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FAQs about the Striped Sailfin Tangs,  Zebrasoma desjardinii, Z. veliferum: Behavior

Related Articles: Striped Zebrasoma Tangs, the Genus Zebrasoma

Related FAQs: Striped Sailfin Tangs 1, Striped Sailfin Tangs 2, & FAQs on:  Striped Sailfin Tangs IdentificationStriped Sailfin Tangs CompatibilityStriped Sailfin Tangs SelectionStriped Sailfin Tangs SystemsStriped Sailfin Tangs FeedingStriped Sailfin Tangs DiseaseStriped Sailfin Tangs Reproduction, & Zebrasomas I, Yellow Tangs, Purple TangsSurgeons In General, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sailfin Tang rear fin issue; beh. f'      5/14/13
Hello Crew,
I have a Striped Sailfin Tang aprox. 2 years old and she has been spot/Ich free and as of last week has never looked better, until the night before last when i have been observing the oddest behavior from what seemed to be a perfectly healthy fish. She has been backing up to my Tomato Clown and Blue Morpho/Surgeon Tang and letting them nip at her rear fin.
<Interesting behavior>
No signs of any parasite or infection. The fish are not chasing her....she is voluntarily backing up and letting them slowly eat her rear fin away.
They are not aggressively chewing away at her fin, but it seems like they are gently removing parasites such as a wrasse cleaning, but even with a magnifying glass there are no parasites to be seen.
<Perhaps small... some irritation>
 She shows no sign of loss of appetite, and swims around as always in a healthy, happy manner. Im really worried for there seems that there is nothing i can see or do to help her. Has this behavior been identified as her asking help for removal of an annoying issue?
I am going to film her so if anyone wants to view this, it is very odd.
Should i buy her a lil leather fishy bondage suit/mask and a whip? Ha!
Sorry, i just couldn't resist.
Thanks as always for any help.
<I'd try adding more "chewing" foods... algae sheet... Read here:
in the hope that perhaps this will "take the fish's mind off"... or cure a possible nutritional deficiency... Bob Fenner>

Sailfin Tang/Behavior 2/17/11
Hello all,
<Hi Andy>
I have had this Pacific Sailfin Tang for the last year and a half. The tang is about 5 to 5 1/2 inches long and it is in a 75 gallon tank, but, as of next week the Tang will be going to a new home of a 125 gallon tank because it is getting to big for my tank.
<Good move.>
But, my question is for the last 2 days this Tang has been making a bed in the sand by putting it's nose up to a rock and using it's tail to move the sand. This Tang has made a bowl shape in the sand 3 1/2 inches deep and 4 to 5 inches in diameter. Is it possible for a Tang to make a bed as other fish do?
<I've seen this behavior before. Are there plenty of safety retreats for the tang?>
If so does this fish spawn?
<Has never been observed spawning in home aquariums that I am aware of.>
And again if so should I not move the Tang until this behavior has stopped?
<Make the move, the tang will enjoy larger quarters.>
Thank you
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Tang Behavior: Tang Intelligence 4/11/2009
Hi crew,
<Hi Mani>
My message today is more a comment than a query.
I have only recently started focusing more on tangs from the Pacific and have a turbulent SPS infested 475 litre set up with exclusively tangs (and one very fat Splendid Mandarin), all thriving and fit.
My comment is on the intelligence shown by many of these species. Of particular interest is the Sailfin. Not sure of the gender but lets call him "he".
<Fair enough>
A most observant individual, he spots me from 30 feet away entering the fish room and usually comes right up to the front for a bit of an eyeball when I am examining something close up.
<Very common with Tangs.>
His favourite is Nori (seaweed) and when he sees me take a sheet out of its pack, he heads straight for where the veggie clip is mounted and acts all excited. He also plays some complex games, having devised an obstacle course internally among the live rock. He teases his best mate the Yellow Tang into pursuing him, then dips into a crack in the LR, disappears and turns up a couple of feet away emerging literally
on his side on the bottom under a large head of LR, *behind *the unsuspecting Yellow, who remains flabbergasted despite having this done to him several times a day.
<Also common, I have a Sailfin that plays "tag" with his buddy, an Ocellaris Clownfish.>
Very interesting character with a range of visible moods shown by the intensity of his coloration, varying from deep chocolate to pale gold with blue. I was looking for something on your site relating to observation
of intelligent behaviour, could you possibly direct me to any such notes?
<There isn't much out there I'm afraid. A quick Google search did not turn
up much either, here are a few links
http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_intelligence.php >
I am also very keen to keep octopuses, maybe even a "blue ring" one day
<Octopuses are fine in specialized systems, Blue Ringed Octopuses are an EXTREMELY bad idea. Bites are usually fatal.>
....unfortunately NZ bio-security just wont allow even simple *Pterois Volitans* into the country!
Meanwhile I am currently setting up a NZ-native biotope, complete with a tidal pool section. There is some stunning native temperate/sub-tropical marine life here, and if you are interested I can send some pics once its up and running.
<Please do!>
Thanks for listening!
<My Pleasure, Mike>

Sailfin Tang I have a 55 gallon tank with a Sailfin Tang, Naso, Yellow Tang, Foxface, and a Percula Clown. I keep my SG around 1.022. My PH runs around 8.2, Ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates around 5ppm,temp at 77, and calcium at 400. I add Lugol's iodine once a week, Strontium 2x week, There is about 35 pounds of live rock with various mushrooms growing, and a couple of feather dusters that have came out over the last few days.  I vary there diet with frozen brine shrimp plus, flake foods, organic grown romaine lettuce, and SERA Tablets ( the stick on the glass ones.) Now that's the specifics on the tank and its inhabitants now on to the questions. My Sailfin has appeared to change colors. From black and yellowish stripes to an almost beige or tan color where they used to be black. Is this normal? Also this morning I saw him rubbing his head on the substrate (which by the way is aragonite) and I am wondering the best course of action. i.e. fresh water dip, medicated flakes etc. I know you gonna ream me out for this, but I don't have a quarantine tank setup to isolate the Sailfin. But all be it I'll have one soon...Also any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Brian... <<Hmmm, not so fast... the color changes you mention and the "scratching" behavior may well not be indicative of a parasitic or other diseased condition... They may be "natural"... I'd hold off on dipping, any other chemical manipulation till you actually see some physical manifestation on the fish itself. One thing I would do that will help, and has little potential downside is add a cleaner shrimp... one of the species of the genus Lysmata. Bob Fenner>>

My curious friend Thought you might like to see my new buddy. He greets me at the top of the water in the two corners of the vat where he gets fed..... Took him a few days to figure it out, now I can't get rid of him. Good thing he's not a dog. He literally sticks his head out of the water to see me....funny to see him turn sideways, extend his "sails" to full stop, and examine the terrestrial. Okay, so he's begging, I get to anthropomorphize if I want. Craig <Very nice. Bob F>

My curious friend A better view.... I bought two, one has better face markings, this guy is not as pretty, but is more outgoing, adaptable and intelligent. You know, like Miss America. LOL! <Exactly, Bob F> Craig

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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