hand... And read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm Bob Fenner>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

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