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FAQs about the Powder Brown and White Cheek Tangs 1

Related Articles: Powder Brown Surgeonfishes, Genus AcanthurusNaso

Related FAQs: 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 Disease, Powder Brown Tangs Reproduction, AcanthurusAcanthurus Tangs 2Acanthurus 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
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

A. japonicus (the good brown tang) behavior in new system <Yes, AdamJ is back!> 1/7/10
Hello Crew,
<<Hello Carrie, Adam Jackson with you this evening??
I have been doing research on A. japonicus, and finally made the purchase a few weeks ago. I requested my LFS order a 3-inch, A. japonicus and had them hold it until he began taking frozen shrimp and Nori.
<<A good practice and everyone else reading this take a note A. japonicus is the much hardier cousin of Acanthurus nigricans the other powder brown tang. Do avoid the latter.>>
After I verified they received the correct species, and that he was eating, I brought him home. I did a freshwater dip instead of quarantine based on what I read on WWM about stressing the fish due to smaller tanks and a lack of grazing rock.
<<I understand why some aquarists recommend this practice, I know I've seen quite a few regular WWM guys (Adam B to name one) who are proponents of the method you used, especially with surgeons. While I understand where they are coming from; Acanthuridae are notoriously sensitive, especially when it comes to nutrition., its not my personal method. If the fish is otherwise in good health and already eating, I prefer at least an abbreviated quarantine process once the animal is brought home. I've always held the philosophy that my current tank inhabitants are my first responsibility, and I like to reduce the probability that I will cause harm to their health. Again its a personal thing, whats done is done, don't stress.>>
I have two questions that I didn't know to research, and now I cannot find the answers.
When he was introduced to the tank, he swam full speed, non-stop. He would dart in and out of rocks around the tank. Now a few days later, he spends most of his time in a single cave. He will come out of the cave and swim for a few minutes and go back. He is eating and grazing normally. Which swimming behavior is normal? I assume the first was the stress of not having a territory, but I want to be sure that there is not a greater problem. I was unable to find any information about the swimming behavior of the white cheek in captivity.
<<Acanthuridae come from varying social structures, so their personal range and behavior varies because of that. Your fish has undoubtedly had its social structure changed multiple times recently and thus each time it will need time to adjust. This sounds like normal social behavior for a new acquisition. As long as his breathing appears normal and the animal is still accepting sustenance, I would not worry yet. I would just keep observing and be patient for now.>>
The other question has to do with him and MH lighting. Could he be in the cave due to having MH lighting? I currently have a 2 X 175 Hamilton fixture. If that is too much light, would more caves and tunnels benefit him? The research I did on these fish stated they were in full sun, and some caves were necessary, but nothing tells you how much. I currently have three caves in my aquarium. One is the territory of a Fusi Gobi (I will put in a plug for my favorite under- utilized fish, brimming with personality, and slightly OCD about his housecleaning.) but the other two are his for the claiming.
<<The average depth range for A. Japonicus is 0-20 meters with most being found in the 5-15 m range. I can assure you the lumen readings on a reef at that range far outweigh the output of your Metal Halide system. Keep in mind that over the last few weeks/months your animal has been passed between collectors, holding tanks, wholesalers and retailers. Typically in commercial outlets fish are separated from photosynthetic organisms and for economical issues housed under dim lights. Your animal simply need to readjust, just give him time.>>
Thank you for your advise,
<<Anytime, if you need any clarification please let me know.>>
<<Adam J.hoping he didn't come off too rusty>>

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>

Finicky Tang Advice... Powder Brown?  2-12-08 Hello all! <Mr. Spud, err, Dan> This past Wednesday (five days ago now) I received from an online aquarium store an order of a Powder Brown Tang (A. japonicus) <Mmm... maybe... you sure this isn't a Acanthurus nigricans? Much more common, and hard to keep> and a Royal Gramma. Both are absolutely beautiful specimens - absolutely no signs of any disease, incredible coloring, very active. I've got to say that I've never seen better looking fish for sale anywhere. <... I do hope your system is large, has been up and running for several months...> Now, the distressing part. I haven't seen the Tang eat anything yet. It's not showing signs of starvation yet, but I'm worried that it's just around the corner. Thus far, I have tried frozen Spirulina brine, frozen omega brine, frozen Cyclop-Eeze, frozen mysis, live brine, Nori (both the kind sold at fish stores and the plain seaweed for sushi) tried both from a feeding clip as well as rubber banded at the base of the q-tank, frozen herbivore preparation, freeze-dried Cyclop-Eeze, Formula 2 pellets and Spectrum Thera+ pellets. I've tried most all of these items both with and without garlic. I'm thinking I should maybe consider trying some Selcon, <A good idea, useful appetite stimulant... can be added directly to the water, or the foods soaked...> but, other than that, I'm at a loss as to what to give this fish. I know that tangs can be susceptible to mouth damage in shipping, but, this guy looks so darn healthy I'm hoping against hope that he's just a finicky eater. Do you have any other suggestions for things that I may want to try feeding? Thanks in advance! Dan <Let's go back a bit... have you check the species here: http://wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm and the linked files above... Particularly re Feeding... This fish is very new... may be "chewing" on your live rock... taking a while to acclimate here. Bob Fenner> Re: Finicky Tang Advice, Acanthurus japonicus   2/13/08 Hi Bob - Thanks for the quick response! <Welcome Dan> I did thoroughly read the pages on this species before selecting it for my tank (that's why I was so particular about the A. japonicus).? According to the pages, it is definitely Acanthurus japonicus.? It has the red stripe on the dorsal fin that, as I understand it, is missing in A. nigricans. <Thank you for this> My main tank is 125G with a 30G sump and a 10G fuge, so I'm thinking that its size should be okay over the long haul, and the tank is about a year old now. <Yes... should be fine to ideal> Unfortunately, though, my quarantine tank is only 30G, so he's in tight quarters for the short-haul, but he's still pretty small (appx. 4" nose to tail). <About the perfect size as well> I'll buy some Selcon tonight and see if I can find some other frozen herbivore preparations. I'm also going to try the other brand of Spectrum pellets that I've seen referred to. <Real good... the Thera is the same... plus garlic...> Beyond that, I'm not sure where to go next. <Mmm, really... be patient... There is a very good possibility this specimen will settle in...> I suppose that as long as I'm not seeing outlines of his ribs, he's probably getting nutrition from somewhere......? <Yes, very likely the rock...> there's no rock in the quarantine tank though, it's bare bottom with only some PVC connectors to give hiding places, etc. <Oh! I would summarily move this fish to the main display...> There don't appear to be any injuries to the mouth and it is a CLEAN looking fish. Thanks again - Dan <To reiterate for emphasis; I would move this fish now... There is a very small chance of trouble, and much to be gained by going forward here. Bob Fenner>

Fish Compatibility/Choices…Bully Gold-Rim Tang – 01/03/08 Hello, <<Howdy>> I wrote around 4 months ago and got some great advice. <<I’m glad you are pleased>> I need your help again. <<Okay>> I copied our last correspondence to get you caught up (see below): <<Great! Thank you for this>> ============================================== Long term with this Butterfly fish which species makes sense to introduce next: Trigger, Angel (love the Regal, but my LFS says absolutely NO), Puffer, Hawkfish, Wrasse, Tang (love the Powder Blue but hear it is hard to keep). Suggestions? <<Hmm, were this me maybe a Christmas Wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissimus or another Halichoeres species assuming a suitably deep and fine substrate is available), a Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus), a Gold-Rimmed Tang (Acanthurus japonicus)? and not to be confused with the much less aquarium hardy Acanthurus nigricans), and finally, a Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus, or one of the other Rhinecanthus species)? introduced in the order listed and leaving the Angel and the Puffer to a larger system elsewhere>> Thank you again for your continued advice, Scott B. <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>> ================================================ <<Ah yes…I do recall this exchange>> I still have the Auriga butterfly (very healthy thank you!), Gold-Rimmed tang and Picasso. All are doing good. I tried introducing a Christmas Wrasse into the tank (120 Gal), but he was bullied by the tang to the point of near death (my LFS was happy to take him back and nurse him back to health). <<Mmm, strange… Ideally the wrasse would have been introduced first, but even so, I am surprised the tang would show so much interest towards the wrasse… Another example of the “individuality” of fishes I suppose>> The three fish are living together well, but I still want other fish. Do you have any suggestions of another family of fish to add? <<A small group of Anthiines would provide some color/interest and “shouldn’t” incur the wrath of the tang… One of the hardier species preferably…Bartlett’s Anthias (Pseudanthias bartlettorum) or the Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis). I’m thinking a group of five of the smaller Bartlett or three of the larger Lyretail. You might also consider one of the “dwarf” angels (Centropyge spp.). My all-time fave is C. loricula, the Flame Angel. But rather than me trying to guess what you might like…have a look around at what you think you might want…research their compatibility, environmental requirements, etc….and write back to me with your shortlist of choices and we’ll go from there if you like>> Thanks in advance, Scott B. <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: Fish Compatibility/Choices…Bully Gold-Rim Tang ? 01/04/08 Eric, <<Hello Scott>> Thanks again for your guidance. <<Always welcome>> I was happy to see you recommend C. loricula, the Flame Angel! <<A gorgeous and hardly little fish>> I initially wanted an angel of some sort in my mix, however, did not think the dwarfs were a good choice. <<Under the right circumstances, many are excellent aquarium inhabitants>> For some reason I thought they had a high mortality rate. <<There are some that are more sensitive/delicate than others (e.g. – C. bicolor), but most will fare well if they make it through the stress of capture and transport…and will feed>> The Flame will fit right into the feed style of the tank (Mysid, Brine, Glass worms, & algae clips). <<Ah yes…and ample live rock on which to “browse”>> I do like the color of the Bartlett's Anthias as well; I also like the Bicolor as well. As long as the Bartlett’s do not get unduly hassled they are nearly bulletproof…the Bicolor is another matter as mentioned…and not a good choice to mix with the Flame>> However, after researching a bit, I think the next logical choice is the Flame Angel. <<Excellent>> The Bartlett worries me because my Pocket Expert Guide (Scott Michael) states this fish will acclimate well to captivity so long as there are no aggressive or highly competitive fishes. <<Agreed, on the “aggressive” part if the aggression manifests as chasing/continuous harassment…but as far as the “competitive” issue is concerned, the little fishes can scrap for food with the best of them. I have five tangs and two always hungry Rabbitfish in my 375, and my Bartlett’s always manage to get their “fair share”> At this point, I consider my Gold-Rimmed Tang (aka Charlie the brute) aggressive so maybe not a good choice. <<Like I eluded before… Unless this tang is displaying abnormal social aggression, it should hardly “notice” the Anthiines>> If my next fish is the Flame, are there any acclimation tips/tricks, considering the potential hostile environment? <<I am still a fan of the old “float 'em” technique. Though no guarantee, if the tang is pre-disposed to harassing the angel it should show interest at the site of it in the bag>> I heard I could keep the Gold-Rimmed busy with a picture of his likeness on the tank. <<Or a mirror>> I also heard that introducing two fish at the same time would minimize the hostility. <<If the tang is this much of a problem with any species introduced…I would get rid of/replace the tang (yeah…easier said than done)>> Thanks again, Scott B. <<Cheers mate! EricR>>

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.>

Adding More Fish...Yikes    11/14/07 I have a 72 bow front. I have a Blue Tang, Powder Brown Tang, and a Maroon Clown in there right now. What other fish would you suggest to put in there? <None, I don't know how large the tangs are, but both of these fish will require a larger system than you have, especially the Powder Brown Tang.> All three of them are doing very well. They never fight and they always swim together. They have been together for about 8 months. <Good to hear the Powder Brown has been around that long. Not an easy fish to keep.> I'm trying my luck at polyps. I want to add one more fish that will not eat the polyps and get along with my Powder Brown. I had a Yellow Tang in my other tank, which I tried to put in my 72. The Powder Brown attacked him <Normal behavior for this fish.> so I put the yellow back in my 46g. <Too small a tank for this fish.> This is what my system has. One hundred pounds of live rock, protein skimmer, 220w VHO (switching to 4x54w T5),150g wet/dry, 18w UV light. I check my tank every week and all levels are good. I also have 15 hermit crabs, 2 green crabs, and 4 sand snails. <Bill, I would not add anymore fish, especially with the Blue Tang and Powder Brown in there. You need to seriously think of going to a larger tank the maintain the luck you now have with the Powder Brown Tang. Do read here and linked files above for more information. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Mail... sys.   11/14/07 Bob, <James> I answered a query regarding adding more fish. I directed the querier to this link. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm In reading this, under "Display", you said a minimum of a 50 gallon tank is required. Kind of small for one of these guys, isn't it? Maybe it should be worded as to the size of the tang going into the 50. Regards, James <Will post your note. Much of WWM is "olde"... this piece likely more than 15 years. Cheers, 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>

Acanthurus japonicus...Opinions On Minimum Tank Size – 09/19/07 Hello crew, <<Howdy Joe>> I just had a few quick questions regarding the white-faced tang. <<Ah yes, two species commonly labeled such...Acanthurus japonicus and Acanthurus nigricans...the former is a very suitable aquarium fish...the latter not so much>> On your website you state the minimum size tank it should be housed in as being 50 gallons. <<A bit too small in “my” opinion>> ReefCentral.com states the minimum size should be 75 gallons. <<Hmm...>> Live Aquaria says 125 gallons. <<Bigger “is” better>> Marine Depot says the minimum size is 100 gallons. <<This is probably the “ideal” minimum size tank for this fish>> Right now I have a 75 gallon tank with about 90 pounds of live rock (I want to get about 20 more pounds). <<Why? Where will the fish swim?>> I have a 29 gallon sump with a third of it being a refugium with a huge ball of Chaetomorpha. <<Excellent>> The current residents to my tank are two Amphiprion ocellaris clownfish, one mandarin dragonet, one flame angel, and one Firefish. There are two emerald Mithrax crabs and two hermit crabs. There are also a bunch of assorted snails. I would like to get A. japonicus but am not sure if my system could handle it. Do you think that it could? <<Mmm...maybe. Though similar in size to Zebrasoma flavescens (Yellow Tang), Acanthurus japonicus is a bit more active/requires more space...in my experience/opinion. If you limit stocking and are willing to minimize the rock and provide ample swimming room in the display (while still providing hiding places/night shelter for the fishes) then this fish may do fine. The extra rock could be utilized in a separate vessel/dedicated refugium with DSB to the increased benefit of the system>> Also, if I could get it, do you believe that a 29 gallon quarantine tank would be okay for the full month time (with frequent water changes of course)? <<Would be fine...do be sure to add some short lengths of suitable sized PVC pipe to give the fish a place to hide/make it more comfortable>> I plan to upgrade to a 180 gallon tank in a couple years, but that is not a guarantee that it will happen. <<Indeed, many such plans never come to fruition>> I'm guessing that if I was to get the tang that it would be the last fish in my current system? <<Yes>> As always, your help is greatly appreciated! Joe <<Happy to share my opinion. EricR>>

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>

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 -- >

Goldrim Tang question what?   3/27/06 Bob,  <James today.  Bob is in Hawaii chomping at the bit to get home.> How are you? Love the site. <Thank you.> Wanted to ask a question about tangs.......I was wondering about the durability of the Goldrim tang. Is it better than the Achilles Tang? <I would say yes.> I tried two of the achilles tangs and they both got Ich and died. <Acclimation/quarantine?>  In you articles you say they are more durable than most of the tangs in this family. Also, would a Sohal tang be a better fit. I know you feel that these fish are very hardy. <Hardy for a fish in this family.  Cannot compare to damsel hardiness for sure.>  My tank is only 100 gallons and I have a yellow and purple tang. When I did have the Achilles tang, all three got along fine. I would love an experts advise.  <I wouldn't add another tang in your 100.  The tangs you have will get quite large and three will be a crowd.> Thanks,  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>      Jeromy

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. 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. 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.>

Tang ID. Picture attached of Tang in question. Was sold to me as a Lipstick tang "Naso lituratus", I'm thinking that I may be fortunate that it is more to the name of a A. japonicus, but it doesn't have the white "cheek" marking as described, The rest of the coloring doesn't look like it would be the a. nigricans either. Attached is a couple pics of it, since its color does vary a bit in the body. Mainly, seems when it gets startled, also, aprox. 3.5-4".  <You are correct... this is not a Naso sp. tang. IT IS either A. japonicus or A. nigricans. Both of these fish are commonly referred to as "powder brown" or "gold rim" tangs. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm  A. Japonicus is the far better aquarium fish, and I suspect that is what you have. To verify, look also for the characteristic yellow tail bar of A. nigricans. Hybrids are thought to occur between these fish and A. Leucosternon (powder blue), and it is possible that this is one of those or just an unusual morph. These fish often display unnatural looking colors under stress, so a positive ID may only be possible if the fish reaches peak health.> Please disregard the algae spots, that at least seems to be going away, as last week it was pretty much sheet, instead of spots. Midnight sleeper goby and Red Sailfin Blenny seem to have been working overtime. Additional tankmates: Firefish goby, pair of cleaner shrimp, yellow tail damsel, and false percula clown. Temp 76, Salinity 1.023, ph 8.3, alk 325, ammonia 0,nitrite 0, nitrate 20 and falling, was 40 a week ago. Would be appreciated if you could id this tang for me. Hoping it is more suited for the 48"L tank, it is eating anything from Frozen Brine, Zooplankton, Marine flakes, and devours seaweed salad.  <Your tank mates sound fine, and this tang should help clear up any algae problems. Any 48" tank will be too small for this fish. It may do OK for a few months, but it will soon out grow it. These fish appreciate strong water movement (at least 15x tank volume) for both high oxygen saturation and the swimming stimulation. I am not sure about the ppm scale for alkalinity, so please consult your kit instructions and maintain it in the high end of the normal range. Also, I would avoid significant amounts of brine in any fishes diet. Ocean nutrition frozen "pygmy angel formula" is one of my favorite tang foods for it's high marine algae content. Lastly... I hope that this fish was quarantined. All tangs are high Ick risks and often take tankmates with them when they cause an outbreak. Best Regards. AdamC.><<Is japonicus. RMF>>

Acanthurus japonicus system Resending with original as requested.  Granted the A. japonicus may not be well suited for 55 gallon 48" long. Will a 120 gallon that is 48" long still be too small? <Should work out about right. Bob Fenner> 

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.>

White- faced tang attacks Hi everyone, I have a quick question regarding my white- faced tang, Acanthurus japonicus. I have had my 72 gal tank setup for well over a year now. I have about 90 lbs. of Tonga branch rock, a remora pro skimmer, a HOB refugium, and all water param.s test fine. Up until about a week ago, the only inhabitant of the tank was a bird wrasse. She/he was doing fine. I initially bought the wrasse as a she, blackbird, and it seems that she is attempting to turn into a male specimen. Now she is about half the color of a female with blue and green fins. <Neat> Some days she is more blue than others. She has been like this for about 3 or 4 months. Last week I received two additional fish to add to my tank, a Lemonpeel Angel and a Powder Brown Tang Acanthurus japonicus. Everything was going fine when I initially put the fish in. I noticed that the tang had a slight scratch on his side a few days later, which I assumed was from accidentally running into a rock while exploring my tank. When I woke up this morning I found the tang following my Bird Wrasse around, which I thought was cute. I was wrong. I quickly noticed that the tang would get along side the wrasse and attack him/her with his spurs. After a few times of doing this the wrasse would nip back, which accounts for the scratches on the tang. The tang is acting very aggressive to my wrasse, chasing him/her all around. I have not read about this sort of behavior, considering that the wrasse has been in the tank for over a year and is twice the size of the tang. The tang is about 3-4 inches and the wrasse is about 7-8 inches. Do you have any suggestions as to what is going on with these two inhabitants? <Testing each other out> The Lemonpeel angel is doing fine, neither fish is bothering him. <Too small, fast to dive into the rock work> Do you have any solutions to this problem? I would like to curb this aggression as soon as possible. Thank you for all the help your site has given me. <The easiest (wait till you try and catch it...) approach is to separate the tang... in a floating plastic colander (pasta strainer) for a few to several days in the tank... this will likely "calm it down". Adding other fishes will also serve to distribute/dissipate aggression. Bob Fenner>

Discrepancy between WWM and Michael's Marine Fishes book Dear Bob, <Timon> On http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm you have a picture of Acanthurus japonicus and A. glaucopareius (nigricans). You state that japonicus is the "white face tang" and hardy and that nigricans is the "powder brown tang" and not hardy at all. <Yes> In the book "Marine Fishes, 500+ essential to know aquarium species", Scott Michael calls the japonicus the "powder brown" and the nigricans the "white cheek" and states that the japonicus has a poor survival record and that the nigricans is the hardier choice. Clearly one of you has them confused, and both of you have me confused :) <I have addressed this query before. The fish in Scott's work I believe is switched. The "Cat" Tang, aka Powder Brown, Acanthurus nigricans (formerly glaucopareius) does indeed have a dismal survival history in aquarium use, and is indeed called the Whitecheek Tang by science... and A. japonicus the Japanese Tang, but the Whitecheek to the petfish interest... sigh> Having recently acquired the japonicus I would really like to find out if it's the japonicus or nigricans that has a good survival record. Kind regards Timon Haringa   <The two species are distinct... easily discerned. Bob Fenner, who encourages you to look at these species on fishbase.org>

Re: Discrepancy between WWM and Marine Fishes book Hi Bob, <Timon> In that case I am glad I made the right purchasing decision. <Me too> I purchased only one out of fear for aggression but would really like to have more of this stunning species. Is there any chance of two or three living peacefully in a 400 gallon reef tank or would that just be plain stupid? <In this size system more than one should be fine.> Thanks Timon <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

PB Tang Hello Bob? <Hello>   Could you please answer an important question for me? <Will try> I just purchased a true powder brown tang (Acanthurus japonicus) <Mmm, actually... A. nigricans is "the" powder brown... please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm> and he is in my 65g FOWLR with 65lbs of live rock, a dwarf angel, percula clown, 2 Chromis, fairy wrasse and a bunch of hermit crabs and few snails.  My powder brown is almost 5 inches and is VERY healthy with good coloring.  He constantly changes colors.   Meaning, his body which is sometimes deep chocolate brown, changes to real light, almost sheer brown, is this normal? <Yes... to some extent... should be darker most of the time however>   What is the reason for this happening. <Perhaps adaptive coloration (Mullerian mimicry), camouflage... maybe a form of communication ("stay away from me, I'm upset, sick as in not good to eat")...> I just put the tang in my tank four days ago, so he is still getting acclimated.  Is my tank big enough for him? <Not really... should be much larger, at least twice this size>   I would like to know ASAP if I should remove him from my tank and give him back to the pet store so I don't harm this animal and he doesn't get too stressed.  Thank you so much!!! Mike <Do you have plans for a larger tank... soon? This is a good to better species of surgeonfish for aquarium use... but does need larger quarters. Bob Fenner>

White Cheek Tang II     Hello, I have a question for you regarding a powder brown tang (Acanthurus japonicus).  I have a fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis) who has been in my tank for three months and the powder brown tang I just put in two days ago constantly chases him and beats him up.  Do you know what the reason could be for this, considering that the tang has NO established territory and was put in the tank way after the wrasse?  Everywhere I have researched before I purchased this tang mentioned nothing about it being aggressive if being the last fish introduced to the tank. <Hmmm, that's not entirely true.  Virtually all of the Acanthurus spp. surgeonfish can be aggressive to other like bodied fish.  It is very odd that it's choosing to pester the fairy wrasse though.  How big is your tank?> de to add another fish in the tank, is he going to be aggressive with them? <Probably.  Sometimes a territorial fight will just settle down after a few days/week, sometimes not, sometimes they get worse.>  The wrasse is the only fish out of 7 that the tang bothers.  Also, on your WetWebMedia web site, you state that the (Chaetodon Collare) butterfly fish is a tough fish......"in general."  Does the "in general" mean that some live and some don't? <I'm not personally very familiar with this fish, but this is the general consensus, yes.>   Or does it mean that most live in captivity and they're easy to keep?  I would just like to have your brief opinion on this before I spend the money for it? Thanks a lot, Brett <Hope this helps, Matt>

White Cheek Tang III Thank you Matt.  My tank is 65g FOWLR with 70 lbs. of live rock.  Is my tank big enough to accommodate this tang (Acanthurus japonicus)? <Not really> If not, what is the maximum size this fish can grow until I have to move him to a larger tank?   <Is psychologically stressed at any size> He is also changing color VERY often, he's lighter brown far more than he is darker brown? <Not a good thing> Could this be happening because my tank isn't big enough (keeping in mind he's only been in my tank for four days so far)? <Yes, a contributing factor> What color is this tang's natural color, the darker brown or the lighter brown? <Darker> Thanks so much, Brett <Bob Fenner>

Ongoing A. japonicus review Thank you Matt.  My tank is 65g FOWLR with 70 lbs. of live rock.  Is my tank big enough to accommodate this tang (Acanthurus japonicus)? <Not in my opinion, at least not when full grown.  This would also explain the aggression between the tang and the wrasse.>   If not, what is the maximum size this fish can grow until I have to move him to a larger tank? <Hmmm, good question.  I would err on the side of caution here.  But it sounds like he (or the wrasse) might need to be moved soon if things don't change.>  He is also changing color VERY often, he's lighter brown far more than he is darker brown?  Could this be happening because my tank isn't big enough (keeping in mind he's only been in my tank for four days so far)?  What color is this tang's natural color, the darker brown or the lighter brown? <Surgeonfish (and lots of others) will change colors in response to light, mood, feeding, all sorts of things.  It's hard to say why it's doing it.  Your best bet to see the 'natural' color is to look at some online pics, or you could attach us a pic if you can.> Thanks so much, Brett <No prob!  Glad to help, Matt.>

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.>

- Tang Switcheroo - Hey guys, I recently bought a A. japonicus from Marine Depot. Well it turns out they sent me A. nigricans  because mine has only the little white mark under the eye and no orange on the tail. My question is since the one they sent me is much harder to keep what can I do to ensure its health? <Well... I'd go as far as either shipping it back or refusing payment... this type of livestock switch while possibly just human error, is not in your best interest.> It has been eating a lot of algae from my live rock but I am having trouble getting it to eat anything else. I have tried Mysis shrimp, brine, and chopped krill. It has ignored the first two and just kept spitting out the krill. What else can I try?? <I'd stick with the algae for now... you can get it in sheets - Nori, for rolling Sushi, etc. - is an excellent choice.> One weird thing I noticed is when I go near the tank it will come up, look at me and swim near the glass, but when I put food in the tank it turns almost white with black stripes and races from one side of the tank to the other!! What does this mean?? <The color change is just a fright pattern - most fish take a couple of weeks to get used to their new surrounds. No worries.> Thanks for all your help! Derrick <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Acanthurus Nigricans vs. Japonicus Dear Bob, as said in one of previous emails, I have bought your book and it is always a very good advice when I have to look for something. Your site and your book has been for me the reason that I stayed and did not leave the hobby of seawater aquarium. I really thank you for this, you and the crew, who have been really helpful. Now, back to action: In your book you state very clearly that we want the Acanthurus Japonicus (White Faced Tang) and not the A. nigricans (Powder Brown Tang) and you give all the reasons why this is so. Lately I read the book "Marine fishes" written by Scott W. Michael. In his book he names the Japonicus as "Powder Brown Surgeonfish" and the A. nigricans as the "Whitecheek Surgeonfish", which is the opposite denomination. He also writes that the A. nigricans is "similar but more durable than its close relative A. japonicus". Do you think this a typing mistake or there are really controversial opinions about these two fishes? <The common name issue is one mainly of Scott's (we're friends) predilection for using scientific common names (the names folks in the sciences typically use) versus my use of common common names (ones generally agreed upon by aquarium hobbyists). The survivability issue is likely one of mistaken identity, but perhaps Scott's experiences vastly differ from mine> I am really interested in this because I really like a lot A. japonicus and I am considering it to be my next purchase. By the way, it is possible that he fights with my Blue Tang, who lives already 1 year in my tank? <To some extent yes. Should be okay if the newcomer is smaller by an inch or more and the tank is more than one hundred gallons. Bob Fenner, just back from Hawai'i> Thanks, Thanassis from Greece

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 -- >>

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 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>

Japonicus tang, trouble maker Dear Bob, Our japonicus-Goldrim tang keeps nipping at our Goniopora, will it be the same with all other japonicus as we are thinking of exchange him for a smaller one? (if I manage to catch him) any tips on how to catch a large tank in this reef system? I've sent you pic of our tank, have we placed many things in the wrong spot? thanks for all your precious help. <You might have luck training all your tangs to come to the surface to a "veggie clip" of irresistible human-intended dried algae (like a strip of Nori)... leaving a plastic covered net in place all the while... till they ignored its presence (over a few days time usually)... catching the offendi, by driving it with another net, uplifting the "permanent one" under it> My favorite little fishy hiding in the Acropora, he is really small and was extremely thin when we got him, but with several daily feedings with a syringe, he's just as healthy looking as the others and already very territorial. I have never quarantined any of my fish and I'm amazed that all tangs get on so well, though the "Goldrim and Achilles seem to enjoy the usual catch tail-in a circle-dance every now and then. We've had the Achilles for a record breaking 6 months, it must be due to our new large set up. We did lose a couple in our smaller system, ARGHHH when ich attacks! ALL THE BEST! Stef. <Thank you for sharing. 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

Tangs ok, I'm not trying to compare your book to Scott Michael's Marine Fishes (or your knowledge to his) but, you always say that A. japonicus is hardier than A. nigricans and he switches the two, is this some mistake or is it just a difference of opinion ( of course this assumes that you have spoken to each other and that you know about his views on these two fish, which are probably not the case... ) Curiously yours, Yaron Aronowicz <<Geez, don't know... I would ask Scotter... as well. His works are very careful... and there are MANY differences of opinion in our huge fields here...  But on this specific, I do consider (okay my confidence limits are high enough), know the White Cheek, Acanthurus japonicus to outlive (historically... not one hobbyist with limited experience, but thousands of specimens...) the Powder Brown, A. nigricans (formerly glaucopareius)... by a HUGE margin...  Bob Fenner>>

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>>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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