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FAQs about Purple Tang Diseases/Health

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Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Please help me ID this as i have been through hell with my Purple tang     1/3/17
Hi guys,
I am sorry to send you an email but i am at my wits end i have a purple tang (Zebrasoma) and he is covered in these white blotches..
<Mmm; see something...>

See attached pictures, i treated for ich with copper and nothing changed despite his tank mate (a PBT) being completely cleared of his spots this made me question whether it was ich, i then kept him in hypo for 8 weeks and got no improvement, so this in my mind is not velvet or Ich, i then treated with malachite green as i thought this was bacterial still no joy, Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated, would kill to chat to Bob Fenner personally! My system is 110gal.
Thanks so much in advance!
Kind regards
Nick Richardson
Stressed Tang Owner
<Well; can't tell from looking without sampling, viewing under a microscope... whether this is anything parasitic or not. Might well be just stress marking/s. Need to know data re the history of water quality, nutrition... Let's have you read here fro more background: http://wetwebmedia.com/purptgdisfaqs.htm
DO send along the "history" I've mentioned, better-resolved image... and ask about at your LFS re they have a 'scope, can/will help you sample, look. Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang! Is in my eyes, lately things don't seem the same...   7/6/16
I have an older purple tang in my well established reef tank who has recently developed some type of disease for which I cannot find a matching picture.
<Mmm; actually the pitting, some body whiting is very common; with Surgeonfishes near the top in terms of susceptibility. Variously called HLLE.... acronyms... Due to...? Poor nutrition, aspects of water quality...
some folks even believe (not I) stray voltage. Read here Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hlle.htm
The linked files at top>
He eats, swims normally and this began about one month ago with what looked like vertical scratches on his back half. He has had what I presume to be lateral line disease for a much longer time. These vertical "scratches" are new. no other fish affected.
any thoughts on what this might be and how to treat it?
<The same... improve the environment; particularly ORP/RedOx, supplement nutrition w/ soaking foods in HUFAs, Vitamins... consider adding a refugium w/ DSB, macroalgae culture on a RDP lighting regimen.... and "mud". These
effects can be reversed... as long as the scarring isn't too deep. Bob Fenner>
jay spector

Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/9/16
I have a dilemma and would appreciate your great advice as always.
<What's up?>
Note that I have a permanent running and fully established 75 gallon QT/Hospital tank.
About 4 weeks ago I purchased a Purple Tang (maybe 5 inches in size).
<What did Gurley Halleck expound when seeing his first worm in "Dune"? "Egads, what a monster"! This is a big Zebrasoma to purchase, collect from the wild>

I purchased it from a reputable LFS. It was eating like a pig, was active, and showed no signs of illness. They stated that it had been in their possession for a few weeks.
<I see>
As I do all new fish arrivals, I put it into my QT/Hospital tank for close to two weeks.
<Mmm; no dip/bath enroute? I would do so... to "knock off" Protozoans, Trematodes... external issues>
It was fine, eating like a pig, no issues, no illness. Thus, I moved it to my 150 gallon DT. This tank has been disease free and all the readings are very good. I believe in "over-filtration", thus there's plenty of flow, a UV filter, oversized skimmer, oversized sump pump, refugium (with Macroalgae, red mangroves..), and about 100+ pounds of live rock...etc. I have high powered LED's on the tank. There's been no issues of aggression within the tank and the Purple Tang would be hypothetically considered the most aggressive type of fish in that tank and the currently largest fish
for that tank, excluding a well fed 10 inch Snowflake Eel that minds his own business and who's been a good citizen.
<Echidna spp. usually are>
Other inhabitants are a 3 inch Flame Angel, a 3 inch Koran Angel, a 4 inch Majestic Rabbitfish, and a 3 inch Sailfin Tang.
I knew that I was "rolling the dice" with the Sailfin Tang already being in there, but after a lot of reading and visiting with LFS' I was fairly confident it would work as I've previously introduced a Sailfin Tang into a different 150 gallon tank with an established Yellow Tang that has worked out well thus far and for over a year. IMO, from research and experience, it seems like the Sailfin Tang's are more likely to co-exist of the Zebra species if introduced at a different time.
<This is my and many others (recorded) experience as well>
After a little bit of posturing back and forth maybe for 2 days, the Purple Tang and the Sailfin Tang adjusted and accepted each other. I never witnessed any chasing or nipping, simply a bit of posturing, flaring up of the fins. The Purple Tang continues to eat well. However, within the last week the Purple Tang has developed Ich. None of the other fish display any signs of Ich.
<Common and not uncommon>

The Purple Tang continues to eat like a pig, swims all over the place, and seems very healthy, very happy, except for the Ich, always very eager to eat, getting excited when I approach the tank. I feed him and the tank a mix of mysis shrimp, brine/Spirulina, and algae sheets.
Since he developed Ich I've been adding Socol, VitaChem, and Metroplex mixed with Garlic into the food this tank eats. All of the fish eagerly eat at each feeding which is 3 to 4x a day. Usually I feed 2x a day, but I stepped up feedings to hopefully strengthen their immune systems.
Here's my dilemma, I could move the Purple Tang to my QT/Hospital tank, which seems like a no brainer, and for most any other fish I would do it ASAP, but this Purple Tang, despite its case of Ich is a very happy fish that's very active and eats like a pig. I am concerned about stressing it out, trying to catch it, then move it to a new tank. Might this put it
into a downward spiral?
<It could; yes>
I've always successfully used 1/2 the recommended dosage of Cupramine to treat Ich. Keeping the fish in QT for 4 weeks. I just ordered some Dr.G's Caviar that includes CP too that I intend to feed this 150 gallon DT with the Purple Tang. I've done some research on Purple Tang's and Cupramine and it appears that they might have more sensitivity than most other fish to Cupramine?
<Tangs and allies... and a few other fish families/groups too... You can search, read this on WWM, in books I've penned>
Thus, this too, makes me think I should continue to treat the DT with medicated food. However, am I doing the right thing? Would you move the Purple Tang to the QT? Thank you.
<I would NOT move the Tang... but leave in place, continue w/ the feeding treatments you're doing and have planned. Some archived input on the subject here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Fw: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine       6/9/16

I forgot to mention that this 150 gallon DT with the Purple Tang is a reef tank, thus my use of treatment so far by medicated food.
<Ahh; please read here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reefparasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked.... B>
Re: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/10/16

Thanks Bob. I very much appreciate your expertise. I really needed someone of your caliber of experience to review my dilemma and give their opinion.
<Glad to share, render it>
My gut has been to keep the Purple Tang in the DT considering it behaves very healthy, eats like a pig, seems really well adjusted, except for the Ich, but I've been torn, knowing that I have an established QT. Thanks again!
BTW, note that on my QT/Hospital tank, for all new arrivals, unless I am aware of any sensitivity to Cupramine, I dose the QT tank with 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended dosage of Cupramine for two weeks as my method to treat for any diseases before introducing them into the DT.
<Mmm; well; the standard spiel re treatments, moda am sure you're familiar w/; and Cu++ exposure period... does more harm than good beneath some threshold "physiological" dose... likely near/below 0.15 ppm you're poisoning the fish hosts more than accomplishing any positive effects>
This strategy has worked really well for me on new introductions thus far except for this Purple Tang. I have ParaGuard, PraziPro, and Ich Attack available in my arsenal to use too that I had tried in my earlier reef/fish
keeping days for new arrivals, however, from experience, I've had by far the most success with Cupramine at a reduced dosage thus I've stuck with it for new arrivals. Beyond this, my strategy for any new coral arrivals is to use ReefDip for 30 minutes.
<Ah, good. I've used and caused to purchase hundreds of carboys of Cupramine. Am a fan as well. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine      6/10/16

A worthy summation re Cu use in aquatics:
Re: Purple Tang - Ich - Cupramine     6/11/16

I thought I would report back to you the status of my Purple Tang based upon our mutually agreed decision to keep him in the DT vs. stressing him out and moving him out of the DT. I am very pleased to report that after about a week of the medicated food treatment I described below, around 90% of the Ich spots are gone and he now has just a few spots, while none of the other fish have displayed any Ich.
<Ah, good>
I believe our strategy of keeping him in the DT with the medicated food cocktail with extra feedings has made a difference.
<Yes; a matter of balance. Shades of John Venn! Have you recently read this?:
If he had shown any signs of being passive, hiding, or as you've said in past posts to others, i.e.; a party in the corner with himself I believe, I would have definitely moved him to the QT and administered Cupramine.
However, despite the Ich, as he was very active swimming, looked strong, was eating like a pig, not hiding at all, the decision to keep him in the DT with this treatment method appears to be working well. Quite pleased.........
<Again; the reading... and understanding. Most all systems are subclinically infested... READ. B>

Re: purple tang with spots after 10 weeks of Chloroquine?    1/15/15
Thank you Bob, for helping to relieve my panic. I've been giving it time before following up.
I chose the option of not stressing the purple tang further by trapping him.
He did go through a ParaGuard bath in the transition, just to be safe.
The good news, most spots were gone the following morning. I noticed that the vast majority followed the lateral line and were primarily on one side of this fish. I will follow up again if there are changes, but so far, fish that have been in the DT for 4 days are clean.
On a side note, I've been looking for an appropriate venue to place some data from an earlier attempt at treating my DT with Chloroquine that I think could be of value (though it failed)
<Send it on for posting on WWM>
First, I am a PhD chemist with years of experience studying the physical and chemical behavior of drugs and am considered an expert in the field (real name is XXXX). I got permission from my boss to run a few samples from my tank on an HPLC (High performance liquid chromatography) to quantitate the drug concentration at certain time points, though I would
prefer that my identity not be disclosed anyway (everybody has people willing to take things out of context to make them look bad for self promotion in business these days). If you can agree not to use my real name,
I think the data would be useful to aquarists in general. They include degradation rates, effect of skimming and UV sterilization on rate of drug loss, time saturation of carbon placed in the sump, initial drug loss rate after first dose, and the presence of multiple degradates of the drug with similar UV/vis spectra that will lead to erroneous readings if using a spectrometer without chromatography to separate the components.
Sadly, I can also provide failures from returning corals to the tank too soon after treatment ended. I now believe the minimum time to return corals should be one month, with multiple 30-40% water changes to remove components that may not stick to carbon (the structure of known metabolites/degradates may be less able to stick to carbon, and may need water changes to remove.) The study does not have the scientific rigor to publish in a peer reviewed journal due to the limited number of samples I was able to negotiate, and again, even if it was, I wouldn't want to broadcast to my colleagues that my boss had let me do this.
Let me know.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Purple tang skin issues.      12/18/14
Hi folks at WWM
<Howdy Si>
Over the last week my Purple tang as started to show some kind of abrasion to the skin at its tail end,
<Yes; I see this... looks to be from an irritation... a sting, or scraping...>
I first thought it could be from rubbing against the rocks as it looks like the skin/scales have been brushed the opposite way. I have done a bit of research into this have read that carbon dust can cause problems so have now turned my phosphate and carbon reactor off.
Also over the last 2-3 weeks I've been adding magnesium and calcium to the tank as whilst on my holiday the levels dropped off a little so I needed to bring these back in check, so I was considering these as a contributor.
<Yes; could be... I'd only add these to your pre-made/make up/change water... in advance a few days (a week if you can); not directly to a system>
I've attached a picture of the fish in question, the pattern is virtually identical on both sides, any help would be appreciated so i can quickly get the fish back to prime health. My parameters are all within the desired ranges with my Mag and calcium very slightly on the low side my fish are also fed a wide range of foods including frozen flake and pellets and are also given Nori 3 times a week.
Many thanks Simon
<I'd like to suggest (so am doing so), that you place a pad of PolyFilter in your filter/flow path... and see if it changes color... indicating perhaps some chemical cause. Bob Fenner>

Re: Purple tang skin issues.      12/18/14
Hi Bob Thank you for the really fast response to this. The magnesium and calcium were added to my auto top up, so have not gone directly into the tank mainly due to the size of the system, so this will be gradual thing.
<Ah good>
I agree with the irritation and do have a carpet anemone in the system
<Ohh! This is my next best guess as the root cause here>

but I assume all of my fish know to keep there distance and even if they do stray a little close the female clown is pretty quick in moving them along. I'll give the poly filter a go as that is a great idea, but I'm optimistic that this won't be the case. What would you recommend to do with the phosphate and carbon side of things as it is inevitable that they will need to be put back in action sooner or later. Thanks again for your time
<I'd use such media on a punctuated basis; every few days on. BobF>

Help needed ! Purple Tang... RO/Dip issue?      11/21/14
Hello all. Typing from my phone please excuse any grammar errors. Bought 3 fish tonight, (durgeon trigger, yellow fox face and a purple tang. I drip acclimated them separately for an hour, and then did a r-o freshwater dip, temp and ph adjusted .
<With aeration I hope/trust. RO water has NO GAS... including oxygen>

I then put them into the tank, and the purple tang immediately nose dived toward the bottom and stayed there. Once I saw he wasn't moving, and the other fish in tank were eyeing him up, i shut the tank lights out. I then seen him swim, albeit gingerly, I turned the room light off and left. Came back a half hour later, and he was stuck to the VorTech power head. I turned power head off and he came off, barely moving. I them put him into bucket. To get him away from fish, and he would go from not moving, to really hyper. I placed him back in tank, all lights off and power head off.
The other two new fish seem fine. The purple tang was at store for two months and seemed fine.
Tank stats: 80 degrees f, 1.023 sg, 8.0 ph and zero amm or nitrites.
I've dipped hundreds of fish and never ever saw this. What might this be in your experience. I am really confused, no fun losing fish , let along a 250 dollar fish. Thanks
<Two hundred and a half for a Zebrasoma xanthurum?!!! Yowzah! I quit the trade too soon. Not much to do at this point other than wait and try to be optimistic. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help needed !
Well bob, thank you for timely response. All I did was stir up water prior to using it, no pump (<not very smart) the other fish seem fine ,
<Ah, good>
but I'm guessing every fish has different tolerances for 02.
<Yes; and Tangs need about the most>
The dips lasted 3 minutes each. I'll leave him in there , and hope for the best. Once the lights come on, he may be breakfast.
Thanks again
<Here's hoping... Cheers BobF>

Re: Purple Tang Issue      8/18/14
Here are a few pictures
<Thanks... the tail... looks more like a bite>
Water parameters are tested via a API titration test kit. I have a full refugium , skimmer and macro algae for filtration with only bulk reef supply matrix activated carbon. Would you suggest giving MelaFix a try in QT?
<This stuff is a scam... worse than zip. No to using it period>

I have had some luck with it in the past for freshwater issues but have not used it in marine. I really don't want to use antibiotics again as he just went through two treatments, what are your thoughts?
<I'd go w/ the tried and true pH adjusted freshwater bath (a few minutes), perhaps with concentrated Furan compound (250 mg/gal.) route. BobF>

Re: Purple Tang Issue     8/21/14
Do you perhaps think it could be flukes? And the fin rot type infection is
<Mmm; many if not most wild-caught/captured reef fishes do have Trematodes... but can only tell by sampling and looking under a 'scope>
I am dosing my reef tank with PraziPro to be on the safe side, a few people
I have talked to think that it could be flukes and the fin rot is from stress causing the lower immune response. I have friends who did this in the past with no ill effects.
I also plan to do a treatment of PraziPro to the tang in QT to rule that
<I'd be boosting the animals immune system... via foods, supplementing. B>

Purple Tang Issue; trauma; sec. infection      8/17/14
Here is what is going on. My purple tang that I have had for about 3 years is a daredevil and likes to steal food from my torch corals, this leads him to get stung from time to time which he has never had issues with besides the occasional white spot where his color pigment on his skin turns white
for a few minutes-hours then goes back to purple. Well I do believe he got stung on his tail about a month ago and since then tissue recession has begun on his tail. It started off as a small round notch of his tail
missing and has very slowly progressed inward in a circular fashion. The circular erosion is also on his dorsal fin. This is new to me as any case of fin rot that I have seen leaves the fin edges tattered, this is very smooth and in a circular pattern. He is the king of my 150g aquarium and is the largest and most dominant fish so I know he is not getting picked on as he is usually the bully. I am thinking that he possibly picked up a secondary infection of some sort and I am baffled as if it is a fungal or bacterial infection.
<Almost all such infections are bacterial... fungal only showing up in very decomposed (dead) animals>
I put him in QT and medicating both his food and the water with cycles of maracyn 2 and Kanaplex these treatments helped marginally and the areas started healing but as soon as the tang was put back in my display tank the fin erosion is progressing again. The tang is still eating great and is very energetic. I feed a variety of foods, pellets soaked in Zoecon and Zoë, mysis, rods food, algae sheets.
The edge of the lesion on his tail does have some red color. I am unsure if this is possibly fungus or bacterial growth or just irritation
<Would have to sample (possibly culture) and look under a 'scope to tell>
Tank parameters are great, undetectable nitrates, phosphates,
<How are these rendered thus? Some chemical filtrants are toxic>

1.025 salinity. PH Great, KH great and no other fish are affected or showing any signs of fin issues and great appetites.
Looking for some help or guidance for this issue, I've been in the hobby for over 10 years and have not had a issue like this in my stable aquarium systems.
Look forward to hearing back.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Purple tang sick     7/8/14
Hello, Crew
I acquired a purple tang 17 days ago and it's been in my 20 gallon QT the whole time. It had Ich which I treated with Cupramine.
<I see both in your pix>
After 14 days of recommended treatment the tang lost the spots that looked like salt grain but still has these weird spots on it. I removed Cupramine and put CopperSafe 3 days ago. The spots don't seem to be going away. Am I treating for wrong illness? Could this be flukes?
<These spots... look like Crypt to me; but the only way to be sure is sampling and examination under a microscope. Not hard to do. Getting to a useful response here; I WOULD review your protocol... IT MAY WELL BE that the Crypt was not eradicated (very common). Folks nowayears have more success using Quinine compounds for Protozoan infestations... though both copper products are real, can/do work>
Pics attached. Thanks.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Purple tang hlth; env.       5/15/14
Hello There,
Thanks Bob for getting back to me so quickly. I have read your site for 14 years now and have recommended it as a go to when I worked in the aquarium trade for 6 years.
I am still puzzled as to what my purple tang has. Since our last email I have been raising the salinity from 1.008 and it's now at 1.012...
planning on having at full strength in 6 days. I know you stated to get a sampling, but I do not have access to a microscope and am not sure what I would be looking for anyway :-(
<... looks like... "Creeping eruptions"... not unlike some nematode human dermal parasite issues. In this case though I suspect the Tang has been "challenged environmentally">

The irregular shaped spots/growths/blotches have increased and have been growing slightly and slowly in size. Some of the blotches are white and flush with skin, some are protruding up to 1 mm off the skin surface. They vary in size and are kind of circular/oval, but not uniform in shape. Two near the abdomen are looking like they may be kind of a lesion (white around the circumference and in the middle a little tiny bit of off purple colour. Those two were flat and now are becoming like growths. Those two are now growing off the surface of the skin maybe a 1mm. Some of the spots have been there in the same location for three weeks and have increased in size some have been there just as long and have not increased in size.
There are some small (1mm or less) on the head, but once I did another freshwater dip for 12 minutes, they seem to have changed from a white colour to a more translucent colour. They are still bumps though. When I did the freshwater dip (yesterday morning), I could not see anything fall off. I let the water settle and still nothing on the bottom of the bucket to the naked eye.
I have attached some photos that I was hoping may help.
I have ruled out Ich, since they were increasing even though the salinity was 1.008 (used a calibrated refractometer).
<Way too low... this fish is a Red Sea endemic... the water is even more dense...>

A friend recommended bring the salinity back to sea water strength,
<At least>
using Bifuran+ in the quarantine tank. Maybe even using some Cupramine at a low dose...
<I'd skip the Copper exposure. won't help>

not sure where to go from here. Should I try a freshwater dose with Bifuran+ for a minute or two? Try a dip for 45 minutes at the present salinity of the tank (1.012) with Bifuran+?
<... just raise the spg>
Obviously I am assuring a balanced diet (new life pellets, ocean nutrition formula 2, Mysis, and Nori soaked in Kent garlic, Zoë, and Zoecon) and good water quality (ro/di biweekly 25% water changed). He is still eating, not as ravenously as he did when I got him, but is still eating. He is active, breathing at a normal rate. Never seen him scratching. On occasion he may flash his fins.
It's is seeming harder for him to swallow the Newlife pellets. He takes them in and spits them in repeatedly until he eats a few. He did not seem the have this difficulty before.
Any suggestions?
<What I said>
Thanks again for all your fish support,
<Welcome. BobF>
e: Fwd:      5/15/14

<Ced... not another 9 Megs!>
Hello There Again,
I have some better photos to send along with the previous email.
This is what I wrote in the previous email:
Re: Fwd:      5/15/14

Sorry, just thought you would need the best photos possible.
<We only have 50 Megs of webmail space>
So skip all meds (Bifuran and Cupramine) just raise the salinity to say 1.024-25 like the red sea?
<The Red Sea is more like 1.028>
So it's not
Once the environment is great, the fish should heal in time. Would I be able to get him out of the quarantine (once salinity is restored and been observed for at least 2 - 4 weeks) even if he is still showing bumps and put him into his 180 gallon future home?
<Yes I would... very doubtful this trouble is pathogenic. B>

purple tang in quarantine. He has larger white spots         5/8/14
Hello there,
I have a purple tang in quarantine. He has larger white spots than Ich and I am not sure what they are.
<Sampling; microscopic look>
This is the history. This tang has been in an aquarium store for 1.5 years, it was in a coral tank, but was part of a system that got new fish frequently. When it was first at the store it got some Ich... it went away visibly and has not have visible signs of Ich or anything else in almost 1.5 years. I purchased it about 7 weeks ago. I put it in quarantine, after a buffered and aerated freshwater dip of 10 minutes.
<Good move>
Two weeks at normal salinity. Then two weeks at 1.010. I lowered the salinity over a weeks time. Then when I was raising the salinity (no more than 0.002 to 0.003 a day) it got what appeared to be Ich... but I was not certain, the spots looked a little bigger than Ich. At this point the salinity was at 1.014. I figured it was Ich because there was probably Ich
in the system
<Most all systems do>
(although the system at the store did have an UV to minimize the Ich spores, and no visible signs in almost a year) and I did not bring the salinity down far enough (only 1.010)... so I brought it down to 1.008 over 4 days. The cyst stayed there for over 6 days, and more appeared... now that the tang has been in salinity of 1.008 for 1.5 weeks, the spots have increased. I suspected that it may be flukes
<Possibly... the sampling...>
about three days ago, so I added PraziPro to the recommended strength but added it slowly, 1/4 dose of PraziPro every 12 hours for a total of 4 quarter doses. I did the final dose this afternoon. So I want to make sure that I have done everything I should be doing.
Water has been buffered to 9 dKH. The water is DI water (tds of 0-1). The ammonia and nitrite have always been 0 ppm. NitrAte 5-10 ppm. Water changed have been 30% 1-2 times a week. TEmp is 80 degrees. Salinity has been measure with a vertex refractometer.
Any thoughts into what this could be?
<See above>
Oh, the tang as also maintained his appetite the whole time. Only in the past 4 days has he been more easily startled by me when I come to feed him. He usually is slashing and prancing
at the front pane of the glass knowing that I'm the dude that feeds him.
Thanks for your help,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Damaged Purple Tang    3/3/13
Dear Bob,
My purple tang was absolutely fine and healthy and she stopped eating for like 3 days..later she picked up pace and started eating again, got its coloration back and was healthy.
Now all of a sudden she came out yesterday morning with these white patches all over the body. She is swimming fine but not eating, its been 2 days now. I have attached pictures of her, apologies for the unclear pictures, I tried taking them from a close up and she wasn't ready to sit still.
<... this fish appears to have been stung by something... Likely a hydroid on the rock... Not much one can do other than providing the best water quality and nutrition>
Can you tell me what might be the problem. Water parameters are top notch and I don't have any venomous inhabitants, so am completely clueless as to what might be the issue.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Help regarding adding livestock    3/3/13
Dear Bob,
Thank you for the heads up, am trying to make her eat to no luck at all, just praying she starts eating back again..
Thank you for the diagnosis.
<Welcome. BobF>

Tang possibly has HLLE. - 05/11/2012
Hello once again WWMD crew,
So i just got a Purple tang, roughly 2 - 3 inches. So i thought it would be small enough to be in a quarantine tank of 10 gallons... Looks like the small tank has really stressed the fish out.
WWM: Likely so
So here is the series of events that has happened. During this entire process i have been giving an entire sheet of Nori soaked in Selcon, per day. And have been feeding with new life spectrum pellets and flakes.
Day 1 - looked fine at the LFS
Day 2 - Signs of ick started, so i dosed with Cupramine tested at 0.5 mg/l , (i may have jumped the gun here). Eye begins to start to look foggy.
Day 3 - No signs of ick, eye Starts to look really bad only left eye though, but it has really fogged up. So i did a 50% water change
Day 4 - Eye begins to heal up.
Day 5 - Eye fully healed.
Day 6 - Seems like scales are loosing <losing> pigmentation around eye and jaw line, kind of looks like white pinheads, they are pretty symmetrical with the other side of the face, Does HLLE have a symmetrical growth with the left and right side of the face?

Yes... aka neuromast destruction... the lateralis pores themselves are bilaterally symmetrical about the head and flank
Or is it typically a random type of growth. - A grayish spot appears close to the tail fin.
WWM: This last is something different. Very likely due to poor conditions in the too-small quarantine system
Also the scales look like they have a sort of suede texture the entire time, not sure if this is normal, as this is my first ever tang. So my thinking is this, I have a spare 30 gallon long tank that i will set up as a q/t this weekend, and move the tang to this tank. My concern is that the move might cause more stress than necessary to the tang. Should i just stick with the 10 q/t with consistent water changes? Or would the bigger tank be a better environment? Thank you for your time, Giancarlo
WWM: T'were it me, I'd dip/move the fish to the main/display... a risk, but worth it. Bob Fenner

Re: Tang possibly has HLLE. + Z. comp.     5/14/12
Hey Bob,
So i took your advice and put the tang in the display tank.  Everything seems fine with it, eating well and very active.  I am starting to have second thoughts though on putting a purple tang in my tank, for two reason.
 The tang is constantly darting around the tank, making me think it is too small of an aquarium for it.  Second reason being my dwarf flame angel has not come out of hiding within the live rock at all today, not even to eat. The first day i put in the tang they all ate together(including tang and flame) did not see fighting at all.  The tank is 46"(length) by 35"(width) by 14"(height).  Other fish include a Copperband butterfly, 2 clownfish and a yellow watchman goby, 6 fish total.  The only plus i have found with adding the tang, is that it made the flame angel lay off the butterfly, but to the point where the flame angel would possibly die, due to not eating or stress?
<Hopefully no>
  The flame is literally swimming very slowing in a area no bigger than 10" * 10".  Weird thing is, the tang goes nowhere near the area to even bother the flame(from what i have seen).  I would rather have the angel instead of the tang, the fighting between the Copperband and the flame was very minimal anyway, more likely them trying to establish who is the dominant fish, and would have probably stopped after a few weeks or so.  Basically i am wondering if one, tank is too small for the tang,
and two having a flame and purple tang together is not a wise choice?
<Not usually problematical>
 I read that purple tangs are aggressive fish, but the flame was the most active fish in the tank prior to, which lead me to think that it would work out.  So if you think i have to choose one or the other so be it.  I just want to know if there could be any sort of indicators i can look for to determine that they will live fine together.
Thanks again! Giancarlo
<I'd wait for now. BobF>

Re: Tang possibly has HLLE.     5/18/12
Hey Bob,
Just wanted to give you an update on the Tang, carbon is completely out of system, and i have been feeding tang Nori soaked in Selcon, along with everything else it eats as i feed the other fish, anyway all visual signs of HLLE have cleared up and the tang looks great.
<Ah good>
Thanks for your time and help, next time i wont be so hasty to jump to you all for help, as it always seems to be patience and a clear mind that cures most problems.
- G
<An important lesson, that bears remarking. B>

Marks on purple tang 9/15/11
<Hey Simon>
Have you or any of the crew seen marks like this on a fish?
<Oh my! Yes... when in death throes... something VERY wrong here...
poisoned likely, or severely oxygen starved>
The fish was a normal Zebrasoma Xanthurum, uniform purple in colour. The owner reported the fish being normal in the morning, and then suddenly swimming about erratically and changing to these colours a couple of hours before death.
<Perhaps it ate a poisonous insect that flew into the tank? Ran into a venomous tankmate?>
I have been to the house and the colours had remained like this on the dead fish after death. This picture was taken while the fish was still alive. All other fishes seem fine including a Paracanthurus and a Pygoplites among others. Tests are Nitrate 2.5, pH 7.9, Temp 79.8, SG is 1.025. Carbon is run as well as GFO regularly. All invertebrates seem fine, including a Linckia Starfish and two Tube Anemones.
<... Cerianthus... the outstanding suspect here... They can be extremely stinging>
The water has turned slightly cloudy after this event with a rise in phosphate from 0.03 to 0.1ppm. There are no other missing animals that can be seen, although it is likely that something else has died, perhaps releasing a toxin of some kind. The only other thing that I can think of is a sting from one of these Anemones, or something that the fish had eaten?
Thanks, Simon.
<I cast my vote for contact w/ one of the Antipatharians... the Tube Anemones. Bob Fenner>

Re: Marks on purple tang 9/16/11
Thank you Bob, The tube anemones were my prime suspect also, will suggest they are removed. Feel free to use the image as you like.
<Thank you. Have posted on WWM>
By the way, your article on RedOx in Ultramarine Magazine is a fantastic effort, the best I have read on the subject and I'm quite sure I've read most if not all available!
<Oh gosh Simon... I practically begged the new editor, Richard Aspinall to not run this piece (have the long-standing habit of sending dozens of pieces to mag.s for back-up, offer)... I've tried on 2-3 occasions to make this subject known to hobbyists... almost always a failure... blank stares, folks incredulous, consternated... BUT, is standard technology, operating procedure for almost all public aquariums, aquaculture facilities...>
Cheers, Simon
<And you my friend. BobF>

Unexplained Death Of A Beautiful Tang/Zebrasoma xanthurum/Health 4/20/2011
Good morning, crew!
<Good morning to you, Kerstin.>
I haven't written in some time, but I just lost my Purple Tang, and am at an absolute loss as to what happened, or if I did the right thing or not.
I included some pictures in the hope someone can provide some insight please...or at least commiserate in the loss of this lovely fish (or even berate me for my stupidity...). I apologize in advance for the long email.
<No problem, the more info the better.>
The first picture shows my tank from last September. It is a 92-gallon corner tank, it has been set up since November 2007, at which time I moved my inhabitants from a 3-y.o. 29-gallon tank. Fred, my purple tang, was originally in my 29-gallon tank, and I knew it was too small for him, so I knew he'd love the bigger tank; in fact he's been happy in there for the past 3-1/2 years. His current co-inhabitants were: <were or are?>
2 Centropyge - one a Cherub face dwarf (have had over a year), the other a one a Flame Angel (close to a year now)
1 Lemon Goby (in tank for over 6 months)
2 Clown Fish (both in tank over 6 months now)
1 Royal Gramma (who more often than not disappears for days/weeks at a time, and always lives behind the center pile of stone pictured below...has currently been out of sight for about 3 weeks, but that's nothing new...has been there for about 4-6 months)
1 Brittle Starfish
1 Blood Red Shrimp
about 23 corals (I no longer have either of the disc corals in this picture).
The 6- <Six> Line Wrasse in this picture was caught after Christmas - I was tired of him being the emperor and terrorizing the entire tank.
<Not easy to catch, are they.>
Recently I had purchased a (in hindsight) too-skinny Blue Faced Sleeper Goby, and he passed within a day. In discussion with the LFS, we think he truly was just too skinny and beyond rescuing. At this point, I check water values - Spec. Gravity slightly high at 1.028, Calcium low at 196,
<Very low, this has to come up to an acceptable level.>
Alkalinity high at 9.5 dkH, and Magnesium normal (in the mid 1300's I believe).
I worked at lowering my specific gravity a little. About 2 weeks later (last week on Friday), I purchased 2 more Citron/Lemon gobies and a matched pistol shrimp and goby...I did the research, and thought these would work well with my tank...they were to be my last purchases. Everything I read also indicated they did not do well with quarantine, so I did not do that with these fish. I spent about 5 hours acclimating them, to make sure they were used to my tank water.
Well, strange things seem to be going on - and I am now going to research more - but would love to have inputs - because I just have no clue even under what terms to search for this. I did look right after this happened, but "Fish jumped/not swimming right just doesn't seem to work well.
As I mentioned, my Royal Gramma often disappears from sight for a while.
However, now I am beginning to think maybe there's more to it.
<Does the fish come out during feeding time?>
Over the past year, my shrimp population has decreased from 4 cleaners, 2 blood reds, and a mated pair of Coral Banded to the one red shrimp...thought it might just be old age, as I have had some of them from the beginning of this tank.
<Shrimp/crustaceans do require iodine/dide dosing to help with their molt, and depending on the specie of Brittle Star you have, this animal could be the culprit. The Green Brittle Star of the genus Ophiarachna is a notorious fish/shrimp eater and if this is the specie you have, it needs to go.>
After 2 days of swimming around happily, the 2 new Citron Gobies both disappeared overnight...nothing, no carcass, no trace.
<Mmm, likely eaten by your scavengers and/or caught/eaten by the Green Brittle Star if this is what you have.>
Now, to Fred.
Yesterday, the day started out well. While I was working on my computer, all of a sudden I hear a big splash - and see my Purple Tang flipping out of the water a good 2-3 inches, and falling back in (there was enough splashing before this that this may have been the 2nd jump, or he raced along the surface first...don't know). At this point he is in his night-time colors (very pale purple, with all the dots and stripes inherent in his scales visible) and looks like he's hit his head - big bare spot (white) above the center of his eyes. He's having problems staying upright - swimming upside down, sideways, often with his face down, fluttering his fins like he's trying to get upright but just can't, and acts like he can't see. He got close to where the new goby (and I assume shrimp) took up residence (on the left underneath the Acanthastrea), so I did see if I could prod him out of the area. He moved from there, and took up residence IN the space inside the tall rock in the picture...while I could move one rock from above it, it was still hard to get to.
<Mmm, in doing this you were adding to the already present stress of this fish.>
<<Methinks this fish "got punched" by the Alpheid. RMF>>
My LFS guy is on vacation and didn't answer his phone, so I did speak with several people - and based on where the tang was, and the fact he was still pale purple, we thought he might stress out even more if I tried to get him out of the tank into a quarantine tank than if I left him.
So I left him and checked on him several times throughout the afternoon and evening. I think he died last night, based on the fact that right before my bedtime, the Flame Angel swam above him in the crevice and he didn't move, but wasn't sure - at that point he hadn't completely settled in like this morning.
This morning, I again looked, but when the Brittle Starfish was there, I thought he was most likely dead...so I went through the creative process of rescuing him (slim hand, middle two fingers finally grabbed him on the 4th or so attempt) and pulled him out.
You can see the pictures I took of him. Yesterday morning he was a beautiful (to my eyes) healthy tang - no Ich, no HLLE, very happy, swimming around everywhere, eating everything I could feed him...
Then he jumped, and less than 24 hours later he's dead.
Any ideas? Is the fact that I have lost several things over the past year or so an indication I need to do something?
<I would first determine the specie of Brittle Starfish you have.>
I didn't think my bioload was tremendous...the powerhead on the right is a VorTech-MP40W, and I have a 20 gallon tank underneath as a sump (in fact, my skimmer has slowly, over the past 6 months, gotten to where I don't even get any skimmate - periodically just some clear water and nothing else)...it's been set up for over year now.
The only other things I have done in the recent past are:
- slowly switch from SeaChem's Reef Salt to the Red Sea Coral Pro salt mix (I am still doing water changes with both types of salt,
<Any particular reason for the salt change?>
but have been doing that since Christmas), and - I have two cups (those cups you hang off the tank when you get new fish) hanging off the edge into the tank; they have holes drilled in them and I am growing mangrove pods - but that was a December addition, nothing extremely new.
As I said, I would love inputs - I haven't recently, but can check nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels if you thought that might affect anything.
<Certainly. Any reading of nitrite or ammonia would not be good.>
I haven't gotten new rocks in quite a while (last summer, I believe), and other then fish haven't really changed anything...any ideas? It seems to me he got stung - but what would get him to react like that, and what can I do? Should I have done anything differently?
<Based on the information you have provided, I would say there was nothing that you did that caused the tang's death. I'm thinking this fish may have been spooked and caused damage to itself beyond healing, especially considering that this was a very healthy fish less than 24 hours before it's death. On the other hand, there exists the possibility of a toxin getting into the water such as Windex, etc. and the fish panicked in looking for a healthier environment. Did any of your other fish display any strange behavior during this period?>
I greatly appreciate you inputs, and would love any ideas/suggestions/even berating on my actions...I really hate that my tang died (and the way in which he died); I enjoy my tank, and am currently clueless what else to do.
<I would test for nitrite and ammonia thereby eliminating this as a possible cause. You may also want to introduce a chemical media into your system to further improve water quality. A good grade of carbon or Chemipure would be a good choice. If you haven't done so already, you may want to read here and related articles/FAQs. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/z_xanthurum.htm>
Thanks in advance,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Kerstin DeRolf :-(
My tank, Sept. 1020
<Looks nice.>
My new Pistol shrimp
My new goby (can't remember the name right off the bat)
My poor dead purple tang - right side view - his fins were complete right after the jump.
Left side view - he had a full set of fins right after the jump...
Front view - the white spot was originally above a line drawn between the eyes, maybe 2 mm wide - only appeared after his jump.

Re Unexplained Death Of A Beautiful Tang/Zebrasoma xanthurum/Health 4/20/2011- 4/21/2011- 4/22/2011
Hi James.
<Hello Kerstin>
Sorry to take so long to get back to you on this, but I had a swamped day, and thus decided to wait until the end of the Metal Halide cycle.
I check my water parameters, and here is what they are today (vs. the measurements given below from 2 weeks ago).
- pH - 8.2
- Specific Gravity 1.027
- Alkalinity 6.1 dKH/2,17 meq/l (I know, low - but did I mention that I have had an alkalinity sink as a reef tank for the past 3 years?)
<Your dKH is not that low. Many aquarists (including myself) now keep their dKH in the 5-7 range. Europeans have reported good results in doing this.>
- Calcium 220
<Needs to be in balance with the rest of your water parameters,
- Magnesium 1275 (I know, I know - not a good ratio to the calcium)
Per your question, I also tested the rest - here they are:
Ammonia <0.25;
<If the test kit is accurate, this needs to be at 0, .25 is not good.>
Nitrate between 2 and 2.5 mg/l; nitrite 0 ppm, and Phosphates (my RO water tests to 0) 0.03
I believe all these values aren't bad....dare I say normal.
Interestingly enough, there is major coraline algae growing on my front glass, so everyone seems to be happy - but I have primarily stony corals, so that might be also why the calcium keeps tanking?
<Which product are you using to maintain calcium levels?>
r.e. the salt mix - my tank has, over the last year, seemed to be getting unhappier in just small ways - my corals aren't as happy, even when I did not add any new ones for a long time, just did the regular maintenance.
So I thought, after reading a variety of articles and comments, I might try to play with a new salt - taking it slowly of course to do the changeover.
I read many reviews of many salts, and it was really a tossup between the Tropic Marin and the Red Sea. It seems easier to get the Red Sea, and after about 1/2 the small bucket, my tank seems a little happier, so I thought I would go with it - once I switch to it completely vs. 1/2 Red Sea 1/2 Seachem, I will see how it does - otherwise I will try the Tropic Marin and see how it goes. Interestingly enough, I have a friend with a smaller tank, and her tank is still doing great on the SeaChem - so it's not the salt, it seems to be the tank or the coral mixture...not sure which.
<I do not believe the salt mix is the problem here.>
r.e. the Citron Gobies - I do have one bigger Acropora, and several other plates they liked sitting on - I just thought it was interesting that they both were happy for a couple of days and then both disappeared in the same night.
I take it I shouldn't worry about the Royal Gramma for a while - see if he shows up again? He lives/ed in the back of my rock structure, which is why he was always hard to see anyway.
<Continue to observe.>
And thanks for the link to the seagrasses. It's amazingly hard to get info on seagrasses and even harder to find a place to purchase them - I have been playing with the idea for about 2 years; now that the tang is no longer there, maybe I will research it more seriously and finally implement it.
<There are other types of macro algae that help lower nitrates/phosphates that are much easier to maintain/grow.>
Thanks again for all your help, and for your inputs on the death of my purple tang. What a sad way to go, but I did learn lots about pistol shrimps in the process.
<Likely will not be the last time as well. Maybe you are a jinx, but I haven't seen my Coral Beauty for two days and I've had this fish for over five years. :-)
James (Salty Dog)>

Greetings Dispensers of Knowledge - need advice Marine Crypt on Purple Tang. 11/20/2010
<and salutations!>
I have been reading/lurking for some time now and am learning a lot. Maybe too much. Sometimes I'm afraid to touch my tank after reading everything I could do wrong albeit inadvertently. My Master's is in
Computer Science, not chemistry/biology. ;-)
<No problem, mine is in electrical engineering.>
I currently have a 75g reef, 30g sump, MP 300 skimmer, Fluval canister (carbon) hang-on fuge growing copious amounts of Chaeto. Water parms are good: 0 on everything, even nitrates. Temp ranges 77-80 throughout the day (I use 2 150W MH on a 10hour cycle inside a 12 hour 4 T5 actinic/daylight cycle), pH ~8.1 (morning) to 8.3 (midday). Alk is "high" (stupid test kit, will invest in better one soon).
<The API test kit is pretty good actually.>
About 10% water change bi-weekly, supplementing with Kalk drip, iodide, stront & myob weekly. I do not currently have a calcium/dKH test. Am trying to find a good one - do not want to invest in a cheap one that's inaccurate and end up screwing up the environment because the test told me something was off that wasn't.
<The API Calcium test kit is pretty good too. Accurate to about 20ppm, which, for a casual reefer who doesn't keep a ton of stony corals and clams is fine.>
Inhabitants are currently 1 purple tang, 1 b/g reef chromis (plus the 4 Jimmy Hoffa versions he apparently took issue with, schooling my $%&),
<Heheheheheh in my experience, not unless that tank is huge...>
an inherited, mated pair of Percs, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp, and 4-5 softies.
Aside from my very moody toadstool, all are looking healthy and growing well. Coralline is growing like mad and I'm fairly certain I managed to acquire a nice population of Montipora from the LR I picked
up from the LFS because it, too, is growing like a weed.
<Sounds like a nice setup, and stocked well. Monti is one of my favorites, fast growing, easy to frag and colorful.>
So the problem is the tang. ::sigh:: He's almost certainly got a case of Ich, though the only symptoms he shows are spots and occasionally twitches.
<Hmm... how many spots?>
He's been like that for over a week now. He is eating voraciously - and by voraciously I mean I can feed the tank 3 times a day and they act like it's not enough. I make up a mix of Mysis, brine, spirulina, and pellets with some tasty garlic (which he apparently hates) and feed that in the morning, then supplement with flakes twice more during the day. If it hits the water, they eat it - as if they've never been fed before.
<Yep. >
The tang has been in the tank about a month (and no, I didn't QT -
<Consider both wrists slapped. If you cannot QT, at the very least, do a FW dip with formalin or Methylene blue It will knock off most if not all of the parasites the fish may have >
and having learned the hard way now have a QT set up and ready to go ;-)) and has doubled in size already.
<Do mix some other greens in there - Nori or Kombu - available at the grocery store. Tangs are very susceptible to HLLE
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm >
I am having a hard time netting him, and am not really looking forward to moving all the other inhabitants/LR to get at him. I am also afraid of stressing him more by moving him to the QT (14H) such that he expires.
<Tang catching is best done with multiple large nets and two or more people. It also helps to have the nets in the water for about an hour before you try to start catching them.>
I've been reading here and elsewhere, and strategy appears to differ based on hobbyist. I've seen some advice to the effect of "let him try to fight it off himself, supplement with garlic" if he's otherwise
seeming to be doing fine to "get him out right now OMG I can't believe you are letting him suffer at all like that, I'm calling the ASPCA".
<Depending on the circumstances, the treatment does fall somewhere in between.>
My options as I understand them are:
1. To absolutely remove him and treat him. Now. Like yesterday.
<Always valid, not to the point where you tear the tank apart.>
2. Treat the tank with No-Ich - anecdotal evidence seems to indicate no adverse affects to the rest of the tank, but I am leery of running with no skimmer/no charcoal for weeks on end. My skimmer works very
efficiently (it's well-over sized) and pulls good skimmate on a daily basis. I look at that mess and think "I certainly don't want to leave THAT in the tank!".
<I've never seen any evidence that no-Ich works. Copper, Formalin, or Quinine Sulfate are proven, time tested cures. yes, they require more effort, but they work.>
3. Continue to supplement with garlic and watch the tang to see if he can fight it off himself.
<If it is a very minor case, yes. Do remember, garlic sometimes helps, garlic is not a cure.>
The other three fish with him appear unaffected. He's not appearing stressed (except by the presence of a
net) and not having trouble breathing. His eyes are clear, there's no cysts/blemishes near his gills, just white spots all over his beautiful purple body.
<Here is the key. Define 'all over'. Is it 10 - 20 spots on the side of the fish, or does it look like it has been rolled in sugar? If the former, I'd be more inclined to give the fish a FW and formalin dip, or wait and see. If it is the later, I would not delay treatment.>
I read about the lawyer who discovered his case of "Ich" was just air bubbles. I was optimistic, but after close observation - those are not air bubbles. :-(
<Nope, it is likely Ich.>
Your thoughts? I don't want him to die, he's a beautiful fish who likes to beg for food every time he sees me at the glass and that's endearing, but I'm leery of moving him to QT when it might be worse for him - or not moving him to QT when it might be best for him. Augh! See? Too. Much. Information.
<Ok, here is a tried and true Ich remedy.: 1. Get a QT tank ready and a large bucket filled with temp and pH adjusted fresh water and a powerhead to provide aeration ready. See here:
Treat the water in the bucket with Formalin, and the QT tank with copper or quinine sulfate. Get the fish in the FW dip bucket. Let him soak for a good 10 - 15 minutes. (Less if the fish starts stressing out too much) then move to the QT tank.
Personally, I prefer treating with Quinine sulfate, as it is easier to use than copper, and you do not need to use it as long.
http://www.nationalfishpharm.com/products4.html Since it is not likely available in your area, you will probably have to start with copper. Treat for a minimum of 4 weeks. Watch the fish in QT and the rest of the fish in your tank closely. If any of the other fish start showing signs, get them into the QT tank quickly. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm >
I am also eagerly (and impatiently) awaiting the arrival of my 150g and from reading I assume that to keep that system clean I should just start from scratch? Or if I do transfer any water/substrate I should let it
sit fallow for 8 weeks to let the stuff die off?
<Letting the tank go fallow is best, then you can transfer the substrate, and the water. if you want.>
Sorry for such a long involved e-mail, but you all seem to appreciate more information as opposed to "tank good, fish sick. Help." ;-)
<Heheheheh... Yes We would always rather have a glut of information than none at all.>
Thanks much for all your efforts and great advice!
<My pleasure.>
Re: Greetings Dispensers of Knowledge - need advice Marine Crypt on Purple Tang. 11/21/2010
Greetings again!
<Hi Lori!>
I will look into the API kits - I've read good things about them and your recommendation backs that up.
<I like all of their kits except for the nitrate test.>
I managed to net the tang this morning - he couldn't resist breakfast. :-)
He was very stressed about the move to the QT but calmed fairly quickly and was nibbling at his breakfast a few minutes ago.
Sulkily, but nibbling nonetheless. I'll assume that's a good sign.
<Yes, Give him some places to hide, that will make him feel more secure.>
His fins were covered this morning with more spots though he still (thankfully) was showing no other distressing symptoms. He's got far more than 10-20 spots per side though not "rolled in sugar."
<Definitely spreading then.>
But it is getting worse and spreading, not better - so I opted for treatment. Am treating per recs and hoping he can recover.
<Good. These treatments are time consuming, but they do work.>
Thanks for the advice and confirmation he needed treatment sooner rather than later!
<Best of luck, do write back and let us know how it is going.>

Purple Tang, hlth. 4/24/10
<Hello Tracey>
I am hoping you can help me with my Purple Tang.
<Me too>
I have searched your site and did find another Purple Tang picture that looks similar to mine and the comment by wetweb was that he looks like he has been poisoned.
<Really? By What?>
I apologize for the poor quality of my photo.
<I'm going to be frank here.. it's one of the worst I've seen! But never mind, I think we might be able to put you on the right track..>
He started to look white in a line along his gills but now it has spread on his face.
He is in QT right now and did have ich so is being treated with hyposalinity. <Not the best IMO. For how long? And what diet has he been fed? These treatments are often done for weeks at a time and the fishes suffer for it. Read Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm>
Could this just be stress from hypo?
<Not 'just'.. potentially HLLE, neuromast destruction.. caused by the poor environment/ diet.. partly Hypo, yes. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm>
He eats well, Nori, other seaweeds, mysis, brine. Thank you for your wonderful site and professional advice.
<What are you water test results? Tank-mates? No real info here to go on. Read where you were referred'¦ I might consider placing the fish back to the display here, depending.. or a larger QT system. Feeding some New Life Spectrum pellets, vitamins. Either way, an improvement in the environment of this fish is required. Simon>

Re: Purple Tang, hlth? 4/27/10
Thank you for your help Simon.
<No problem Tracey. I am sorry this has taken me so long to get back to you, I am once again in the process of moving house all this week>
To answer your questions, my Purple Tang is eating everything including New Life Spectrum pellets
<This is good news>
and water reads Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0 <needs some, a trace>, ph 8, salinity 1.009.
<How long has the salinity been here? With this so low, you have to assume that the hypo is the problem>.
I am slowly increasing the salinity and plan to put him in the display as soon as his water parameters match.
I do have another question if you don't mind. I also have a Majestic Angel in another QT tank that was treated for Ich and is looking great other than I sometimes see a spot on her that I think might be some type of parasite, it must be transparent because it just looks like a spot of colour loss but it moves, sometimes on her face sometimes on her side,
<In these angels, poor water quality (often found in these QT systems) will show up as lighter patches and spots. This is common, as these are sensitive fishes>
I thought before putting her into the display I would do some type of dip, what would you recommend?
<Nothing more than freshwater, pH adjusted with close monitoring>
In general is there a dip that all fish should
have before being placed in the display tank? <Posted> Thanks Again, Tracey.
Hello again WWM (Simon), I have now completed the suggested reading (articles by Bob Fenner)
<Yes, these are very comprehensive!!>
and it has answered my previous questions re: dips. Thanks again for providing this excellent information.
<I do agree, and think that Bobs articles on dips are the most comprehensive around by far. Simon>

Re: livestock deaths 4/11/10
Mr. Fenner,
The tang's been in QT for a couple days (didn't eat today, though) with quinine meds dosed daily, as per instructions. Took a couple photos of the fish for your comment, if possible. Please forgive the blurriness and the water marks on the aquarium glass. Skin seems smooth, but "peeling" away, especially around mouth. It doesn't look like other Cryptocaryon pics I've seen. It looks somewhat like a "marine velvet" photo I saw in a book, but not exactly. Is the photo clear enough for you to comment?
Chris S.
<Mmm, this fish looks "somehow poisoned"... From what? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>

Purple Tang Has A Fin Problem/Zebrasoma Hlth 4/9/10
<Hi Rusty, reminds me of the Chevy Chase vacation movies.>
I have noticed that my 6" purple tang has some unusual yellow color that appears along the back edge of his top fin, and sometimes on his bottom fin. There is no sign of any "jaggedness" or fin rot, just the color. Is this typical of a purple tang? Is it a birth mark, a sign of stress, or could it be the beginning of fin rot, leading to HLLE? The tang is in a well kept 180 gallon reef with stony corals, and with him, a 5" male blue throat triggerfish is the only other large fish in the tank. The water parameters look good, corals are healthy, and there is no aggression between any of
the fish, plus my tang gets Nori soaked in vita-chem, garlic, and Selcon every day along with the usual Mysis shrimp and veggie flakes. I'm worried that I may be getting a HLLE tang, even though I'm doing everything I can to avoid it. Should I be worried?
<No need to worry. Your tang appears to be very healthy. When fish are fed nutritious foods with vitamin additives, they can tend to develop color tinges on the fins. I've noticed that on my Coral Beauty and False Lemon
Peel not too long after I switched to a high nutrition diet. James (Salty Dog)>

New Purple Tang for SPS System - 4/3/08 Spot on Tang- Wait it out or Treat? Dear WWM Crew, <Scott F. your crew member today!> Thank you again for the invaluable resource your site provides. I truly appreciate the work you folks do to help others in this fascinating hobby. <We have some great people who are thrilled to bring the site to you every day!> I have a question I hope you can help me with regarding a new Purple Tang I purchased two weeks ago (currently in quarantine). At the risk of making my email too long, I am providing a description of my system below for your reference. <Okay...> Display: 135 Gallon Tenecor Acrylic Aquarium (72" W x 18" D x 24" H) . External recirculation rate is about 1300 GPH.Three EcoTech Marine Vortech pumps (placed in the lower part of the aquarium) provide an additional 1300-2000 gph of internal circulation. Substrate consists of two inches of fine aragonite sand (stirred daily and agitated continuously by the three Vortech pumps). Approximately 120 lbs of Live Rock with about 15 lbs of fresh (but 8 weeks cured) rock is "rotated" into the system every couple of months. Refugium: Ecosystem 3616 Mud Sump with active Chaetomorpha and roughly 25 lbs Live Rock. Two large overflows with Durso standpipes add roughly 30 gallons "fishless" volume. <Sounds good!> Lighting: Three 150 W HQI pendants (12K) and Four 160 W VHO (1 AquaSun, 2 Actinic White and one Actinic). Lights are on timer sequence with MH's running about 8 hours/day and maximum wattage peaks around 960 W. Filtration: Eco Reef CS 135 which runs continuously and produces about one large cup (very dark and smelly) skimmate twice a week. Also employ four (1 cup each ) bags of activated carbon in the in the sump which are rotated/replaced one bag per week. Chiller: 1/4 HP Aqualogic "drop in coil" type Temperature: 81 (+/- 1) F Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate not detectable per Salifert test kits pH - 8.4 Calcium ~ 400 ppm, Alkalinity ~ 8.0 dKH Fish: Flame Angel, Bicolor Blenny, Purple Firefish, Sunrise Pseudochromis Corals; Encrusting Montipora, Plate Montipora, Pocillopora, 2 small Acropora and small colony of Clove Polyps. Inverts: Blue Legged Hermit Crab, Diadema Urchin and about seven assorted Turbo and Astrea snails LR Hitch Hikers: Zoanthids, Unknown Stony Coral and assorted sponges. Macro Algae: Assorted small Halimeda and Caulerpa (removed manually). After reviewing your website, I concluded that a Purple tang would be an excellent "fit" for my system. This will probably be the last fish introduced to the system. <Yes, it should be the last fish. It does seem to be a good fit.> The fish is an extraordinary juvenile Red Sea specimen, which I was able to procure from one of the "Etailers" that advertises on your website. Because I live only a few miles form their facility, I was lucky enough to hand pick it from about 15 beautiful specimens that had just arrived the day before. The specimens were shipped direct to their location (no intermediate stop after collection). <Good! Less time in transit means less stress for the fish.> I set up a quarantine tank consisting of a heated 10 gallon bare bottom tank, a "mature" sponge filter, powerhead and a few assorted PVC sections. I introduced 10 gallons of new water from the display and keep Gracilaria macro banded to a couple of the PVC sections. Since introducing the fish into QT, I have vacuumed the detritus from the bottom of the tank and done a two gallon water change (using display water) daily. <Excellent procedure! Glad to hear that you're embracing this practice!> The fish seems to have been acclimating well and has been eating almost from the moment he was introduced into QT. There are zero signs of Ich (spots or scratching). But after about one week, I noticed a small white spot on the upper corner of its lip, about the size of a pin head. It been about a week now and there has been no change. I have attached a couple of photos for your reference. I want to introduce this fish as soon as possible, as I know the QT is probably much smaller than optimal. But of course, I want to be sure not to introduce a pathogen that would be harmful to the other inhabitants. This is the first tang I have ever purchased and I am not sure what to make of the spot. Would you kindly advise your recommendations. Do you have an idea what is causing the spot? Should I (a) continue QT to see if this will resolve itself, (b) start some type of treatment or (c) introduce the fish into the display in an effort to lower its stress level? Thanks in advance for any advice / assistance you can offer. Scott <Well, Scott, I have seen these types of "spots" on fishes many times. Often, they are the result of some sort of trauma to the animal. Other times, they can be the beginning of a possible parasitic or fungal infection. In this case, the fact that the fish appears to be otherwise healthy and eating, which leads me to believe it may be the result of a minor trauma to the fish's mouth. Rather than blasting the fish prophylactically in all sorts of chemicals, I'd recommend simple observation for a while longer. Keep an eye on the fish, and be prepared to take action if more spots manifest, or if the fish seems to be declining. Clean water, continued careful feeding, and the passage of time will help. Often times, I have found that these issues will clear up without any intervention on the part of the hobbyist. If, however, the fish displays signs of parasitic infection, such as additional spots, difficulty breathing, mucus, etc., it may be time to intervene medically. Hang in there, and be ready for action if needed. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Spot on Tang- Time to Treat? - 4/3/08 Hello Scott, <Hey there again!> Thank you very much for your advice. Unfortunately, it looks like thing have gotten a bit worse over night for this Tang. The spot on his lip appears noticeably larger and now I see a second (white) blemish around one eye. <Okay- sounds like it could be a parasite of some sort...perhaps time to get a bit more aggressive.> I will continue the water changes in QT to keep the quality up, but want to be ready for a more aggressive treatment if this is warranted. I don't have much experience with diagnosis and appropriate treatment and I wonder if you would kindly provide your thoughts in this this regard. Thanks again for your help. Scott <Well, Scott, as mentioned previously, I'm always a bit leery about jumping into aggressive treatment regimens until I'm sure I know what I'm dealing with. Sounds like you might want to start off with something more gentle (to the fish), such as a 5 minute dip in freshwater. This may be more stressful to a potential parasite, which may not handle the osmotic stress as well as the fish can. Make sure that the pH and temperature of the freshwater are the same as in the quarantine aquarium. Observe the fish carefully. A more aggressive, and potentially more dangerous treatment for a parasitic insult would be to use a Formalin preparation. Most Formalin products formulated for the aquarium hobby are 3% solutions, and with potentially sensitive fish such as Tangs, you'd want to use a conservative dose. I'd go with 1/2 teaspoon per 10 gallons of saltwater, and I'd use it as a dip- leave the fish in the solution for about an hour. Make sure that you aerate heavily, and be prepared to remove the fish if it shows signs of distress. Formalin is a pretty aggressive treatment, and you don't want to overdose this stuff and cause potential collateral damage. Also, try to avoid having this stuff come into contact with your skin (wear gloves)! I'd treat the fish in a separate vessel from the quarantine aquarium, as you don't want to kill the beneficial bacterial population in the quarantine aquarium. Again, with any treatment, observe carefully, approach treatment conservatively, and be prepared to get the fish out of the treatment container if it shows signs of distress. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

ID - Please Can you tell me what is hanging from my purple tangs rear end?? It's certainly not the usual muck. Thank you, Julie. <Mmm, appears to be a good-sized mass of worms... likely Nematodes... though it might be Acanthocephalans... I would be treating this fish/system with a vermifuge... Likely Levamisole... please see WWM re such. Bob Fenner>

Unusual growth on Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) 12/10/07 Hello Crew, <Ron> Thanks for taking the time to review my query! For the first time today, I noticed a dark fuzzy/hairy growth on my Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) -- passengers side near the tail. ; ) I have searched the web and WWM but can't seem to find anything that fits the profile of a dark gray/black 'hairy' growth. <Could you send along a well-resolved pic? Oh, I see the links below> Nobody in my local Reef Club (RASOC) had any suggestion either. It seems that most accounts of spots or growths on fish are white, unless it involves black speckles or a generally discolored spot. Perhaps my search query is lacking some keyword. However, I would definitely have to describe this growth as hairy or fuzzy in appearance since it appears to be a cluster of 'hairs'. When I look back at earlier pictures that I have taken, I can see that this spot was there in some form a month ago. It is approximately 2 mm in diameter. It doesn't seem to bother the Tang as far as I can tell. I have an active Cleaner Shrimp and he doesn't seem to be concerned about it either. Here are the best pics I can get of the growth. I am providing a couple of flickr links in lieu of sending pictures that may be too large (hope that is ok). Feel free to upload and post if you desire. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2022/2098256828_b98c969b7d.jpg http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2188/2097478823_335152a998.jpg Do you have any idea what it could be?? If so, would you recommend treatment or merely observation for now? Ron <")))>< Charlotte, NC <Might be a crustacean parasite... looks in outline like a pair/two copepods... A shame to stress this animal by netting, but if the occasion presents itself, I would use two nets, capture this fish and gently try prising off this mark with blunt nose tongs (ask your wife re maybe...). IF there is any sign of blood from doing so, do daub (with a "Q tip") a bit of mercurochrome/Merthiolate/Merbromin on to the spot. I see what appears to be the antennae of a Lysmata sp. in the background... In time, this cleaner may remove this mark... Otherwise, I doubt if it is really debilitating, and strongly sense that it is not "catching". Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Unusual growth on Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) 12/10/07 Bob, <RonF> Thank you for the information you provided. The pictures closely represent the view one gets with the naked eye. Perhaps I will try to use my digital zoom to get a closer pic, in order to see if it is indeed some sort of crustacean. I am hesitant to stress the Tang out by netting it, as you alluded. For now, I will observe and hope that the Cleaner ultimately resolves the issue. Ron <")))>< <Ahh! This is what I would do as well. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Unusual growth on Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) 04/14/2008 Bob/Crew, <Ron> I know that you often hear about "our" problems but may not get updates as to the resolution of the issue. In any case, I wanted to follow up on the alleged parasitic growth on my Zebrasoma Xanthurum. It seems that patience, a good cleaning crew, an enriched/diverse diet and good water quality has allowed the Tang to fight off the parasite(s). I noticed that the growth had begun to loosen it's grip and I often attempted to suck it off as I siphoned the rock work to remove detritus (The Tang diligently follows the airline tubing as I siphon and forages on the rocks). ; ) I was not successful per se but the growth did ultimately fall off about a week ago. Thanks again for your guidance! http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2209/2313918656_e5efe6cfe2.jpg Ron <")))>< <Indeed... this I do count as success. Thanks for the follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Purple tang barb -- 09/14/07 Hello, <Doug> First of all - great site! I've been getting into marine fish for about 8 months now and have found your site to be a tremendous resource. Here is a problem I haven't found the answer to in your FAQ's (although if it's there please do point me in the right direction). <Would do...> First my system specs: 120 Gallons 80lbs of live rock 80lbs of live sand EV-120 protein skimmer (with mag 5 pump) makes about 3 cm of skimmate a day. FX-5 canister filter NH4: 0 NO2: 0 NO3: 8 Do weekly 10% water changes Did a 20% water change today just to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. Fish: 2 Ocellaris clown (not originally an official pair but now are essentially a pair) - each about 1.5 inches 2 maroon clowns (mated pair) - each about 2 inches <Keep your eyes on... one, the female will become the alpha fish here> 1 purple tang - about 4 inches long 1 very small juv imperator angel (about 1 inch) <Wow! Will need more room> 2 cleaner shrimp an assortment of snails and crabs as a cleanup crew I have plans to upgrade to a 300 gallon once the fish outgrow the 120. <Oh, good> Three days ago I added a semilarvatus butterfly. <Mmmm... need more room again> Initially the purple tang acted very territorial and went after the butterfly anytime they came near each other. She would try and hit her with her tail spike (the "switch-blade"). The purple tang made contact as far as I can tell just one time leaving the butterfly with a small scratch that has healed remarkably well in the last three days. However, during this strike the purple tang appears to have injured her "switch-blade". Since then it has been sticking out perpendicular to the direction it usually lies and almost has the appearance as if it was pealed outward. <I see this... does happen> The purple tangs behavior has been otherwise completely normal. She has calmed down and is acting very peacefully toward the butterfly. She swims around the tank like usual, eats with her usual veracious appetite and does not appear to be in any distress. However, in the last three days her barb does not seem to be getting better. One time I thought she was not using her tail fin in the direction of the barb as much as the other direction (but, I'm probably over-reading this and she does use it some in both directions). Will this injury heel on it's own or should I do something to help the fish? <Will likely heal on its own> Thanks so much for your help and for your wonderful site. Doug Ps- I've attached some pictures of the purple tang and the infamous barb. DSC01283 and DSC01284 appear to show it the best. Note: the white spots you'll see on the tang are bubbles. I shot these pictures right after a water change and a few of the bubbles created attached to the tang. They are now gone. <Okay... Often, collected tangs of many species have their "spikes" cut back (along with their first few dorsal and sometimes anal fin spines...) with a large "nail clipper" to prevent damage to the catch and handler, bags... and these almost always grow back w/o incident... However, completely torn or too-damaged "tangs" do not regenerate... Which I believe is the case here... But the specimen can live a good long life w/o this defensive device. Bob Fenner>

Re: Purple tang barb 9/16/07 Thanks much. It looks like it's healing. <Ah good. BobF>

HLLE in Zebrasoma xanthurum 4/26/07 Dear Crew, <Greetings, Jim. GrahamT with you tonight.> I have a pressing problem here, and I could really use your help. I've got a sick purple tang, and I'm not sure what it is, so I don't know how to treat it. First a little background. <Excellent.> I have two main tanks, a 150 long fish-only, and a 150 show reef. The occupants of the fish-only are large animals, many of which I have been keeping for years. Some I've raised from babies to what I must assume is full grown. <Perhaps, but maybe not...> Here's what is in there: Volitans Lion, Foxface, mated pair of Blue Jaw Triggers, Narrow Lined Dog Face Puffer, Raccoon Butterfly, a Green Bird Wrasse, and now a Purple Tang. <Wow, that is a lot of fishes for a small enclosure like that!> Water parameters are: Ammonia and Nitrite undetectable, Nitrates run as high as 70-80 before a water change, but since it's fish-only, that has never been a problem. <That is one opinion. Mine would go like this: since your fish have been in this environment for a long time, they have adapted to the less-than ideal water condition. New additions; i.e.., purple tang, would be stressed and mal-affected by this. Don't be fooled by their apparent "wellness." These fish would be better off thinned-out and with less nitrates.> Temp is around 78, ph 8.2. After reading several articles about the benefits of hyposalinity and its safety for most fish, I keep the salinity a little low, around 1.015-1.016, to reduce the threat of parasites, especially crypts, which wiped out the entire tank eight years ago. <Bummer.> It's been that way for about six years and doesn't seem to have had any negative effect. I've also only had one case of ich, and it went away on it's own. Because the fish are large and somewhat aggressive, I can almost never find a fish to purchase which is large enough to add directly (which is generally okay because the tank is pretty full and I rarely add fish). <"Pretty full" is a mild understatement of fact IMO.> Most of the time I end up buying smaller fish and raising them in another tank, either the reef or one of my smaller tanks (55 or 42). In fact, that is part of my plan: before I buy a fish, I find out how big it will grow, and then try figure out where I will put it now, and where it will live when full grown. I hate it when people buy fish that will get too large for any tank they have (i.e. Naso's in a 55--I wouldn't even keep one in my 150). <Hmm, I might make a similar case about the puffer that reaches around 12"...> Such was the case with the purple tang. I purchased him small about 1 1/2 years ago from a LFS, and added him to the reef tank--he did great. Last year, I also added a chevron tang--only about 1" long! I had ordered him direct from Hawaii, and was scared when I saw how small he was when he arrived, but he did great. I knew that if they both lived and grew, one would eventually need to move somewhere else, and I had it in mind to move the purple to the fish-only all along. About a month ago, that day came. I moved the purple to the fish-only, and after a few initial skirmishes with the large Foxface, everything was fine. For about a week. Then I noticed a few white spots on the tang. Thought it was ich, and decided to leave it alone and observe carefully--I find that my efforts to "treat" fish are almost never successful, so it's better just to keep water quality good and wait and see. There hasn't been an ich outbreak in that tank for years. Well, the spots didn't get rapidly worse, nor did they spread to other fish. There's no rapid breathing, no scratching, no loss of color, he's eating heartily and acting normally. Only behavioral change is that he's constantly begging the other fish to clean him. Rather than spreading rapidly across his body, the spots have gotten larger, too large to be ich. Occasionally I swear I can see a wormlike shape to some of them. And now he's developing open lesions wherever the spots have been present the longest. This is mostly along the lateral line, around the head, especially the creases in the gill flaps, and the caudal peduncle, near the scalpels. <Huge hints here: "...mostly along the lateral line , around the head..."> I really don't think it is HLLE, though, because of the spots, and because it isn't limited to the head and lateral line. <Think again.> I've read all the pages concerning diseases. I don't think it is crypts, or velvet, Brooklynellosis, or black-spot. Doesn't look like any isopods or macro-parasites to me. Maybe flukes or some other parasitic worm? He never showed any sign of it in the reef, only on moving to the fish-only. I don't like trying to maintain a therapeutic level of copper, but I did dose the tank last week with Organicure (150 drops, twice, two days apart). No difference. <Wouldn't expect a difference in one week, let alone used in the main tank. As FAQs state, copper is readily absorbed into calcareous substrates, so bare-bottomed QT is the best way to compliment use of copper-based treatment. Furthermore, the best advice I can give on HLLE is nutrition and low stress levels.> I could really use some advice. Do I leave him there and wait it out, even though it seems to be getting worse? Do I try to remove him to a hospital tank (20G) and treat him there? <I would look into proper diet and nutrition. The stress of the move killed his depressed immune system.> I AM worried about secondary infection, but getting him out of a 150 with 200 lbs of rock won't be fun. <No doubt. I wouldn't bother at this point. Stress is the enemy in a sick fish.> If I do, what is the correct treatment? Copper? Hyposalinity? Antibiotics? Malachite green bath? <Treat for HLLE. Read all the info we have about it; i.e.., nutrition, diet, water quality, etc.> Do I put him back in the reef, where I have a cleaner goby, fire shrimp and a skunk cleaner shrimp who might get rid of whatever it is? That seems like it might be the safest bet, though I'm not sure how well the chevron would take to his re-introduction. <Again, don't bother stressing him more, unless the water quality is much better in the reef. I will add that your FOWLR is still in a dangerous position bio-load-wise.> I am sorry this is so very long, but I wanted you to have all the pertinent background and information. I am also attaching a picture, since I know that a picture is worth a thousand words. Please advise. And thanks AGAIN for all you guys do. <Got the pic and I see HLLE right in front of me.> Jim Jensen P.S. a few more pictures of the various diseases would be really helpful on the disease pages. <This will be there, at least!> P.P.S. How long do Foxface live and how big do they get in captivity? I've had mine for about seven years, and it's approaching eight inches long and over an inch thick! <Subjective, but I would say 5-10 years and not much bigger than that in the best of captive conditions.> His black spot has also become a sort of stripe along the top of his body. <-GrahamT> Re: HLLE in Zebrasoma xanthurum pt.2 4/26/07 GrahamT, Thanks for the quick reply. You really think 7 fish is too much for a 150 gallon tank? <It's not about numbers, but full-grown size and diet. The waste is overwhelming your ability to export it (NO370-80ppm).> I can't imagine having a six foot tank taking up half my living room with only 3 fish in it. I just rechecked my Nitrates (I hadn't checked in a long time). I guess the new protein skimmer (actually the old one from my reef, which got upgraded to a new one) is working a lot better than the antique I had on it until a couple months ago, because Nitrates are around 5 ppm. <Ahh, well that's a different story. Now we're just talking about the stress of a bunch of large fish sharing (what is to them) a small space.> I know that there is clear evidence of damage along the lateral line, but that is not the only place, and there are large white "lumps" and "strings" attached to the fish's skin in various places, including the sides away from the lateral line. I've got to think that is some type of parasite. <You are the one who's there. I'll defer to your proximity.> I've attached a couple more photos to try to make it clear. As I said, the fish did great in the reef (and yes, the nitrates in the reef are undetectable). <I see the pics. On that side, the lesions appear to be more like abrasions, from fighting, perhaps? The other side of the fish (pictured in the first message) looks like a classic case of HLLE to me.> <<No pix moved to move... RMF>> As for diet, I feed Spectrum pellets, Omega One Super Veggie Kelp, Omega One Veggie Rounds, Seaweed Selects Kelp, Romaine, Plankton, Krill, and Formula One. What else do you suggest? <A vacation to the reef? I think the stress has gotten to the little guy. It's your call whether or not to move him back to the reef. You can't be sure if that will be the cure for him or not. I discourage treating whole systems for one ailing newcomer, but you can try Metronidazole with food (not only in the water) if you do try meds.> Jim <HTH -GrahamT> Ich Question 3/15/07 Good evening, WetWeb Crew! <Hello> I have what is probably considered the most common of problems in marine aquaria, and what I hope will be a solution that you guys feel is appropriate. Here is some background: I purchased a 2" purple tang from a reputable local fish store recently. Trying for due diligence, I followed the recommended acclimation, fresh water dip, etc, before sending my new friend to a 29 gal. quarantine. <Good routine.> After the first day, he was eating well on the LFS recommended Oraglo food and a small piece of Nori. <Good> The following day, he ate well, but I noticed a small white monster on his left fin. After work, there were a few more on the other. I checked the parameters of the tank and they were as follows: SPG: 1.025, Amm: 0 Nitrites:0 Nitrates:~5ppm PH:8.3 Temp is steady at ~80 degrees <Good> The problem I face as of tonight is that I was just informed that I'm going to be ordered out of town on assignment as of Saturday. <Always at the wrong time.> I'm leaving my tanks in the care of a local aquarist, but I'm not so sure about trying to have him keep a copper regimen in place. <Tough to ask someone to do, also with tangs copper is not really the best choice.> My options, as I see them, are: 1. Taking the fish to a LFS and paying for the fish to be hospitalized by them. <Probably best if you trust them and they have the facilities to do it.> 2. Bringing up a smaller tank (probably a 10 gallon), doing a good freshwater dip, and housing the fish in the smaller tank while I disinfect the 29 and refill it, and then adding a cleaner shrimp and/or neon goby to the 29 with the tang. <These won't really help much with ich, neither feed on it naturally, and the goby is likely to become a victim.> My main question is, do you have any other suggestions given my dilemma? Or do you have anything you would add to the above suggestions? <If your LFS is able to care of it that would be my first choice, otherwise hyposalinity would be the way I would go, assuming you are not going to be out of town too long. Premix the water and see if your fish sitter would be willing to do a water change for you. I feel less can go wrong here since you will still control the parameters than treating with copper or formalin.> Thank you guys for an invaluable resource.. You've not only kept me well informed, but also sane on long days at work.. Cheers! Aaron <Good luck.> <Chris>

Purple Tang beh... - 03/10/07 Hello WWM Crew, <<Hello Patrick, Lisa Brown here.>> I've looked around for some answers to this question with no avail. I have had a purple tang for about a month now. He is eating normally. His color looks very healthy. (Dark Purple) There are no signs of Lateral Line Disease, which seems to plaque many of these tangs. He looks and acts very healthy. <<Sounds great so far.>> Here is the problem. This fish gets small pieces of substrate caught in his skin or scales. I have two cleaner shrimp that he constantly goes to get cleaned, and they do take most of it off, but he just can't seem to be rid of this problem as more substrate gets caught on him after he has been cleaned. I am worried about this causing a possible parasitic infection. Please let me know what I should do. <<Will not 'cause' a parasite to show up'¦may be a sign of one already around. Are you certain that what you are seeing is substrate, and not the encysted parasite? If you are 100% sure that it is indeed substrate, how is he getting it onto himself? Is he 'flashing' against rocks and the bottom of the tank? I can't understand how else he would manage this.>> Thanks in advance. Patrick C. <<Glad to help. Lisa Brown.>>

Beat up and faded Purple Tang. (Proof-read?) 2/2/07 <Hi Erin. What follows is an example of poor E-penmanship. So as to shorten your Tang's suffering, I will try to help. Be advised: With each post that I have to decide whether I send it back for correction, ignore it, or correct it myself, I get a little shorter to ignore the content of said communications. That said, read these links and anything you feel relevant to your case here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs2.htm (This one may look particularly pertinent to you...) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs3.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Tangdisease.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimopmntfaq14.htm (Scroll to the post, "Watchman goby and Nori, and skimmer op. 1/16/07" And follow-up with some searches here on WWM for Selcon, nutrition, etc.> Hi i am Erin Duggan and i just got a purple tang from a local fish store that was extremely beaten up and his color has almost totally faded. I was wondering if you could possibly offer me suggestions to help me in nursing the fish back to health. I currently have him in a 10 gallon "hospital" tank, which i am afraid might not be big enough for him but it is necessary to keep him away from my more aggressive fish in my other tank. What types of foods or vitamins or supplements can i feed it or put in the water to darken his color back up? The fish is faded to the point of which it appears there is scaring almost on its nose and front face. Is there anything in particular that i can do for that? Also i was wondering if there is anything that i can do to help speed up the healing process of the fins, this guy is in such bad shape that the dorsal and pectoral fin look like they have had big bites taken out of it which was probably the case). I adopted the fish to try and give it a chance at surviving instead of just being harassed by the other fish at the store. Hopefully you can offer me some advice that may help me to do so. There is a picture attached in this email that shows its condition. Does that appear to be lateral line disease? or is his color just so bad? <HTH -GrahamT> -Erin

Sick purple tang please help! 9/26/06 I hope you can help us, We have a 55 gallon tank. <Too small for a Zebrasoma in the mid-upper size ranges> Ammonia .025 Salt 1.022 PH 8.3 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Temp 82 We have had the tang for a month. He has been active ever day lights on or off. He has gotten along with a Tomato Clown and two damsels. <Apparently not now...> Last night he started just hanging around the bottom of the tank, he was not swimming nearly as much. Over the last two weeks we have noticed a couple white spots on his body (possib. ich) but his belly area being a whiter color. Today he is just laying on the bottom, upside down, swimming upside down <Very bad...> and his white belly <White?> has gotten bigger. We are sooo sad. How can we fix him? <Bigger system, more suitable tankmates, possibly quarantine, prophylactic treatment for internal troubles...> We are doing a water change, added ammo lock and cleaned the tank. <Not useful> We will shut off the lights for 24 hours as well. ( I have been trying to figure out what to do from all of the other postings) We really want to save him. Please help! S & L Tang owners <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/z_xanthurum.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

White spots (bacteria?) on purple tang 6/9/06 Hello. I recently purchased a purple tang from a LFS. Within 3 days he broke out in ich <Hopefully quarantined...> and what appear as dull white spots on his body (none on the fins). The cleaner shrimp took care of the ich within 2 days, but the white spots stayed. I believe it may be some sort of bacteria, possibly fungi. <Not...> The spots are approximately 2-3 times the size of the ich parasites and duller in color. They are also flatter against the fish's body than ich which appears as tiny grains of salt. I placed the fish in a QT tank <After? Then this is a treatment tank> and have treated for 4 days with Maracyn-Two and Melafix, <...> but with no success. The fish appears healthy (eats like a horse and is very active) other than the spots. I read on WWM that vitamins such as VitaChem and Selcon help against HLLE and overall just improve the immune system. Should I try this method, or continue treating with antibacterial medications? <I would switch> Is there anything other than Maracyn Two you can recommend if antibacterial meds is the way to go? Thank you for your help Jon <... I would not use antimicrobials here... The spots are likely simply residual stress markings from the Crypt, "treatments"... You can't see the microbes mentioned. Bob Fenner>

With an itch (seven year?) 11/17/05 Hopefully this is acceptable WWB etiquette but I would like to ask a another couple questions regarding a different fish. <Okay> Based on the earlier e-mail I felt it was safe to move ahead with getting the Purple Tang for my 75 gallon (20 g sump). My LFS has ordered one for me and it should arrive later this week. I'm in the process of getting my QT (15 gallon) set up for it arrival. I plan using the WWB <Who?> <<That's what I've been asking you! MH>> suggested method of a sponge filter (has been main sump for +6 months), heater, power head, no lighting. I plan feeding Nori soaked in Selcon and Caulerpa. <Okay, but bad English> Would you recommend that I do a freshwater and/or Methylene blue dip before putting the tang into the QT? <Yes> Also what medication/treatment would you suggest if the tang comes down with Ich while in the QT? <... groan... this is posted> <<Ad nauseum.>> They seem to be prone to it so I would like to be prepared just in case I need to act quickly. <Yes> Also is there anything else you recommend I do to insure the success of the purple tang? <Please... read... here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/z_xanthurum.htm and the linked files above> This my first time using a QT so I am still learning the ends and outs. After experiencing the problems of not using a QT, I felt it was prudent for both me and the fish give at try. Thanks again for you time. Shad Shriver <Please learn to/use WWM... Bob Fenner>

Spots on Purple Tang 9/30/05 A group of spots in one general area on only one side of the tang. Not Ick. Been there since I purchased the tang approx 1 month ago. Look almost like bubbles on individual scales; you can see the convex shape when the tang is viewed from the front or back. I can't find a picture or reference on WWM or other sites. I haven't tried any cures / medications save the "healthy environment, healthy fish" attitude. <Good> Tang shows minimal discomfort but I want him to be as healthy as possible. Any ideas? <Very likely evidence of an internal protozoan complaint... likely microsporidean... not catching, nor very debilitating. If it were mine, I would do "nothing" in the way of medication... These pathogens do come/go of their own accord.> Thanks in advance, and in retrospect, for all the advice shared online, <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang with horrible HLLE (and he does mean HORRIBLE)... Will he recover with time (this is not due to my neglect but purchased with some other tank inhabitants from a tank being torn down)? What specifically should I be feeding him? <Vitamins A, D, E enriched foods, supplements to the water... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the next Related FAQ file... linked above> I was thinking frozen Marine A/brine shrimp with Zoecon and garlic. His behavior is normal but he sure is ugly. I doubt I could even find him a home if I did want to get rid of him for a healthier specimen. I wouldn't want to kill him in favor of a new fish but I can't have two in a 150 and a fish store certainly isn't going to take him... Thanks for all the help, y'all rock! Cheers, Marshall <Use of "mud" filtration has been shown to improve this condition remarkably as well... basically any/all efforts at improving water quality and/or nutrition are to the good. Bob Fenner>

Re: Purple Tang with horrible HLLE - There IS Hope! Bob, Thanks for the reply. Given his current state and taking the nutritional recommendations to heart (am always trying to improve water quality), what would you estimate his recovery to be? Expect him to look more normal to the point where people don't wonder what's wrong with that fish (restoration of the dorsal fin, reduced scarring)? Cheers, Marshall <I have witnessed "terrible" cases of neuromast destruction, involving surrounding tissue, that were completely, undetectably cured. Bob Fenner>

Purple tang with fading belly Hi Crew,<Hi Dan, MacL here with you tonight> How's everybody in the WWM world? <Can't speak for everyone but I'm beat, its been a long day lol> I have a purple tang 3.5 inches in my 50G with my 1 yr old. blackback butterfly getting ready for release in my 8x2x2 has been running now for almost 3 months! <Very nice sized tank, I am envious> still empty! and YES! I cannot wait to start stocking woohooo! I bought this guy 6 weeks ago, 4 weeks in quarantine. <Fantastic> It was on sale for AU$99 normal price is $150 good deal?. <Honestly I am not familiar with Aussie prices but from what I understand that's about par> I put sheets of Nori twice a day and he is eating well. Angel formula, Bloodworms, Marine greens, Fresh mussels once a week. <Great, especially with the Nori, they are a grazing fish and they need their greens.> There is good amount of live rocks sorry I lost track of how much I have. Question, He is deeply purpled except for the belly underneath it looks faded. Is this normal? <Its something seen on a lot of tangs. I can tell you that mine are a bright purple over all, including on their stomach. One thing I can recommend is that you might want to add some vitamins, like Selcon or Zoë or something similar.> or is it nutritional deficiency. <I can't imagine it would be with the Nori you are feeing it> It cant be the water, everything was tested fine. <Fine is hard to define. One thing tangs do need is a lot of oxygenation in their tank, lots of oxygen exchange.> I do weekly 5% water change. I am planning on releasing the butterfly first settle in for two weeks I am putting 7 butterflies in total. <Adding all those butterflies into a tank might be a problem unless they are schooling butterflies, but I'm sure you have done your research on that> All hardy picks from Bob's list then I will place the purple last. <Probably good idea because they tend to be aggressive> Thank you again for your time. Wish you all the best!!! <So kind of you Dan, please let us know how it goes!> Regards Dan One Eyed Wonder! (Purple Tang With A Missing Eye) Hi! <Hey there! Scott F. with you tonight!> I have a few concerns with my reef aquarium that I hope you can help me with. I'm addressing everything I'm not sure about here at once, so I hope it's not too long!!! <I've got a large Thai Iced Tea, so no problem...> The first is about my Purple Tang. It lost one of it's eyes to injury 5 days ago (eye completely gone leaving empty socket), and as soon as one of it's tank mates, a Lunar Wrasse, realized it was injured, it started harassing, sometimes attacking the Tang. <An unfortunate, but common behavior> This Wrasse has killed weakened tank-mates before and has proven itself to be a pest in general (although very entertaining with lots of personality any other time! Sad to see it go.... had it for 2 years), so the next day it had to be caught & taken back to the shop, which was not an easy task and involved dismantling half of the reef to catch! <never a fun thing to do, but sometimes necessary under such circumstances> Needless to say, this was very stressful for the injured Tang. But it was the only way to salvage it that I could think of. It is now starting to recover and trying to finding it's way around etc. <That's nice to hear> It was showing a bit of a pop-eye in the one remaining after being beaten around, but this has now been gone for 2 days. <Usually, this condition will clear up on its own, given nice clean water conditions. Or, you can utilize Epsom salts to help reduce the swelling> The problem I have now, is that it does not seem to be able to find the food I put in the tank, and when it does see some, misses when it goes to catch it. I feed 'Sea Veggies', frozen shrimp with greens, and 'spectrum' pellets when in a rush. I've tried tearing up lettuce and taking it down to the Tang with tongs, but it is too afraid to approach (and I don't think it likes lettuce much anyway...). <Lettuce and "terrestrial" greens are really not good choices for tangs, IMO.> Do you have any feeding suggestions I could try? <Get some of my favorite macroalgae, Gracilaria parvispora, AKA "Ogo" or "Tang Heaven". You can order this awesome algae directly from Indo Pacific Sea Farms on line> I have been dosing with 'Melafix' (a eucalyptus antibacterial) to avoid infection. All seems good so far, but I am wondering how long the eye should take to heal over, and what it will actually look like when it does. That is, will it just have a membrane-like growth over the cavity or should the scales join up? <Hard to say, really. Usually, there is membrane over the injury, as opposed to scales. It probably depends upon where the injury occurred> I'd like to know what to expect so I know when it is completely healed. This Tang often had little pieces nipped out of it's fins, but they have always grown back within a week, and I think it was in good health before it's injury. I hope I am right! <If it was in good shape before the injury, odds are that it can make a reasonably good recovery> FYI- tank is 4 ft, has been running for about 3 years, with corals ( I really don't know which ones, but both hard and soft) for 2 years. I have an Aquaclear 500 filter and Cosmo 2000 powerhead (no skimmer, I change 25% fortnightly using RO topups), 2 white & 2 actinic blue globes for lighting. Water parameters all normal, Ca- 425 ppm, pH- 8.1, Alkalinity- 3.5, Ammonia, Nitrites & Nitrates zero (although probably more right now since stirring up the substrate while moving the rocks around, I haven't checked since! I know, I am bad... will change water in 2days anyway), Phosphate- 2ppm, am still working on this, using SeaChem PhosGuard. <Don't forget quality source water, aggressive skimming, and regular use of activated carbon!> Remaining tankmates are only 1 Pacific Blue Tang and a Percula Clown, plus various snails/ little crabs. I know there is a Pistol Shrimp, and judging by all the noise I think there is a Mantis in there also, which I am trying to catch. I am not sure how to tell the difference between mantis clicks & pistol clicks though. <Not sure myself!> I have seen the pistol's claws once so I know what that one is, but never seen the other/s (there may be many others all clicking at once- I really don't know!) in all the years I have been hearing it! Plus, I have only ever 'lost' one damsel over a year ago, so that makes me a bit suspicious, too. They live at opposite ends of the reef and one will only click once or twice at a time, the other/s will click up to 6 times in short succession. Is there any way to identify without seeing? <Not to my knowledge...> I'm trying to catch them using a water bottle with a tube in the end & bait inside the bottle, since one of them broke the trap I bought previously... <Smart little buggers, huh?> Am getting a little nervous having them around my disabled fish now! Any baiting ideas you have would be much appreciated. <Check out this link: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm > Anyway, that's it! Apologies for writing you a novel to get through! Thanks very much for taking the time to read, and I really appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks again!!! Bye! Emma <My pleasure, Emma! I may not have been able to give you the exact answers to your questions, but I hope I was able to get you headed in the right direction. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Help! Purple Tang has turned brown-green and won't eat Hi, Thanks for your excellent web-site. I've kept marine aquariums for almost 5 years now, and have a problem I've never encountered, and can't find a reference on the web. My purple tang, who for 3 or 4 months has been very fat and healthy (along with all the other residents of the tank) has over the past 10 days: 1) stopped eating, and 2) changed color over most of his body (looks like he's been covered with grey/green dust). (He's still purple on his sides where his fins fold back against his body) 3) I don't observe any ulcerations, holes, or fin damage. I've tried enticing him with different foods (Ocean Nutrition's "Formula 1", "Formula 2", and "Brine Shrimp Plus", Frozen brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, Waltham's "Aquarian", Aquatrol's "Spirulina 20", "Nutrafin Max", freeze-dried krill... but he still has no appetite. He won't even eat lettuce, which he used to devour. He has become more shy, and will hide when I walk up to the tank (he used to do this on occasion, but now does it every time). When he doesn't know he's being observed I can see that he is still pretty active, but has started to look really gaunt in the back half of his body. Specs: 100 Gallon Uniquarium, fish only, habitually understocked (other inhabitants are 6" blonde Naso, 5" Foxface, 3" flame angel, 3" long-nosed hawkfish, 3 small damsels) Uniquarium has: - venturi protein skimmer - foam-block pre-filters - carbon bag chemical filters - wet/dry bio-balls biological - I don't know the GPM on the power head, but it's the one that came with the Uniquarium Feeding - I usually feed mostly flake (variety of Formula 1, Formula 2, and Brine Shrimp Plus), and usually a full leaf of Romaine lettuce daily. <Ahh, much here. I would look to environmental/nutritional causes from the above. The bio-filtration produces nitrates which should come down to less than 40. The lower the better, but difficult with the type of filtration you have. Now, for primary cause in my opinion...diet, which is contributing to parasites, bacterial, or fungal condition. This fish eats vegetative matter in the wild and needs it in captivity. Land based foods like lettuce are inadequate. Feed Nori, algae, perhaps Caulerpa, etc. The Formula 2 *frozen* food would be a good addition as well as soaking foods in Selcon. Brine shrimp is like Ho-Ho's or Twinkies. Brine shrimp plus is like those frosted donuts.> Maintenance - I do 15-20 gallon changes every 2 weeks; ammonia & nitrite always at 0, nitrate sometimes as high as 80ppm but usually 20 or 40. Copper is 0. Temp stays at 79, salinity at 1.023. Everybody else in the tank is very fat, healthy, active, peaceful, and happy. Help! Thanks - Joel Sweat <I would work on optimizing water and diet. QT if needed to control disease and treat as needed. Start with a FW dip. Raise temp to 83 in QT. Most likely ick/velvet or bacterial from overall stress, diet, nitrates. Please write if you need further assistance, Craig>

Sick purple tang I have a purple tang that I had in a qt tank for about three weeks and just put him in my 50 gallon reef tank about a week ago. Since then he has been eating but has just started to get ick then the next night I noticed a blister like white spot on his left side and an indention directly below it but it does not look like he is starving (especially since he is eating well). His diet consists of formula two with Spirulina some dried seaweed and live seaweed and some frozen brine shrimp. Hope you can help thanks in advance. Dan <This could have been caused by a stressful acclimation. I would move the fish back to the quarantine tank for treatment; once he is back in shape try placing him in the display again. Checkout the disease section of WWM, you should be able to identify the pathogen in question and how to treat it. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm With proper treatment you should be able to clear this up -- Good luck, Gage>

Purple Tang Dilemma Good afternoon to you all! <<And good morning to you, JasonC here.>> I have a reef system (set up for about 8 months now). I have now encountered my first problem. My 4 inch purple tang has some sort of illness but I'm not sure what. He has been flashing around the tank and now has white splotches (not white spots like with ick). I'm concerned that it might be marine velvet. <<It could be...>> What I don't understand is that he has been in the tank for about 3mths and all inhabitants before and since have been quarantined for at least 2wks. <<Hmmm... well, two weeks of quarantine is a little short, I like to shoot for a month or more, just because it can take a while for parasitic problems to show themselves. But I don't want to beat you up over quarantine - to do this at all is better than many.>> My tang is now in the hospital tank and I'm wondering if I should just freshwater dip him every other day or should I use something more drastic like CopperSafe. <<I would start with the dips - do make sure you match the pH of the dip water to that of the quarantine tank. Try to avoid the copper for a little while if you can - copper often causes problems for the tangs as it kills off unique fauna in their gut. I'd wait and see how the dips go - perhaps for a week. As long as the fish is eating and getting around well, you've got some time.>> Awaiting your wisdom, Christina 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, < 5 nitrate, spg 1.024, pH 8.2, alk 3.2 meq/L Ca 420,water change every 2wks <<Sounds good. Cheers, J -- >>

Purple Tang Dear Mr. Fenner, Mr. Calfo, or Mr. Pro, I appreciate you guys answering my question about adding fish to my aquarium, that I asked you guys a few days ago. Now I just have one more question that I hope you can help me with. I will be receiving a Purple Tang that has outgrown a fellow marine fish enthusiasts tank, and I will be putting it in a 150 gallon aquarium. My question is, I have a 29 gallon quarantine tank set up for it, and I was wondering if you felt that this would be a big enough tank for it, <It should be unless the fish is very large, over 6" long.> and also how long you would quarantine it for, <In this particular instance since it is not coming from a store and should be coming from a healthy environment, you could shorten the QT period to two weeks IF the fish behaves perfectly the entire time. Otherwise, one month.> if after a few days of being in quarantine it shows no signs of illness or disease and it is active and eating? <Two weeks is the absolute minimum.> Also, do you think that a freshwater/ Methylene blue dip both before and after quarantine would be helpful in this situation? <In this situation, probably not needed. Again, do to you getting this fish from a fellow hobbyist versus a store.> I have read all your articles on these subjects, and I am just confirming that you agree with my course of action. Thank you very much, I appreciate your help! Craig S <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Purple tang Hi! I have a Purple tang for about 4 month in a 75 gal reef tank with only 1 Tomatoe clown & 2 cleaner Shrimp., several snails and hermits. I feed the Purple tang twice a day. Once Seaweed Selects and once either Frozen Spirulina-Formula 2 or Kelp which I rotate. Twice a week I soak the seaweed in Zoe and Zoecon. Recently I noticed White spots over the purple tangs body. They are not bubble-like or really look like ich. They just seem to be dis-colorations from head to tail. At looks the fish seems fine and they can only be seen from a certain angle. They have recently grown in numbers. The tang doesn't rub up/ scratch against any of the rock and still has a great appetite. Is this ich or some other disease? <tough to say from the description but tangs are indeed very susceptible to external parasites. Temperature changes between night and day (house air conditioning, etc) and cool water changes are culprits commonly> I have recently noticed the tang has been hanging out with one of the cleaner shrimp. Could this be irritation from the cleaner shrimp cleaning at him? <not likely... the tang would avoid the shrimp if so... sounds like the tang has an infection and is looking for cleaning service> Should this fish be quarantined? <definitely, my friend. Continue the good feeding. Keep stable temp. Do water changes form a bare bottomed QT tank. FW dips for 7-10 days and medicate with formalin or tested copper if necessary. Ideally a 4 week QT stay to be sure> Please let me now what you think. Thanks for your time! - Ron <best regards, Anthony>

Ick on my purple tang Hello, I recently bought a purple tang which was a pretty decent size, I added him directly to my reef tank and of course he got ick within a few days . After a week I noticed he was not getting any better in fact worse now he would not eat and swimming lethargic at the top so I took him out and put him in a 10 gal tank with just a rock to hide behind, a filter and a powerhead for oxygen. I am using rid ich medication and changing water everyday he got better the first week, and started eating again. I am supplementing my frozen foods with garlic, Zoë and marine c vitamin, he was getting better everyday the first week, on my second week now, I have noticed he is breathing very rapidly and he constantly stay s almost completely pale white hardly any color but as soon as I walk in the room he comes out to eat but still stays discolored I have been checking my water parameters daily and everything is fine. By the way there is no light on the tank at all. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks or help ! <Stop the Rid Ick, perform a FW dip as per directions on WetWebMedia.com, change water in QT to remove Rid Ick and dose with copper at 0.25ppm for two weeks, then two weeks w/o copper. Test copper twice daily with the proper test for the copper you use. Hold your main tank fallow of fish for at least one month. There are no short cuts. Please QT all new fish for at least two weeks before introduction to display with healthy fish. There is much valuable information available on WWM. Type "ick", "copper" and "quarantine" in the google search engine at the bottom of the page. Let us know if you need more help! Craig>

Purple tang questions Received a 5" purple tang and neon goby five days ago did the FWD (temp/ph matched with Meth blue) and that was sure stressful and least for me. <Been there, done that...I know how you feel!> First the tang goes out of the net, jumps about a foot in the air (landing back in the bucket) then lays upside down, nose first with all its fin held rigid. Could see the gill plates moving so left in for 5 minutes. <Mayday! Mayday! Your fish was under severe stress. In the future if a fish behaves this way, skip the dip. Some fish do great with FWD others not so well. Each fish is an individual. Use a quarantine tank instead> Then when I placed in the tank, it just laid on its side at the surface, after about 15 seconds, I poked it a couple of times, before it swan to the bottom of the tank. Anyway my questions, small white dot on lower part of eye. Looks more circular than in picture, thought it might be sand like the other dots that had me going but this is staying, Ich? <Personally, I never freak out about one spot of anything. Keep the water temp very stable, and the water quality high. Let's don't call it ich yet> Second question, just before the tang voided noticed there was white 2" thread like streamer, could this be an internal parasite? <Could be but I don't think I would worry. A fish voiding during a FWD is a certain sign of severe stress. Keep the tank temp very stable and the water quality high...and leave this guy alone for now... unless something obvious crops up> Had some long strands of hair algae that the tang been cleaning up. < If the poor fellow is eating that's definitely a good sign. I am inclined to think that you scared this guy literally almost to death and he needs time to recuperate. If you have a quarantine tank I would move him there just so he could relax and begin to feel at home. If you don't have a QT consider setting one up before your next fish purchase. For now, leave this fish alone...but watch closely> Thanks and Merry Christmas <Happy holidays to you and yours! David Dowless>

Purple Tang Question? >I have a purple tang with ich. I have a 75 gallon tank with about 80 pounds of live rock. I have 1 brown Lobophyllia and 1 bulb anemone. I have a clean-up crew which is 2 brittle stars, 1 sea cucumber, 2 peppermint shrimp, 1 cleaner shrimp, 2 emerald crabs, and several red legged hermits and turbo snails. My fish are the purple tang, six-line wrasse, 2 green Chromis, blue spotted goby, and a tomato clown. About a week ago I noticed my tang came down with ich really bad. He was totally covered with the ich. It was so bad I didn't think he was going to make it. I don't have a sick or quarantine tank so I decided to try and treat my tank with Kick-Ich. After the fist dose the tang seemed better. He seemed to do a little better each day of treatment. He is swimming around and eating like normal. Today makes exactly a week of treatment and he looks as bad as the first day I treated the tank. He swims over to the cleaner shrimp but it seems they can't make the connection. When the tang first came down with the ich the shrimp seemed like he was helping, but not anymore. Everyone in the tank is doing great. I feel so bad for the guy. Is there something you could suggest? He's a fighter and I would hate to lose him. >>Hi Randy. Truthfully, I would be remiss if I told you to try the Kick-ich again or any other similar treatment. The fact is that they are unproven as cures. There are two methods that I know of that are completely *proven* as cures for ich, and both absolutely require that you remove all vertebrates (unless your display had no inverts in it) to a q/t-hospital tank. They are hyposalinity and copper. I strongly suggest you set up a hospital system (it doesn't have to be devised of a fish tank, it can be any non-reactive watertight container), move all fish into it, and choose for them either of the two options. If you opt for hyposalinity, you'll need to bring it down to 1.010 or less. If you opt for copper, you'll need a test kit (those who say you can do this w/out the test kit are tempting fate). In the meantime, slightly increase your tank temperature to 82F and let it lie fallow for 6-8 weeks. I'm the "better safe than sorry" type and would let it go with no fish for 8 weeks. Kick-ich is pretty much a waste of money and you lose precious time when it comes to aggressively eradicating this persistent pest. >My water: >salinity is 1.024 >PH is 8.2 >ammonia 0 >nitrite 0 >nitrate 10 ppm >>If possible, try to get your nitrates at least in half. Persistent low levels have been associated with problems with disease and the like. Good luck! Marina

Re: Purple Tang Question? >Thank you for responding so quickly. >>Quite welcome, Randy. Sorry it wasn't in time. >I'm sad to say that over night my tang has died. What should be my next step? You suggested cutting my nitrates in half...how can I accomplish this? >>A 50% water change would do the trick, should cut them down to under 10, I would think. I need to let you know that your system is not free of ich, so if you plan to replace this fish with another tang (or similarly easily affected animal) you'll need to go the hospital tank route. >Once again thank you for your help...my only regret is not finding you sooner. >>Ours as well, but now you know. However, don't be too disheartened, as it's not uncommon for some species of fish to succumb to ich VERY quickly. This is why I get so irritated when shops sell something like Kick-ich, when it *won't* treat the ich (the cysts fall of no matter what--it's part of the lifecycle) and simply leaves the owner unaware. Here you are thinking you'd done something to treat the problem, but no. Anyway, in my opinion you want to also consider how you can best provide NSW (near sea water) conditions in as stress-free an environment, with the very best nutrition possible for your fish. This is *especially* true if you haven't got the hospital-q/t system (though I really stress q/t ALL new additions, minimum 30 days). These pathogens are present in the wild, and the fish can fight them off because they're quite healthy. When you have an animal that can't fight them off, it means there's an underlying problem. Wait to replace the fish, address these other issues, and I'm sure you'll have much better success. Marina

Purple Tang Purple Tang started showing few spots of ich, feed garlic soaked food and gave a FWD with Meth blue, spots disappeared overnight. It came back hard after about a week, still feeding garlic and giving 10-15 min FWD every couple of days but no real improvement. Fish seems okay with the dips, just getting harder to catch. Questions, how often can FWD's be given and should I expect the spots to drop off after the dip? At the start, spots would be gone after the dip but back by morning, now they don't seem to be dropping off at all. <FWD's are very stressful to all salt fish not to mention the stress of catching it daily. Many of the spots should drop off. However, this fish is getting weaker with each dip and that's making it more susceptible to ich infestation. My friend, do you have a quarantine tank? It would really come in handy. You could administer copper and get rid of the dips. If this interests you, please read about disease treatment at Wetwebmedia.com There is lots of information archived at this site...including directions for FWD's and a copper treatment. Please don't administer copper in your main tank> Thanks Mark <You're welcome. I'm just sorry that your having this problem...David Dowless>

Purple Tang / Brooklynella / Mouth Sore Hello panel, I have a 4" purple tang that after a year and a half in the 110 has had an outbreak that looked like Brooklynella; irregular whitish flaky patches (3 cleaner shrimp went nuts on these when the fish was sleeping), stopped eating, generally stayed facing a rock and struggled to keep balance, breathing was normal. I pH-adjusted-FW dipped with Meth Blue and put it in 10 ga hospital tank with Formalite II AND Neomycin (for secondary infection prevention). He was in this bath at recommended levels of medication for 14 days. Patches went away and I felt victorious (pride comes before a fall). In hospital tank, it developed a sore/pinkish reddish lesion covering his upper lip that won't go away. Not getting bigger or smaller. I couldn't control ammonia levels (at high end of Hagen test kit scale) with that size fish in such a 10 ga tank even with water changes so about 7 days ago I put it in a well cycled 30 ga quarantine tank that has 0 ammonia/nitrite/nitrate readings. I thought the ammonia was poisoning him and he seems to be doing better in 30 ga. Sore is still there but he is swimming a little more. Starting to get some HLLE beginning around eyes (probably water quality related) and this morning he has a small flaky white patch aft of gill cover (arghh!). It also twitches dorsal fin every second or two which is something new. Is it because he can see a yellow tang in another q-tank nearby? Is it something else? <Hmm, it could be both as far as behavior. The patch indicates there is still a problem. I personally like copper treatment and medicated food (Metronidazole). See parasitic disease section of WetWebMedia.com. Tetra medicated food is actually addictive (my observation), may get fish to eat.> It still has deep purple color but won't eat food provided. Do you have any ideas on what is bothering this fish and what steps I may take to get him back to his old self other than what I've tried? Four weeks now, and it hasn't eaten any Nori (although there is plenty of micro algae in both tanks he may be nibbling on... I can't imagine it can go for a month w/o eating and it is not getting skinnier). I assume it won't eat as long as the sore is there and my experience with fresh-water fish and mouth sores tells me that I better do something or "that's all she wrote" for my purple friend. Sincerely, John Ilg <He may be eating nothing but microalgae which may cause the mouth problem, although I lean to the water quality to start (in the 10). The mouth sore should clear up on it's own if it's not too extensive. I would stop the formalin and neomycin, keep copper at recommended levels (WetWebMedia.com) and maintain water quality. The color change is related to stress and conditions. Lower light and give him plastic/inert hiding places to help with stress. Best of luck! Craig>>

Zebrasoma stocking Thank you for the help Mike! Regarding your comment about stressing-out the Purple tang to the point it gets ich; I QT all new fish for at least four weeks before adding them to my main tank. <that is what everyone should do!> If any signs of ich are present, I add Copper or CLOUT and keep them in QT for four weeks after the last signs of ich. I cannot use copper in my main tank and I cannot catch the fish once they have been released into my main tank, so this is very necessary for me. On WetWebMedia, I have read that there very good reason to expect to never have ich in the main tank if such QT procedures are followed. <in a perfect tank this is true> This being the case, do you still feel that the Purple Tang could be at risk for developing ich? <under this strict quarantine most likely not> I ask because I had considered using copper on ALL incoming fish (regardless of signs of parasites) as a preventative measure but I was advised that 90+% of fish present signs of ich during the four week QT period if they have any Cryptocaryon on them. <ich is present all the time in your substrate when a fish become stress it's slime coat breaks down causing parasites to attach to the fish> If ich could break out at any time, then it seems it must always be present either in the water or dormant on the fish. If this is the case, allowing a tank to go fallow for four weeks to eradicate Cryptocaryon seems almost pointless (except for a near-term reduction in crypto population). <yes but this quarantine that you put these fish threw ,not only gets rid of any parasites on the fish but gives the fish time to build up his slime coat and to make sure he is feeding well, so that he will be able to feed aggressively when entered into the main tank> Please help clear this up for me as I have been struggling for the best insurance against ich. <what you are doing is right on the money. you are taking every step you can. but one thing you can not predict is how another fish will act with another good luck Mike H> Thank you, -- Greg Wyatt

Purple Tang Bob, I recently purchased a purple tang. It arrived healthy, however it died the next morning. I received a replacement, which lived for a month. Both fish appeared healthy. The second one was swimming great one minute, the next it was on the bottom, one eye sunk into its head the other eye bulging out of its socket. It couldn't swim, I froze it. All water levels were fine. Is it possible these fish were caught using cyanide? None of my other fish exhibited any signs of problems. Thanks, Jeff <<Yikes... very frightening... And though I've heard of rumours ("Philippine divers collecting livestock in the Red Sea... usually Saudi Arabia... using cyanide"... News at 11:00!), I really doubt these... Know a bit of the areas involved and the hearts/minds of the "powers that be" in the countries bordering this Zebrasoma's distribution... and this practice would be dealt with quickly... Suspect you're the victim of a tremendous bad coincidence... most Purple tangs are great on arrival... very few DOA's... but maybe you received two badly handled specimens... Bob Fenner, still a big Purple Tang fan>>

Purple Tang Bob, I have a Purple Tang in my reef tank that in the last couple of days has developed white lips. He has been in my system for about three months with no apparent problems. All critical water parameters seem to be correct. What could this be? And what should I do if anything? <<Hmmm, well, I'm inclined to accept that "it" may be nothing other than normal color, or a rub-effect from the animal feeding on what you have in the tank... or swiping one of your sugar donuts when you're having your java in the AM (just joking to the last)... but I'd do nothing if the Tang is fine otherwise... Bob Fenner who wishes we were diving in the Red Sea right now, so I could point out some of these Zebrasoma that show this "white lip" condition on the reef...>>

Tang Hi, I recently purchased a small Purple Tang to add to my 46 gallon reef tank. The tank has a protein skimmer and good water movement throughout the tank (powerheads). The fish eats well, I feed a variety of foods formula 2,lifeline,reef flakes, brine shrimp). The problem is that in the late evening about 2 hours before the lights go out, it gets white dots on his body and fins. It looks like marine ich when the lights come on in the morning, the dots are gone, but he left with small blotches where the dots were. Any ideas? The water quality is good. <<May be stress coloration... or just natural markings... or a latent infestation of ich... Do you have a biological cleaner, like a Lysmata shrimp? You might consider one of these for your tank... Otherwise, just keep your eyes on your Tang for signs the condition might be worsening. Bob Fenner>>

Quarantine Tank After all this reading, I went out and bought a 20 gallon quarantine tank with small power head, heater and light (off most of the time) for my incoming Purple Tang, Kole Tang, Lawnmower Blenny, and Banded Goby. I bought a piece of cured live rock (been in the LFS store for weeks), and set it up in my garage with water from my main tank(75). I dipped everything in buffered freshwater with Methylene for 15 minutes. The Purple Tang came down with ich 2 days later, so I dipped him again, lowered salinity to 17 over two days, and raised my temperature to 82. None of this seemed to help so I removed the live rock, and put copper in the tank. This started to help but then my big fear came to reality. My ammonia shot up, even though I only fed a small pinch of flake food every other day. 25% water changes didn't seem to help much. Not wanting to kill all these fish, I figured my reef is in great shape and moved everything in there after a buffered freshwater dip. All the fish but that Purple are doing good, although the Kole spends all his time hiding. I've been lowering the salinity of my reef from 26 to 17 and raised my temp to 84. He doesn't show as much ich but now he shows more like powdery splotches, and he has a kind of spastic behavior next to the glass on one side of the tank. Now what do I do? How could I have kept the ammonia from shooting up when I put in the copper and removed the live rock? Thanks! Marty Wigder <<As far as I know, you did most everything "right"... the ammonia spike might have been skipped or reduced by having more cultured filter media... or dumping, refilling the quarantine tank from your main tank... At this point, I would add a Lysmata Cleaner shrimp... and hope for the best for the Purple Tang...Much more handling/manipulation is probably going to be more deleterious at this point than helpful. Bob Fenner, who might actually "copper treat" all Purple Tangs on arrival from now on... after hearing this account.>>

Purple tang I have a 55 gallon tank with live rock. I have a majestic angel, potters angel Percula clown, purple Firefish and a purple tang. The tang has just come down with little white spots. It does not look like Ich, but the spots are kind of cottony looking spots. I have had this fish for about 7 mths now. I have a wet dry filter (sea life system) and a power head. We had just moved and the tank has been set up for about 3 weeks now and everything was going good. The tang is still very active and is eating good. Any thoughts on this? Should I treat the tank? Thank You, Larry from Tampa <<A few... this may well be some sort of latent external parasite that has surfaced from the stress of the move... At this point I would: Lower the specific gravity of the system to 1.018. Raise the temperature to about 83F. And add a single or couple of Cleaner Shrimp of the genus Lysmata... And hold off and see if this "does it"... if not, ring me back. Bob Fenner>>

Purple Tang "Ich" I bought a small Purple Tang through Flying Fish. When I received the Tang he was alive and very alert, he altogether displayed no signs of illness. Upon releasing him into the tank, he swam over to the algae covered rocks and started to dine. I thought this was an excellent sign that he was in great shape. However, after getting up the next morning and turning on the aquarium light he was covered in white spots. In reading our marine aquarist manual, we figured that he has developed Ich as a stress reaction of some sort. Is there a way to treat his Ich without removing him into a quarantine tank? We have live rock, some corals and a few invertebrates and the helper at the local fish store stated that anything he has to treat the Ich would have effects on the reef and the di-nitrifying bacteria. <<The fellow at the local shop is right... you can't effectively treat the Tang in place... If you are fortunate, and the infestation is not too virulent, you may have success at doing the following: 1) Lower the specific gravity of your water to 1.018 2) Raise the water temperature to 84F. (for this species) 3) Add some biological cleaners... My fave are Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) and/or Gobiosoma gobies. And if the spots don't go away, or your other fish livestock take ill, you should move them to a separate hospital/quarantine system... which you really should set up and operate as standard operating procedure.... And if you want my ideas on these topics in detail, please see the articles posted at www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>>

Purple Tang with HLLE I purchased a purple tang about three weeks ago that has some Head and Lateral Line Erosion. I am feeding Ocean Nutrition Flakes, formula 1 & 2, Ocean Nutrition frozen cubes (the meaty one, not the green one) and try to always have a sheet of algae in there for the tangs to graze on. Is this diet good enough to clear up the problem, and should I expect it to completely go away? <<A bunch of factors need to be considered, optimized in the animals favor to ward off, repair such a condition: If the animal has a "good" genetic and developmental background (not thrashed in collection, handling, shipping), and you can provide an optimized and stable environment, and supply it with proper nutrition.... The water quality question is probably number two in the "hit parade" of failures with HLLE.... and is most easily improved with the use live rock, macro-algae, and best: mud/muck and Caulerpa algae with lighted sump/filter... The nutrition part of the equation... I would augment what you're doing with application of aqueous vitamins and iodine... just put this on the fishes food ahead of offering it... There are advocates of "other" causes in these matters, stray electrical potential, protozoan involvements (Octamita necatrix, aka Hexamita)... and more... ignore these.... they are not the root cause(s) of your fish's complaint. Bob Fenner>>

Purple tang, ozone Q's Dear Bob, I have a few question for you. first, why every time I purchase a purple tang they will develop white spot for few days and then go off since I kept marine for 16 years? <General stress> Now I have a purple tang 1.8 inch , Asfur angel 2 inch and 2 flame hawk in my 190g f/o tank running with ozone with controller set at 350mv at 10mg/l and u/v only on at 0100am to 6am daily. <I'd leave the UV on permanently... much more effective> Will the purple tang pass those white spot to the Asfur since I experience purple tang white spot only occur for 2 - 3 days and then goes off? <Too likely, yes. Do you have a dip, quarantine procedure for new fish livestock? You should. Please read over these topics on the marine index of the site: www.wetwebmedia.com> will u/v burn off the slime on fishes? <Not practically... some UV's are powerful enough to produce ozone in sufficient quantity to raise Redox to this point... but rare... not in your case> can I set my ozone to 25 or 40 mg/l base on the fishes I indicated above and my tank is 72" x 24"x 30" and sump at 36" x18" x 18" ? thank bob and wish you and all fish lovers a HAPPY NEW YEAR <Hmmm, milligrams per liter? Per how much time? If all your ozone source produces is a few hundred milligrams of 03 per hour total, no problems... Bob Fenner>

Cooling and Purple Tang In response to your prior message, about the fact that a wealth of information regarding quarantine, etc. is available on your website (and I agree on that--because I have now scoured it thoroughly), I wish I'd done a little more research on every aspect of keeping a marine aquarium before I got started. Unfortunately, most marine aquaria retailers are not particularly concerned about the knowledge base of new owners, and when an aspiring "fishkeeper" comes in to buy a new setup and spend a bunch of money, they're thinking about the buck and not about the health of the system or livestock! <And doesn't this apparent attitude strike you as "odd"? I mean, what better "advertising" (overall promotion) of their/the business could there be than successful aquarist customers? In what field of endeavor, vocation does it "pay" to have an un- or mis- informed public?> It would be nice if LFS's offered a "new aquarist" course--even 3 or 4 hours about the basics--like the nitrogen cycle, stocking, livestock compatibility, lighting, etc. I learned about the nitrogen cycle (and most everything else) on my own--and I still am. <No books?> (Still waiting on your book to arrive, too.) Not making excuses--just wishing I hadn't been so naive in the beginning. <Ah, woulda, coulda, shoulda... a common refrain> At any rate, I'm the type of person that loves to learn new things and master new challenges--so I'm not apt to throw my hands up and roll over. (And I otherwise thoroughly enjoy gazing into the tank for 2 or 3 hours every evening!) <Ahh, good outlook and preoccupation> I haven't set up a QT tank yet--however, no more new fish until that's taken care of. The white area on the underside of the purple tang was a little larger yesterday. He otherwise appears normal, very active and feeding well. I added two cleaner shrimp as you suggested. Within minutes of introducing them to the tank, the two yellow tangs were letting the shrimp crawl all over them and do their cleaning chores. <A good, better sign... likely the Purple Zebrasoma will capitulate> The purple hasn't taken to the cleaners as of yet--hopefully he'll follow the lead of the yellows. (Question here--the purple tang is the smallest of the three--and the least dominant. Should I have added three cleaners so that the purple wouldn't have to compete for their services?) Patience, patience. <No on the first, definitely yes on the latter.> I also picked up some Selcon to soak their food in--and some frozen brine and krill, to add some variety to their diet. I'm also keeping sheet algae available for them to graze on at all times--and the tangs all look much better. Any other thoughts on the purple, other than watch and wait? <Yes my anxious friend> I did add a ventilation system to the tank on Saturday. I installed two 3" cooling fans from Radio Shack by attaching them on the "ledge" at the top of the back of the tank with silicon sealer. With the lids on the tank, they're not visible. They draw room air through the gap at the top of the back of the tank. The wiring goes to a little plastic box under the stand that has two switches on it, and the fans can be independently controlled. The cord from the switchbox plugs into the same timer as the lights--so the fan (or fans) only come on when the lights are on. With one fan on, the temp stays at about 79.5 to 80. If it gets hotter this summer, both fans can be turned on, and the heater (set to 79) keeps the temp from dropping too much from the fans (or at night after the lights go off). The whole setup is keeping the temp within a 1 to 1 1/2 degree range. <Very good> Also, I sent a message last week about red "hair" looking stuff. That was waste from the bubble coral. I fed it again this weekend--the next day, it started purging the waste--and that's what it was. (I managed to scoop most of it up with a net and remove it from the tank.) So no BGA. <Good> Hope you had a nice weekend. Thanks for your patience and responsiveness. James A. Deets <And you for your friendship and caring endeavors. Kia orana. Bob Fenner>

Parasites? Fungus? OK--always something to learn, sometimes the hard way. As I mentioned in my email earlier today, I just scoured the WWM site today and read all about quarantining new fish. Unfortunately, I didn't read enough a few weeks ago before I started adding livestock, and added three tangs last weekend--two medium yellow tangs and a small Red Sea purple tang. No freshwater dip or QT time before putting them in the main tank. <How could I make this information more accessible? What is it about human nature that the industry waxes and wanes on providing these simple prophylactic practices? Think of how many organisms unnecessarily lost... and the turnover in hobbyist/customers... > The yellow tangs look fine. I've increased their feeding to once per day, as their stomach areas were looking a little thin. Other than that, they seem pretty good. <Feed them more frequently still... in the wild are almost constantly scavenging, searching for greens, aufwuchs...> The purple, on the other hand, has a small white spot, about the size of a pinhead, on the right side of his upper "lip". Also, when he lowers the fins on his underside, his abdomen is white where his fins lay against it. He also likes to rub against the rocks--he's been "skipping" against the rocks since day one. I'm relatively certain he's got something that needs to be dealt with, but I'm not quite sure what it is or how to treat it. Kind of like new parents with a sick child for the first time. <Doesn't sound like a parasitic protozoan problem... not much at least, yet...> What does this sound like, and how should I treat it? (Looks like my fan/ventilation project might have just gotten supplanted with setting up a QT tank this weekend. . .) <Good on the last count... on the treatment front, add/soak their food (including some oriental food store sheet algae) in Selcon (vitamin mix) for five ten minutes, and consider adding Gobiosoma gobies or Cleaner Shrimp... you know where the explanations, expansions on these ideas are to be found. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help. James Deets

Growth on Purple Tang Bob--My purple tang has a growth on its left side, about 1 cm below its gill, and right in front and a little below the pectoral fin. It looks like a wart--Lymphocystis. I thought Lymphocystis typically only affected the fins--at least that's what I've typically seen. But in reading the FAQs I see that's not the case. <Yes> I did notice a light spot a few weeks ago, where the growth is now. It looked like the tang had probably been tussling with one of the yellows and had gotten scraped. So I do have reason to believe there was some damage to his or her scales at that spot. It's a pretty good sized growth tonight--probably about 3-4mm in diameter. <...> None of the other fish seem to be affected. I also haven't added any livestock to the system for several months. I've never had a sick fish--I guess there's a first time for everything. <As the saying goes... I would rather state that there is a first time for "many things" as well as a last> One hint is that since I moved the tank, I've been battling Cyano off and on pretty regularly. I've tried just about everything--siphoning it out, cleaned the lights of salt buildup (bulbs are only 5 months old), water changes, with no luck. I never had a Cyano problem before moving the tank to the other room. Now I can't seem to beat it. I'm hoping the improvements on the new system will correct this problem. <Have you seen the "BGA/Cyano" piece on the www.WetWebMedia.com site? Or the similar article by me that ran last Winter ish of SeaScope? A brief summation of what folks do re...> I've tested water parameters regularly--I've got NH3, NO2 at zero, and NO3 at about 2-3 ppm. pH has been running right around 8.0. At any rate, my surmise is that a degradation in water quality seems to have been triggered by moving the system (as evidenced by the Cyano), which when combined with the small injury to this fish, has caused enough stress to allow him (or her) to develop Lymphocystis. <Likely all related.> Should I just leave this alone, and hope it clears up on its own once everyone is settled into the new system, or should I do something since I'm going to have the opportunity when moving the livestock on Saturday? In one of the FAQs, you recommend using a cotton swab to daub the Lymphocystis with a mercuric compound. Should I try this when I move the fish, since I'm going to be handling him or her anyway, or just hope the larger system and Lysmata shrimp will clear this up naturally? <I would likely leave this alone for now... this problem develops slowly... and may resolve itself as you hint with the growing improvement of your system. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your insights. James D, concerned about his favorite fish. . .

Purple Tang and HLLE Please Help!!! Hello, Please help!!! I am becoming very frustrated. I have a 150 gal reef tank (mostly mushrooms. and polyps.) w/ a wet/dry-Prot. Skimmer, along w/ two Aquaclear 500's constantly running activated carbon, and 3 additional Power Heads for added H2O flow. I use Ro/DI H20. I have had my purple Tang for only about 3 weeks and he seems perfectly healthy (eats well, etc.), but just a few days ago I noticed what looked to be the beginning of HLLE (white pocks above the eyes and along the lateral line). Now, only a few days later, it seems to be getting worse. <This species is particularly susceptible to this environmental/nutritional disease/complaint> The strange thing is that I have always kept plenty of Green, Red, and Brown Seaweed Selects in the tank, and I feed Formula Two and MYSIS soaked in garlic, Selcon, and Zoe and he (it) eats it all. I have done this long before I introduced the purple Tang to the tank. The tank is grounded and water chemistry checks out great (Alk., PH, Ammon., Nit. and Nit.). I am absolutely out of ideas. I have heard that constant use of carbon can cause this, but the owner of my local fish shop (Bruce from Sandy's Pet Store in Louisville, KY, I think you know him) says that that has never been proven and that he also runs carbon in all of his tanks. <Agreed... I encourage folks to switch carbon out only once a month in general, it gets "exhausted" (saturated) within minutes to hours in most cases...> I had to almost totally break down the tank just days before I noticed this to catch a few trouble makers, something that I am sure stressed him out. Could stress suddenly bring on HLLE? <Might be a contributing cause...> As far as stopping it, I already use all of the suggested Vits. and foods. I have heard that Iodine also might help with HLLE, but I already add it, along w/ Str., Calc, and CoralVite to the tank. Should I try soaking the MYSIS in that as well? I am not sure what else to do, as I believed that what I was doing was the proper thing up until just a few days ago. Any feedback at all would be much appreciated. Thanks, Scott <Please read over the following area, FAQs on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm There are many suspected factors, co-factors to "bringing on" HLLE... your "cure" in this setting is likely a combination of improved nutrition (simple addition of vitamins and iodide to the foods directly, for fifteen minutes or so ahead of feeding, weekly administration to the tank/water) and water quality (growing macro-algae in the main tank, better in a sump, possibly a refugium, maybe incorporating live rock, mud... This condition can take a while to reverse (weeks, months), but can be done. Please peruse our site (WetWebMedia.com) re "Algal Filtration", "Environmental", "Nutritional Diseases"... as the links lead you. You display diligence, caring... show intelligence, compassion here. You will be successful. Bob Fenner>

Purple tang sick? Dear Anthony, Things have been going rather well on my conversion. My computer is in its death throes however and this is why I haven't updated you lately. <no worries... we all keep busy <wink>> (I will send a detailed description soon) I saw you're in Pittsburgh. Do you live here year round? I live less then 30 min.s down town so perhaps you frequent the same LFS's. <yes... also about 30 minutes from the 'burg. Perhaps we can get you to visit PMASI meeting... always great speakers, Bob Fenner, Eric Borneman and Ron Shimek are annual... Paletta is also local. Our next meeting is this coming Saturday at the Palace Inn Monroeville at 6pm. We go out for food and drinks afterwards. A wonderful time to be had. Check us out at www.pmas.org > Alright... here is the current issue. I have a new healthy purple tang, three inches, fat and eating well. He seems to have developed very faint hardly there markings around one of his eyes. Slightly raised a little paler then the rest of him. I treated the 50 gallon tank with enough Melafix for 40 gallons of water tonight in a small fit of panic .... In retrospect I now worry that I may have killed my live rock. <I doubt that it had much of an impact on the rock or the parasites. Although I do like the product for some applications> I only treated it once with 4 teaspoons. Tomorrow it recommends I redose. I wont do so unless you get back to me about the status of my (very very hopefully still) live rock. I do not have a quarantine tank, and perhaps the tang isn't even ill.. it is very subtle. Thank you Anthony my friend. Brian <you could purchase a small QT tank (sponge filter, ten gall, heater, glass cover and not much else) for the price of just five or six bottles of medication. However the tank would serve you better and for years. Do get a QT setup ASAP. Otherwise, it is a roulette game with living creatures every time a new fish or coral is added. Don't be a stranger... stop by at the marine society meeting and we'll chat it up! kindly, Anthony>

Sick Purple Tang I have a purple tang that has developed, for lack of a better description, white snail like trails around his face and eyes. Nobody else in the tank has it and I have been ich free for over a year (it doesn't look ich ish to start with). His appetite is good, he is active and doesn't seem to be suffering in any way (at least so far). Can you tell me what this might be. Bob <This is a good description of the "beginnings" of a condition called HLLE, Head and Lateral Line Erosion... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm Purple Tangs are one of the more susceptible species... you will want to augment this fish's diet, improve water quality... perhaps with the growth of live macro-algae. Bob Fenner>

Re: tang Thanks for the reply. My water quality is very good. I have 125 lbs of live rock and add calcium, iodine, nag, Strontium and a few others every week. I do not however feed other than prime reef, marine food and clams and shrimp. Every time I try to add frozen veggie type products no one eats. Can you make some suggestions for food. Also let me be blonde for a moment. Live micro algae? <Please go to WetWebMedia.com and peruse the Marine Index and/or use the Search tool there to read about HLLE, Macro-Algae, Marine Foods/Feeding/Nutrition... The site is logically arranged with many links between related matters, tens of thousands of FAQs files... Bob Fenner>

Problem with purple tang Dear Bob, I read many of your articles, q/a and they are very helpful. <Ah, good to read> I started a 90g saltwater tank last November. Equipped with a 20g sump, wet/dry trickle filter, 120V heater. Cycled the tank with 100 lb live rock. Added 3 damsels after the tank cycled with snails and hermit crabs. Added three more damsels and a cleaner shrimp the week after. Acclimated and added a Sailfin and Purple tank together about 10 days ago. Both tangs are doing fine, show no aggression towards each other. Last night I noticed a tiny white dot on the purple tang's body, where the right pectoral fin meets the body. This morning, notice a faint and fine white line on its body, starting from the white dot, parallel to the gill on the body not on the gill. It is not distinctive or separate spot but a line. It is difficult to tell if the Sailfin has similar problem due to its color. I immediately tested the water. Everything is fine - zero ammonia, nitrite; under 10 ppm nitrate, 1.022 sg, temperature 78F. I've been doing weekly 5g water change. I observe the purple tang for a period of time. It is not rubbing on rock or substrate. However, it seems jumpy and shy, especially during feeding. <This is natural, normal for your new fish, system> It used to chase after food. It still does but as soon as it gets something, it ducks down and hides between rock until it sees another flake near. I have been feeding them combination of formula two, prime reef, brine shrimp and algae green (Nori) twice daily. Every other day, I soak the flake with a few drops of Selcon. Not sure if it has ich. I have a 10g quarantine tank stand by and wonder if I should give him a FW bath and treat it with copper. The first challenge is getting it out without dismantle the live rock structure. Any idea how I can do this without putting more stress to the animal? Secondly, is it bacteria infection or ich that I am dealing with? <Well-stated. I would just wait, observe at this point> I watch my fish every day and they have been my joy and happiness. In case this is ich, I hope I could do something soon enough before an outbreak. Please advise. Many thanks, Carmen <You are a keen observer, and a caring keeper... Do just keep doing what you're doing. If you run new fishes through dips, quarantine, there is little likelihood that you are experiencing a parasitic disease here... more like the fishes just "settling in". Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang Bob, <Ola! Anthony Calfo here for Bob who just ran out the door chasing a flock of pigeons that landed in the front yard, screaming "Yee-ha, we're gonna be eatin' good tonight!"> Love your website. I had lost quite a bit of fish starting out <wish we had talked to you first> and then had a bout with an Ich infestation. It got to the point I was getting discouraged about having started a marine system, <good advice from the start to have a quarantine tank almost certainly would have prevented this> but I was determined. <good to hear it!> My only survivors we two green Chromis and later moved them back into the main tank after leaving it fallow. <O-tay> In my 50 gallon tank I added 3 more Chromis, a 1 1/2 inch maroon clown, 2 cleaner shrimp (both have molted once), 2 small neon gobies, a sand shifting starfish, two red foot moon snails and about two weeks ago added a 3 1/2 inch flame angel and 4 inch purple tang. The flame and the tang went at it for the first couple of days and settled down. Not problems between them. <indeed... establishing the pecking order> My problem is that the tang started to hover and corner the small maroon, and nothing more, more of a face-off. About a week later I saw my maroon hiding in the live rock and would could out and then retreat. He had a "u" shaped bit on his dorsal fin and his side fins showed some significant damage. So I moved the maroon into a floating breeder to protect him and let him heal in the main tank without having to stress him by moving him. <cool> Would the purple tang be aggressive towards a small maroon? <easily and likely. Zebrasoma tang species are feisty> Even if the clown was in the tank first? <has absolutely nothing to do with the price of tea in China> I just recently added two Firefish and the next day I could not find them or see them. <ouch...too peaceful/passive for the tank. Unlikely to work out long-term if they are still alive. They are too gentle and will be out competed for food at the very least. Please extract them> Later that night the tang was trashing and eating what was a Firefish. Common? <you have an aggressive tang...and yes it is common. The maroon clown and Flame angel are also feisty as a rule and not a bad mix at all in a big enough tank> I am now afraid to release my maroon back or buy new fish. <that particular maroon maybe.... but fish in general no. You simply have an active community tank. Fast and feisty is on the menu... and I don't mean Rosie Perez. Pick fish that are aggressive feeders like some wrasses, Pseudochromis, some hawkfish, etc.> I don't plan or adding any more fish other than a Firefish or Banggai cardinal and that's it for stocking my tank. <aieee! Lambs to the slaughter even without the tang. Maroons are nasty and could easily target the above species. You need to decide if you want an ultra peaceful tank (shy fish) or an active community tank> Would keeping any last minute additions in the breeder so the tang gets accustomed to them? <more harm (stress) than good. After getting burned (Ich), you are running all fish through a two to four week quarantine, right buddy?> Any suggestions? Would appreciate it. <yep...don't bet on the Patriots to win> Javier <kindly, Anthony>

Re: problem with purple tang Hello Anthony, <Steven Pro this morning.> I finally moved my purple tang to a quarantine tank today as the Sailfin is really suffering. The Sailfins "sail" is torn! In the effort of catching the purple tang I have to remove most of the live rock. I am lucky that I don't have any coral yet. I am afraid that I may have to give up one of them. I am planning is to leave the Sailfin in the main tank and let it heal. Then, I'll put the purple tank back in with a partition for another couple of weeks. With the live rock topology changed hopefully the purple tang will not be as aggressive. I'll give it one more chance. Do you think it worth a try before considering giving it up? <Very slim chance the two will coexist peacefully in this size tank.> Any other way I could keep both? <You could get another tank for one each or one much larger tank, 180 or bigger.> Also, I saw a mandarin goby at the LFS and almost brought it home by impulse. Before I make another mistake, I would like to do more research before doing so. <Good idea.> Again, my intention is to get a flame angel and a long nose hawkfish eventually. Will the Mandarin fit in? I understand that it may have feeding problem. <Not "may", it WILL have a feeding problem. They only eat live food.> I have a 90g tank, 100 lb live rock with good quality of color coralline algae on it. The existing live stock is 4 yellow tail damsels, a 3-stripe damsels, a Sailfin, a purple tang (hopefully), cleaner shrimp, snails and crabs. Will these little guys do well together if I add a Mandarin? <Sorry, but no. Your tank is too small and filled with aggressive feeders to allow for an ample supply of live food.> Thank you, Carmen <Glad to be of assistance. -Steven Pro>

Purple Tang Good evening to you, <and kindly to you in return> A follow-up on a past question. <OK> I have a recently introduced Purple tang in my 120 gal reef tank. <after a 4 week quarantine I hope... as with all fish but particularly for these Ich prone surgeonfish> Water parameters are PH 8.23, Ammonia <0.1, Nitrate and Nitrite are 0, temp. 25.0 centigrade, salinity 1.025. I had noticed six/seven white dots/marks on one fin of this Purple tang, Zebrasoma xanthurum, and wrote to you with concerns of parasitic infection. I'm not out of the woods yet, but the marks have been static (and perhaps even faded a little) in the past week and at this point, I am tending to feel they are just white marks. <slow healing wounds from a/the previous infection perhaps but should regain color... else suspect nutritional deficiency or some other cause> I did look as closely as possible at him at him in the LFS but they don't have bright lights and I was not able to really examine him thoroughly. I have a pair of 150w metal halides, which makes a visual far more fruitful. I also note that this fish looks underfed/skinny (lumpy gut area) with some signs of HLLD. I would tend to say he is just skinny, but wanted your suggestion as to what this might be. <indeed... such tangs need very many small feedings/grazing opportunities daily to thrive and maintain weight. Do offer Nori (seaweed) and turf algae on live rock whenever possible. Spirulina in prepared foods, etc. There is a lot of good content in our archives here at WWM if you care to learn more about nutrition and more> He is eating aggressively and very well (live rock, algae, Mysis, brine, prawn....) <the brine is a complete waste of time/money and is a contributing factor in this fishes poor weight if it makes up even 20% of his diet. The Mysis and prawn are good but do mostly offer greenstuffs for this herbivore> and I also note that his fins heal in a day or so (if they get slightly damaged from time-to-time in scuffles with my Kole tang). He is looking much better than when I first put him in with better colour and a fatter stomach! I am also pleased to tell you that I am about to buy a quarantine tank... <excellent! One of the very best investments in a marine aquarium.> Many thanks, JP <kindly, Anthony>

Purple Tang Hi I have a question about a purple tang I purchased about 2 months ago. The fish is in my 150 gallon fish only tank with a maroon clown and a small harlequin tusk wrasse. The tang is active and eats anything but is experiencing fin decaying along with head/lateral line problems. I have been adding Zoe to its food and Fish Solution (eco-systems) to the tank. The fins are showing some signs of regeneration but the head and Lateral Line are not improving. I feed the fish dried seaweed (Sea Veggies/Seaweed Selects) everyday and it devours the Mysis, Clams, and Squid meant for its tank mates. The owner of the store where I purchased the fish told me that purple tangs (actually all tangs except yellow) have a problem when there is too much protein in their diet. He said they do better on an almost exclusively vegetable diet. <I would say all Tangs need a diet consisting primarily of vegetable matter of marine origin (Yellows included).> I had never heard this before and was actually happy that this fish took all sorts of foods. Does this information sound accurate and could this be the source of my problem. <HLLE is linked primarily to diet, but also other husbandry issues such as water quality. You can read more here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm> Thank you, A.J. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Purple tang Hello- I was wondering if would answer a couple of questions. I have a purple tang who seems to be doing fine. I feed him seaweed select twice a day < a fine food but do consider sushi Nori (the same thing) from an Asian grocery store in your area... it is dramatically less expensive> along with frozen kelp, formula two, algae plus & Spirulina. I have noticed the purple tends to bump when he swims . I don't mean he bumps into objects but when he swims - he bumps or jerks forward (like an old car). <very unusual and not symptomatic of a disease necessarily> I have also read about tangs looking like they have velvet on them. Also. my tang looks fine when you look at him close but if he turns & you view him at a certain angle- For a second he does appear to have a velvet look to him but you have to look at him from the right angle and of course he is constantly moving so I cant pinpoint what it is? What do you think? <if the velvet symptom was evidence of a parasitic infection you would also see rapid gilling, favored gilling (one gill closed) and/or scratching off rocks> I also I have a piece of LR is developing a brownish/orangish color to it in 2 different spots in very small areas(1/2 inch by 1/2 inch)- these areas are surrounded by coralline algae but the coralline never covers it - and after three months it seems like these brownish/orangish areas are getting a little larger but very slowly. They do seem to receded in the rock or at least below the level at which my coralline algae sits. What do you think it is and should I be concerned? <hard to say without an image, may be a nuisance algae. Does your skimmer produce skimmate daily?> One last question, I have read about so many people experimenting with a purple tang and a yellow tang in the same setup. I realize the Zebrasomas have anal spikes that they use for protection. I recently witnessed a tank with a purple and yellow in the same system (maybe 75 gal) Everything seemed peaceful (no chasing or biting) <even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes as they say> but occasionally backing up into each other. Is this type of aggression you would expect to have with such a mixed or would they chase each and attack with their mouths? <when there are so many other beautiful fishes to have, why subject them to undue and unnecessary stress? My strong advice would be not attempt to mix the two species> -Thanks for your time- Ronald <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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