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

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 BehaviorStriped Sailfin Tangs CompatibilityStriped Sailfin Tangs SelectionStriped Sailfin Tangs SystemsStriped Sailfin Tangs FeedingStriped 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

Patches on Sailfin tang; and now missing fish mysteriously        5/1/19
Hi team,
Many thanks for the advise you had provided me earlier on my Sailfin tang that had patches. Waiting for couple of days really worked. All patches disappeared. Thanks again.
<Ah, good>
I am faced with a new problem of fish disappearance. I lost one Powder tang, Smoke angel, copper band, one damsel and one neon damsel in just last 25 days. All just vanished next morning . I could see some remains only. The green carpet anemone was removed and shifted to refugium when I lost copper band assuming that it might be the eating culprit. But disappearance continues.
<Mmm; disconcerting for sure>
I have currently the following in the tank
1. 1 Yellow tang 2.4 inch
2. 1 Purple tang 2.5 inch
3. 1 Sailfin tang 3.5 inch
4. 1 Regal tang 1.25 inch
5. 1 Blue damsels small (1 inch)
6. 1 Fox face 2.5 inch
7. 1 Pink Anthias small (1.5 inch)
8. 1 Banana wrasse 2 inch
9. 1 Camel shrimp
10. 3 hermit crabs small (1-1.6 inch)
11. 1 Percula Clown 1.25 inch
12. 1 Sebae clown 1.75 inch
<None of these likely perp.s>
Tank size 4 ft x 2 ft x 2ft. Water parameters are all ok . Ammonia 0 , Nitrite 0 , Nitrate 2 ppm
When restarting wave maker after feeding , I sometimes notice transparent membranes floating in the tank
I am really concerned about my fishes vanishing.
What can be the possible reason please. Or where am I wrong.
Please help
Thanks & Regards,
<The usual suspects to mention... Large (and many) polychaete/bristle-worms; crabs, mantis... I'd be trying putting out a baited trap or two towards lights-out time to see what you might catch. Search on WWM re trap designs. Bob Fenner>
Re: Patches on Sailfin tang       5/1/19

Thank you very much Bob. Can u please send me the link on WWM re trap designs to make a trap. I was looking for the same on WWM but I am not lucky.
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/results.html?cx=partner-pub-4522959445250520%3Ap7g47g81naq&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=trapping+hitchhikers&sa=Search&siteurl=wetwebmedia.com%2F&ref=&ss=5416j2111552j20 >
Thanks & Regards,
Bodh Raj
Re: Patches on Sailfin tang       7/28/19

Many thanks for time to time advise you have been providing all as part of the big "Marine Life" lovers community.
This is only a thanks message for your timely advises you have been providing to me.
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Desjardini tang in decline        6/14/19
Dear Crew,
<Hi Simon>
I've tried searching through the answers on Tangs but can't find anything that fits exactly what I'm seeing.
I have 2 inch Desjardini Sailfin Tang who's been in my 80 gallon tank for about a month and a half.
<Will need bigger quarters in time, Tangs need plenty of space to thrive.>
He's normally very active scooping up all food before my fuzzy lionfish can get anywhere near it. My other livestock are a 2.5 inch red fire shrimp, two conchs and a few turbo snails.
Everyone gets on fine so there's no stress there.
Last night the normally very active tang stopped swimming around and started swaying on the tank floor in a cave near the fire shrimp (maybe looking for but not getting a service).
He spent most of the night swaying side to side on the floor and then moved to another corner of the tank where he swayed back and forth rather than side to side. He seems to just sit on the gravel and is very lethargic and
not eating at all vs. the previous voracious appetite.
<How are your water parameters?...numbers.>
He came to the front of the tank still hugging the gravel bed and I couldn't see any visible signs of parasites or disease.
<Not always visible and less in the early stages of a disease>
I'm not sure if I imagined this but it seemed like the area around his stomach looked darker (under the skin).
<Could be something environmental... water quality, oxygenation, etc.)>
I put a bottom feeder shrimp tablet in to see if that could encourage him to eat and eventually he bumped into it, more hit it a few times with his nose to spread it around but didn't seem to actually eat it. I've also tried putting some nori in the tank to see if that could encourage him to eat and tried garlic soaked brine shrimp but nothing
enticing him to eat at the moment as he's not leaving the bottom of the tank.
The tank is 10 yrs old but I've only had it for 6 months so it pretty much cycled again, I usually do a 20% water change every 2 weeks although I was behind this time as the LFS water supply was out when I went to collect.
I urgently did the water change today but no recovery from the tang, having read around I'm quite worried that he may not last, any advice on any course of action to take would be greatly appreciated.
<If you already performed a water change, I suggest leaving it without trying to feed it and see if it shows any signs of improvement in the next hours.>
Thanks, Simon
<Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Desjardini tang in decline       6/16/19

Hi Wil,
<Hi Simon>
Thanks for the quick response,
<Not so quick now, ha-ha...sorry for the delay, was out of town >
looking at the water test results I think I need to still do another water change, nitrates at 10ppm, phosphates at 0.5 ppm.
I did see him swim mid water briefly yesterday when the lights were part off (blue only), I'd say he seems a bit more active but not much.
<Dim lights help in reducing stress>
Will do another 20% water change and see if he picks up.
It did occur to me that I had a feather duster that lost his quill and recently left his casing, I thought he was still recovering but could be that he passed and could have caused a spike in the water parameters.
Keeping my fingers crossed he recovers with better water, any other advice greatly appreciated.
<Water changes are always beneficial; I think you’ll see an improvement in your tang.>
<Welcome. Wil.>

Sailfin Tang Heavy Breathing        12/23/18
Hi crew,
<Hi Charles>
I have trouble in my aquatic paradise, so please bear with me as I provide background:
I have a 75 gallon mixed reef (100 gallons total system) with the following livestock:
2 ocellaris clowns
Desjardin tang (I know will need larger system in the future)
Tailspot blenny
And until recently:
Helfrichi Firefish
Potter’s Angel
In the last few days I lost the Potter’s Angel - saw its shadow under a rock breathing very heavily. By the time I could get to it, he was dead. No outside signs of ich or other infection. Had been behaving normally up until at least the day before.
A couple of days later, I haven’t seen the Firefish (he normally only comes out to eat) and the desjardinii tang is breathing heavily, just hanging out in one spot (he usually cruises around the tank), and not eating - ignored the nori that I put in and seems only passingly interested in other foods.
Normally he eats like a pig.
The clowns and blenny show no apparent symptoms.
<Something amiss here, likely a chemical issue>
Last addition to the tank was a skunk cleaner shrimp 2-3 weeks ago (which didn’t survive for more than a couple of days, unsure the cause of loss) with some snails and emerald crabs and a pistol shrimp in the attached 30 gallon mangrove tank, and the Potter’s Angel a couple of months ago (following 6 week quarantine).
Water parameters:
SG 1.025
Ammonia 0
Nitrates 0
pH 8.0 <A bit low>
Most things have been fairly stable in the tank. My corals (a mix of lps and softies are ok, but have some slow necrosis on the lps). The only recent change I can think of is the introduction of the ill-fated cleaner
shrimp, though I hadn’t been concerned about it bringing in disease...
Right now, the tang and clowns are in my 20 long quarantine tank. The blenny I will try to catch tomorrow. I was planning to dose them with Cupramine (have the appropriate test kit), but wanted to see if you had any additional thoughts or advice on likely diagnoses or treatments.
<You didn´t mention your tank equipment. Chemical/Biological filtration, maintenance practices, etc…If it were me/my fish, I would not medicate them, unless I was sure of the symptoms to be treated. Do you use activated carbon regularly? It may be something toxic in the water that test kits don´t show; probably fumes or other toxic chemicals used near the tank. >
<You´re welcome. Wil >
Re: Sailfin Tang Heavy Breathing       12/27/18

Hi Wil,
<Hi again, Charles>
Thanks for the input.
<Glad to help!>
I have a small refugium with Chaeto in my 20 tall sump with an rtss skimmer (think it’s rated for 120gallon or more, don’t recall).
<Do you mean ETSS?>
I usually empty it once a week. I also run gfo in a reactor and a 36watt uv sterilizer. Yes, pH is a bit low, but has been fairly stable. I’ll chase that next. What you say regarding some chemical poisoning makes sense. I had to travel today, but this morning the tang looked much better, not breathing heavily in the quarantine tank. I’ll see if he eats later. I did drop some Polyfilter into my sump before leaving this morning.
<A very reliable and effective product>
Hopefully the blenny is well. Will put some carbon in next. Will hold off on medicating if the fish in quarantine do well.
<Good idea, please let us know how everything goes.>
Thanks again.
<Kind regards and thanks for sharing. Wil.>
Re: Sailfin Tang Heavy Breathing       12/27/18

Hi Wil, Merry Christmas!
<For you and yours too, Charles!>
I meant RLSS skimmer, too many abbreviations to remember...
< Ahhh… haven't try this units myself but have heard good comments about them.>
The refugium runs on a reverse daylight cycle to the display tank. Well, so far, everyone in quarantine is happy. Tang is back to eating like a pig, just a bit miffed at being downgraded to the economy suite.
<Hopefully it returns soon to the display tank, Tangs need plenty of swimming space and highly oxygenated water.>
The blenny has survived, so far. He came out to eat today. No sign of rapid breathing on his part.
<Good to hear>
I’m 99% sure the Firefish is dead. I replaced my gfo with a mix of gfo and carbon (since I don’t have another media reactor) on Christmas Eve. No idea whether or not it’s helping, but since the blenny is still doing well, can’t be hurting anything. I tested everything I could this morning, and the parameters are: SG: 1.025 pH: 8.0 (still low, but consistent)
<Try using a marine buffer>
Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 0 (maybe this is why my coral is unhappy)
<Could be>
KH: 9 Calcium: 464 Magnesium: 1320 I couldn’t check phosphate since I just found my kit expired. I haven’t been able to point to anything that would poison my fish, especially since my pincushion urchins and maxima clam are happy. Perhaps something that specifically targets gill function or dissolved oxygen (I feel like this would be odd, since the skimmer is doing a pretty good job on the O2 front)?
<Do you have enough water movement, surface agitation?>
I don’t think it’s anything in my source water for top-off, since I used that same water to set up the quarantine tank (RO/DI into 5 gallon bucket, then pumped into sump for top-off or into other container for use). I did just increase the max light intensity by 5%, to see if that mad my corals any happier. Could this have irritated someone enough to cause them to release something nasty?
<I don´t think that´s the case here, no.>
Coral list is: Assorted Zoanthids Two different types of button polyps Three different Sacrophytons A toadstool leather Various mushrooms (grow like weeds usually) A Hollywood Stunner chalice Red chalice Tyree ocelina (sp?) Two Galaxea colonies Red Acan Goniopora (has been slowly wasting away)
<Ah yes, Gonioporas are hard to keep in good health>
Yellow polyps Cat’s paw I ordered an ATI ICP test kit. Maybe that will pick up something that is causing problems. As I wait for the results, I’ll try to figure out what to do about getting my nitrates up a little bit.
Another long battle, since my mangrove tank looks like a swamp due to all the hair algae.... Thanks again for the advice. I’ll send an update when I get water test results and/or if I gain any additional information. Any additional suggestions?
<I advise you to trim the algae in your refugium, this way you will let nitrates rise a bit.>
I hope the whole crew is enjoying the holidays. I appreciate all the advice! Best, -Charles
<Enjoy the holidays too, Charles! Greetings. Wil>
Re: Sailfin Tang Heavy Breathing, I2 poisoning       2/17/19

Hi Crew,
A much delayed update on this situation:
So I sent out my water for an ATI ICP-OES test. It came back mostly good, with one huge and one marginal out of balance parameter:
Iodine was just under 40,000 micrograms per liter, nearly 1000 times what it should be!!!!!

<?! Where did this I2 come from?>
Salinity was low - 29.76 PSU. I'm not sure this was a good measurement - I ordered pinpoint calibration solution, recalibrated my refractometer, and was still getting an SG of 1.025. Not sure why the large discrepancy.
<Mmm; well... specific gravity is NOT the same as salinity... i.e., you could have other dissolved solids that are raising the former that are not salts.>
I think it's safe to say the iodine concentration was the cause of death of my fish, as well as the decline of so many corals. I had been dosing iodine, without testing.... bad reef-keeper.
<Aye yi yi... What is my mantra here? "Never dose/add something you can't and don't measure".>
I had been dosing iodine for nearly a decade, in the same manner (automatic doser for the last couple of
years) without testing and without noticeable issues - I had been under the impression that iodine dosing was critical for crustaceans building their exoskeleton.
<Well; yes; but very little. Many, likely most folks get by with the little that comes in w/ new synthetic water changes, foods>
In the fall, I switched brands to the two little fishies iodine concentrate and adjusted my dosing accordingly (I don't recall which I was dosing before, may have been Kent). I'm not sure if something weird happened at that time, or it was just accumulating over a very long time.
Regardless, after more reading about iodine and the mixed information on the need to dose for a healthy reef, I've decided to discontinue dosing iodine altogether.
Now, to remedy the iodine issue, I started doing several large (30%) water changes over the course of a couple of weeks. My corals started to respond within a few days of the first water change. Still not doing great, but starting on the road to recovery. I had also gone out and bought a Red Sea iodine test kit. My first test was, of course, completely off the scale of the test kit, which only goes up to 0.09 ppm. I wasn't surprised, really, when after 4 or 5 water changes, my readings were still off the chart, since the starting concentration was so high. At this point, I sat back and considered the fact that it would take months of water changes to get the iodine under control. I finally decided to just do a 100% water change. No fish in the system, and all the other parameters were within reason, so
nothing to lose with replacing it all.
<Mmm; you might add a "pad" of PolyFilter or a bag of ChemiPure in your filter flow path. These will absorb the leaching/back I2 over time.>
Finally, after the 100% water change (my dining room was filled with buckets and bins, and I learned my total system volume is actually about 75 gallons....), I checked my iodine levels and.... still off the chart.
<Ah yes... see above>
Something seemed strange with how the test kit was functioning, since the reaction is supposed to take 10-15 minutes, but seemed to complete instantaneously. Lo and behold..... my reagents had expired 1 month BEFORE I bought the test kit. I wasn't pleased. I did send a note to the LFS to let them know of this issue. I expect they don't sell many of these test kits, and a couple of forum posts indicated the Red Sea iodine reagents expire very quickly. I decided that, since I had just replaced all (except for a couple of gallons in plumbing, etc) of my water, there was no way the iodine was at lethal levels. My coral had already started to really respond and open up, regain color etc. So I moved my two survivors (the clown and sailfin - who had survived a bout of "black ich" in quarantine - thanks general cure) back into the main display. They are now happily swimming around, and the sailfin is starting to mow down an infestation of grape caulerpa that has taken over since his eviction.
<Some good news>
It looks like I'm finally back on track. I'll likely never dose iodine again - just not worth the trouble. Certainly won't dose without testing again.
Once I go a week with everyone still happy, I'll set up the quarantine tank again and begin to repopulate the tank - it just looks so lonely with 2 fish in there.
Thanks for all your advice. Hopefully any future emails will be with happier questions - like which dwarf angel I should put in there (leaning towards flame or coral beauty, since I'll be moving in the next couple of years and don't want to put a potter's through that stress).
<Thank you for your report. You've likely helped MANY other people to come.
Bob Fenner>

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>

Desjardini Tang with black spots       6/20/15
Hello there,
I had this tang for about 3 weeks now. I had quarantined him for 14 days then moved him into a holding tank for 7 days before introducing him to the main system.
<I see>
He's developed this dark black spots overnight and I'm not sure what they are. I read on your site that it could be stress marks? It doesn't look like black ich. Do you think that's its just stress?
<I do think this is as you state; not pathogenic, like Trematodes... Good care and time going by will see these spots go.

Bob Fenner>

Re: Desjardini Tang with black spots; plus now Premnas "rash"        6/25/15
Hello Bob,
You were right the spots disappeared within 2 days.
Thank you for your help. I have a pair of Clownfishes and the female appears to have a lesion on its bottom side. I've quarantined the pair in a separate tank already.
The lesion was getting better the other week, but today I noticed that it got bigger. Do you think it's Brooklynella?
If so I have some Ich-X formalin ready. Better to get it a long bath or add it into the quarantine?
<I would not dip or treat this fish... yet. This "rash" may be "natural"; an endocrinological manifestation. Bob Fenner>
Re: Desjardini Tang with black spots       6/25/15

Ok thank you. I will refrain from doing anything further. Anything that you would recommend to help it recover?
<The usual: Optimized, stable environment and good nutrition! BobF!>

Sailfin tang... 8 megs.... NNS       4/18/15
Hi I jabe a quick question my tang came with this tank so he's old but I have noticed this black spot at his mouth area that I can't seen to remeber him ever having. It's a single spot no other fish have a spot similar to it. I have include a picture to help. Trying to figure out if  he needs any thing medically speaking or if I should be worried about him or the other fish in my tank.
<Nothing medically to apply here. Likely this melanistic area is due to a long-since trauma.
Bob Fenner>


Sailfin tang - discolouration     4/6/13
Hi everyone,
Thanks as always for your help with these questions. I have a Sailfin tang that I have had in QT for the past 3 months
<... what?>

 with a Tomini Tang. Both were purchased with no signs of disease and were in good shape with no signs of malnutrition and good colour. I had them in QT for 4 weeks and then put them through a proactive 4 week hypo at 1.009. I then brought them out over one week. During this time they ate and showed no signs of distress.
<... these markings are>

I have planned to put them into my main tank but noticed white patches on one side of the sailfin tang that appear on closer inspection to be discolouration in the skin. There are no signs of raised spots or any parasites. The Tomini shows no signs of any discolouration. They are still eating and looking healthy otherwise.
I was just keen to find out what may have caused it.
<Perhaps an altercation w/ the other fish; perhaps latent stress. I would these fishes into the main/display, not treat the system w/ "med.s". Bob Fenner>

Black Ich / Paravortex or something else? Picture #2     3/29/13
Here is another picture of the sailfin tang with possible black Ich.
Thank you for your advice.
165 gallon reef
Orphek LEDs
AquaC ev 240 skimmer
30 gallon sump
15% water changes done weekly
live sand
150 + pounds live rock
normal water parameters
78 degree temp
1.025 salinity
varied diet (variety of dried seaweed, multiple kinds of frozen foods, pellets, flakes, live foods, macroalgae)
refugium coming in May
<Not black Ich, Paravortex. These melanistic markings are common in many tangs... blemishes from mechanical injuries... bumping into objects in the tank. Not problematical. Bob Fenner>
Black Ich / Paravortex or something else?     3/30/13

Good Evening WWM crew,
This is a picture of my Zebrasoma desjardinii.  I noticed these brown/grey/black  spots (or "splinter looking shapes in some areas") on the fish when its coloration shifted lighter this morning (normally dark, but shifts to light when I do water changes or annoyed).  Anyhow, I started searching for what it could be and I am afraid it is black Ich.  Can you verify by the photo?  I can send you another photo, too.
<My estimation is the same>
I understand that a fresh water dip needs to take place.
  One time and put the fish in QT or one time and put the fish back in display?
<I wouldn't touch this fish. Leave it where it is>
 Do I need to fresh water dip all fish, no other fish have spots that I can see.
Please advise on what to do if my entire 165 gallon reef tank is infested with Paravortex?  The thought of breaking down 150 pounds of live rock (not to mention disturbing lps and sps) to catch a breeding pair of Banggai, clown pair, PJ cardinal pair, pearly Jawfish pair, an ornate leopard wrasse, a juvenile orange line bristle tooth and the 6" sail fin is daunting.  But I will do whatever it takes to get things back on track.
Do you suggested I remove all fish and let the tank set empty of fish for 8 weeks?  Can I leave in the peppermint shrimp, skunk shrimp, emerald crab and snails?
Thank you,
<Not to worry. BobF>

sailfin spots on fin     7/12/12
Hello Bob and crew,
I recently purchased a small/medium sized Desjardini Sailfin tang (~5"). He was fine for a couple of weeks but soon started to show a white spot on his right pectoral fin. It was about the shape and size of a grain of rice, perhaps a little smaller. Over the course of a few weeks this large spot stayed, but many smaller spots started to form on the same fin, some close to the original spot and some far. He now has about 6 spots but the only big one is the original - the rest are tiny like grains of sugar. It has been almost 2 months since addition of the fish and there are still no spots anywhere else on his body. Any ideas what this may be, and what I can do to treat it?
<Can't be certain w/o sampling and microscopic view, but this reads like a trematode infestation. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for all your help and the great site.

Paravortex on a sailfin tang   6/25/12
I have a desjardinii tang which is about 14 inches long, he is in my sps aquarium which is kept at 11 DKH and 420-450 calcium ideally. The temperature is 78-80 degrees consistently. I rescued this fish from a tank full of tangs (mostly yellow) that had Paravortex, and he had not eaten for a week. When I removed him from the previous tank I gave him a 8 minute freshwater dip in hopes to kill the Turbellarian.
<Usually does it. I'd add a bit of formalin (and aeration) on the next go>
A few days after being in my system he began to eat. I have had him for 2 months now and he was doing great until I upgraded a week ago to a bigger aquarium. He did break out with some Ich which I expected, but he also has a slight haze over his eyes. He is also eating, but not with the voraciousness he once did. I sometimes can see small black lines on  him which are around 1/4" long. My problem is that since he is dark in coloration I cannot conclude whether he has black Ich or not. I do not want to lose such a nice fish, but quarantine and treatment will be difficult on such a large fish.
<Just the dip/bath>
 I know the best treatment is Praziquantel. I would assume that an 8 minute dip would kill the worms, but at the same time cannot explain the black lines
<"Just stress">
 which seem larger than black Ich in my experience. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You,
Terry Baldwin
<Better to move the fish to a clean setting after the bath:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sailfin tang not eating splotchy looking what can this be     5/30/12
<... water quality and/or nutrition... See WWM re Zebrasoma hlth., nutr.
Bob Fenner>

Desjardinii Sailfin Tang with Possible Ailment    6/4/11
Hey Crew,
I added a Desjardinii Sailfin to my 300g reef about 3 weeks ago after 3 weeks of QT. The fish was active, eating, and by all visible signs healthy when I introduced him to my display, and at a glance the same appears to be true today. However, on close inspection, I can see white "markings" on the body of the fish. (See pic).
<I see these>
It does not look like Ich or velvet, and the marks are not raised above the skin. It looks like random scratches that turned white, and at first appearance that's what I thought they were. But then more appeared, and it just doesn't seem like that is the case anymore.
I also noticed that the fish is respirating a little faster than normal, sometimes. Not the fastest I've ever seen from a sick fish, but faster than all of my other fish. I chalked this up to nerves at first, but again, I'm not sure about this either.
<Is "nerves"... in a word, "stress">
The fish is very social, active, hungry fish otherwise. I feed everything from formula 1 and 2 flakes, to mysis shrimp, a good pellet, prime reef (frozen and flake), Cyclop peeze, ArctiPods, Nori, and he consumes it all, with garlic and Selcon added each feeding. For these reasons, I'm also pretty sure it's not nutritional.
My tank's levels are as follows. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate about 0 .
<How kept thus? Some chemical filtrants are too toxic to types of aquatic life>
Temperature is stable 79 degrees, 4 inch DSB in display and in refugium, 350 lbs live rock, 40 gal sump, 40 gal fuge, 4x400 MH, 2 VHO actinic, plenty of circulation. I have 4 tangs, all of different genus,
<Genera, and this is likely the primary source of stress here... But, w/ time going by, this fish will very likely blend/mix in, lose the stress markings>
and they all get along together very well. I have a magnificent Foxface, 3 clowns, a mandarin, and a few Chromis as well. Plenty of cleaner shrimp in there too.
Stinging from a coral also seems unlikely, just because the marks are on both sides of the body and pretty consistently distributed.
<Good observation>
These marks are level with the skin, which makes me think it's not fungal, again, not sure about this but that's something I've read. My good water chemistry leads me to believe it's not environmental either. For now im leaving him in the DT. I would like an opinion on a) what this could be and b) if anyone has experience dealing with it.
So far none of my other fish show similar marks.
Much tanks, I mean thanks!
<Just patience here John. Probable that in a few weeks this fish will resume to healthy/normal coloration. Bob Fenner>

Re: Desjardinii Sailfin Tang with Possible Ailment 6/4/2011
<Hi John>
Noted, and thank you so much for donating your time to help me and this hobby.
<Indeed a pleasure and honour to share John. Cheers, BobF>

Hole In the Head Disease... Read-over  11/5/10
Dear Crew at Wet Web Media,
I have a Desjardin Sailfin tang and I was just recently told that he has the "Hole In the Head Disease".
<Quite common in this genus of tangs in captivity>
I have been reading a long string of corresponded on the internet about how to treat this disease.
I have been seeing two different names "Iodine & Iodide" What is the brand name for either of those products so I will know what to ask for at the fish store.?????
<Mmm, actually neither... Iodide-ate are forms/valences of the element Iodine that are of use, indeed are a micro-nutrient of much life on this planet, but the erosive condition HLLE is not caused by its lack...>
Also need to know the name brand for the Zoe as well "Formula II soaked in Zoe"...??????
<See the Net for Zoe, or Zoecon... this is a product name, a capital noun...>
What kind of Baby Vitamins are being used that I saw being mentioned as well??????
<Any general mix/brand>
Is this liquid form or pill form crushed and mixed in with the food that is being soaked???? Any particular brand????
<Liquid is best>
I feed him both Green, Purple, & Red seaweed made by Julian Sprung until I ran out of the Red Seaweed which I have been having a really hard time locating that particular item. I also soak them in Selcon but I ran out which I could not tell but did not look like it was even helping any.
Also feed chopped up shrimp, scallops bought from the fresh seafood department at the grocery store along with squid (frozen) grinded up in a food processor. His had been a very greedy eater but has recently slowed down compared to how he use to eat. I have had him/her in a QT (42hex) tank for about 4wks. The only improvement I have seen on his body was that a very small line had appeared about where the Lateral Line would be after treatment of Melafix & Pimafix that line is now gone.
<... worse than worthless scam products>
In the main tank (55gal)
<This volume is too small for this species... by more than half>
I am running the Eheim 2217, Penguin Bio-Wheel Filter 350 plus a Hydor #2.
In the QT tank (42Hex) I am running a Aqueon Power Filter 55gal & a Fluval filter system #4.
Water changes bi-weekly but now have changed to weekly. Now using Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt just started about 2-3 weeks ago.
<<Picture (Device Independent Bitmap)>>
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/stripedzebrasomas.htm
and the linked files above, and: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
scroll down to Nutritional Diseases. Bob Fenner>

possible Lymphocystis with sailfin?  4/24/10
Hi Crew,
I've had a sailfin tang for over a year now, he has had Whitespot before and he's currently got a single white spot (quite larger id say than an 'ich' spot), I've just noticed a second smaller one starting. they are in
exactly the same spot either side of the mouth, just above the corners. The first one appeared about 2 weeks ago, started as a spot slightly lighter in colour to the normal area of skin, then gradually become a bright white and now is growing out and above the level of the skin.
Is this Lymphocystis?
<May be viral>
it looks like the larger spot has become a bit like a cauliflower but hard to tell at this stage.
He is eating as per normal, nothing else is out of place. I feed Spirulina brine shrimp, mysis shrimp and Nori daily.
The tank is 285L
<Needs more room than this in time>
with corals and live rock, a six line wrasse and a few Chromis.
I water change 20% every week, with 0 nitrates, nitrites and ammonia. ph is 8.3, kH 8-9, calcium 400 and temperature sits about 25C.
I figure I will wait and watch carefully, as I don't want to unnecessarily remove him and cause undue stress.
<I agree>
Just thought perhaps I could get a possible diagnosis or steer in the right direction if I'm thinking the wrong way!
2 Pictures are attached.
Kind Regards,
Helen Bidwell.
<I might try adding a purposeful biological cleaner... Perhaps a Lysmata amboinensis... in the hopes it will excise this material, lower stress. Bob Fenner>

Sick fish can't identify...  "sent by phone!"    2/16/08
Another picture this is my only means. Please understand. <Say what? A Zebrasoma... with a "bad" mouth, some sort of protozoan complaint...>
A third picture. Symptoms are clumps, whit spots, and dark lines? Please help. I have been treating with an formalin/malachite green product. Please help! ... no reading, no data... <You're joking? In order to help folks we need data... the system, history, water quality tests... You're wasting y/our time here, and your livestock's health. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sailfindisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 
Re: A third picture. Symptoms are clumps, whit spots, and dark lines? Please help. I have been treating with an formalin/malachite green product. Please help!   2/16/08 Bob, the readings are all within normal parameters, <...> or I would have specified earlier, the other fish are all doing good as well. This is an established tank of more than a year. Temp. Is 74, salinity @ 2.0. <... what? No.> Nitrates undetectable. Can you identify it from the pictures? <... Please read where you were referred to. B> 

Sailfin "Black Spot" only behind eyes?  12/22/08 Greetings crew, thank you in advance for your time and wise, patient advice. <Welcome April> I have thought for the past several weeks now that my Sailfin has Black Spot disease. He only has those Black Spot looking pepper dots just behind his eyes, a small cluster of them, about 7-10, all together, patterned like a half moon. None anywhere else. <Mmm, something else> The rest of his body is clear of any black dots. I have included a photo here of what my guys' looks like. <No photo attached> (This is not my fish, I've searched the web for an image to show you. I do not have permission to use this photo publicly.) So, does this fish have Black Spot? <Not if only behind the eyes, no> I see a little pitting on this fish, like some sort of erosion, mine just has the few black dots also seen here. So much research I have done on what this disease looks like, and every source I have read discusses the dots over the entire body, not just in one area as shown here. Are these handful of dots cause for concern? Happy holidays! April. <The markings may be symptomatic of HLLE... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCauseF.htm and the linked files above, and try to send along a well-resolved pic if you can. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Question about a Desjardini tang sickness -09/03/08 Hello. Hopefully the pictures come through fine. <Yes> My question is in regards to my Desjardini tang. I hope the pictures show the small brown spots he is developing. <I see these> Two days ago I snapped some shots and looked at them and his skin is perfectly clear. Tonight I looked and noticed he has these light brown spots all over his body. Any idea what this is? <Yes... "stress" markings...> Everyone else in the tank seems fine. Grant <Mmm, something amiss... psycho- or physiologically... See WWM re all Zebrasoma entries. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about a Desjardini tang sickness 09/04/2008 I'm actually glad to hear it is "just stress" because I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how a disease could have been introduced. I've been very careful about quarantining my fish for 4 weeks before introduction to the main display tank, thankfully none of my fish have ever shown any indication of illness so I actually haven't had to treat anything. <Good> After I fired off my email last night, I did my basic water checks and sure enough, one of my parameters was way out of whack. I had a little problem this weekend that caused there to be no water flow in the main tank and barely any through the sump for probably 4 or 5 hours. A 210 gallon tank doesn't cool much in 5 hours, but I'm sure it dropped a degree or two and there was no flow, so low oxygen levels. <This would do it> Also, I had a very important meeting to go to Sunday morning (this all happened Saturday night/Sunday morning) so I just really quickly bandaided the problem so my system was up and working again and then went to my meeting. Long story short, I had lost about 10 gallons of water that Sunday morning and when I replaced it, I did it with 1.025 salinity saltwater. In my haste I didn't use my regular freshwater for top off, I don't know what I was thinking, I guess I just wasn't. Anyway, I checked my salinity last night and it was 1.0275. I have since lowered it to 1.026 and tonight I'll finish lowering it back to 1.025. Can salinity alone cause these stress markings on a Zebrasoma? <Yes> I think I've read every single Zebrasoma FAQ multiple times now. I looked some more last night and didn't see anything about this either, I even used the search function for "Zebrasoma brown" just to see, there are a couple references to Turbellid worms or else velvet (which I was really hoping this wasn't) but nothing else. I guess here in a couple days though there will be an entry in there for exactly what I'm dealing with :) <I believe you're right...> The other annoying thing is this... I have a small Purple tang, about 2.5". The Desjardini is about 4.5", they don't fight at all that I've ever seen and I spend a great deal of time watching my tank. After the Desjardini had the brown spots last night, I looked closely at the Purple tang and I'm almost sure he has ich. There aren't any spots on his fins yet, but the fins are so yellow it would be really hard to see unless the spots got big. He just has probably 10-15 small white bumps on each side of his body. <This could be something else... even "nothing"> I didn't see him scratching and I didn't put him into QT because if he does have ich, <I would not> then so does the whole tank and I don't have the means/time to move all fish into QT for 6-8 weeks while the main tank fallows. What really irritates me is not only that I have a fish with small amounts of ich, but also that I even have ich in the first place. I've been religious about FW dip  /formalin for 5 minutes and then into QT for at least a month for all fish. None of them have shown signs of ich in the QT and I really examined them closely. I didn't treat proactively for ich, I figured if after a month they didn't show the tiniest dot, then they didn't have it. And yet here we are, about 2 months after my last fish went into the tank and yep, I've got ich. I've probably had it all along and just the stress of the weekend brought it out. <Patience here> Anyway, just irritating. I cant think of a time when I swapped equipment between tanks (I have a dedicated QT tank set and a display tank set) and I even FW dipped between going from QT to display. All that trouble, literally months of quarantine, mixing lots of salt water to do 20% water changes daily on the QT tanks, special feeding and babying of the new fish and I've still got ich. I wonder at what point I messed up and introduced ich into the tank, although I've been wracking my brain and I cant think of when I did it. One fish must have just had a little ich on him in an unseeable spot, probably the gills and just didn't show it, so  I ended up passing it into the display tank eventually. Thanks for reading my rant and for all the good work you guys do! Grant <Welcome. BobF>

Re: Question about a Desjardini tang sickness 9/6/08 9/8/08 Thought I might comment on this, too. Bob, since you're probably painfully familiar with me, you may recall I have this same situation in my tank. We have a 'subclinical' presence of Ick in my tank still, and your recommendations for such a situation have worked well. Once every few weeks I will see a few cysts on my fish, particularly the Atlantic Blue Tang. A day later, they will be gone with no reoccurrence for weeks. Our regimen is garlic supplemented with a variety of foods and 'Vitality' by Seachem. If we add a fish, we QT it for a few weeks, but mainly to build up it's resistances and to make sure it is in full health before adding. I wanted to comment because I know how frustrating it can be for this guy, but there is hope. Thanks again, Thomas <Thank you Tom. BobF>

Swimming Erratically First time writer to your column, been reading it for a while. I have a 60 gallon tank with a number of corals (elegance, bubble, colt, Shrooms, frogspawn, brains, leathers) with four types of tangs (Naso, Yellow, Regal Blue, and Desjardini), a Coral Beauty angel, and two black clownfish. Well, everyone is doing great with the exception of the Desjardini tang. Lately, he has been swimming erratically like his swim bladder is not functioning. He flaps his fins like crazy to keep his body from floating sideways to the top. Or, he swims at a straight down angle or in a looping fashion. His appearance and appetite are normal. Is this a documented condition and is there any thing that can be done to lessen the stress?? <<How long you had that Zebrasoma? Ever been treated by/with copper? Sometimes Sailfins just go this route... and no, not much/anything you can do (that I'm aware of). Bob Fenner>>

Holes in Dorsal Fin I've got a 6" Sailfin tang in my display tank (125gal.) and he's been doing fine for the past 1 1/2 yrs. But recently (2-3 months) I've noticed that his large dorsal fin has holes in it. From the looks of it, it seems to be thinning. Any explanation or prevention of this? Also, I've got a 3" Kole tang in the hospital tank. The tank has about 2 ppm Cu2+ to control the nasties. The tang has been in the tank for almost two weeks and last week I noticed what appears to be a blister or abscess under his left pectoral fin. And in the last two days, it looks as if a second is forming on his right side near the base of the dorsal fin. Both have a somewhat circular shape so I don't think its lateral line erosion. I'm not sure if he's just scratched himself against a rock and the copper is affecting it or whether it's something else. Any ideas or suggestions? I was planning on introducing him into the display tank this weekend but now I might hold off. <<Hey Bri. Re: the first surgeon... very likely the "holiness" of the dorsal is a combination of mere growth/age and a less than satisfactory diet. Do you offer 'human-food' algae like Nori occasionally? Do so and dip it first in a vitamin and iodine solution. The Ctenochaetus tang (Kole) is definitely in trouble from the copper. Do remove the Cu++ or better still, move the fish. I'd take the big risk and plunk it into my best reef tank. I've stated such before, but this family and their close relatives (e.g. the Rabbitfishes, Siganidae, scats: Scatophagidae, Idols: Zanclidae) can't take much in the way of sustained, let's make that chronic (more than a few days) copper treatments... kills off needed alimentary microbes. Bob Fenner>>

Sick RedSea Sailfin Quit Eating Hello again Mr. Fenner, I wrote you recently about copepods & 2-fish in my quarantine tank- (flame angel & red sea Sailfin tang). My red sea tang has suddenly taken a turn for the worse & has quit eating, breathing rapidly & "hovering" in the same lower left corner of the tank all of the time. My nitrates were at 20 & ammonia was very low but my ph lowered to 7.9, from 8.3. So I added a small amount of Kent 8.3 to the tank.  <Over what period of time? A change of no more than 0.1 of a pH point in twenty four hours is about maximum> This behavior started later that evening (Sunday). Yesterday I did a 3 gal water change and nothing has changed. Any suggestions??? <Hope... increase aeration... I would likely take the chance and move this specimen to your main tank> Today is the 29th day in quarantine. <This is too long... in almost all cases two weeks will get you about all you can hope to get... unless the specimens that are being quarantined show definite "catching" characteristics I would limit this protocol to fourteen days> I would also like your advice in another one of your favorite arenas. We are trying to plan a vacation to a spot where we can observe salt fish collection, diving (snorkeling) and seeing tropical fish and reefs first hand. Wives would be along also, so a nice hotel is a must. I live in Las Vegas, NV & my brother lives in Newport beach, ca. Naturally, the closer, the better. We will be traveling in late Sept. or Oct.. Mexico, Belize, Florida ???  <All good choices... and would toss in Hawai'i... generally there are calm-enough places, warm-enough water that time of year for HI... Take a long look on the Net at all possibilities, and chat these up with all parties... When you narrow the locale down we'll chat. Bob Fenner> Thanx for your advice in advance. Craig
Re: Sick RedSea Sailfin
Mr. Fenner, Thanx again for you light speed response! The reason the 2 fish are in the 10 quarantine tank is I've let the main tank go 30 days without occupants to hopefully get rid of the crypto eggs.  <Ah, now that makes sense...> I hope I was doing the right thing. My LFS suggested to go the full 30 days. I do put your expertise above theirs, although the girl has 15yrs. experience.  <Best to consider alls opinions to make up your own mind, course of action> Do you think I should wait the one more day, or get both of the fish back in the 50 gal. <If the one fish looks as bad as you describe, I would move it. It may perish otherwise. Bob Fenner> Thanx so much. Craig
Re: Sick RedSea Sailfin
Mr. Fenner, It looks like I owe you a Sushi dinner when you visit Las Vegas. I did find a great "all you can eat in an hour" spot nearby. <I'm on my way!> I added a Rio powered to my 10g to aerate the qt tank & within an hour or two, the RedSea Sailfin was moving about the tank. Although he still looks to be breathing rapidly, I think I will wait the extra day & introduce him into my main tank tomorrow. He still is not eating (I put Nori in the tank) but he does look a little better. <The added aeration likely did the trick... the Surgeonfishes need high, consistent dissolved oxygen> Since I'm not a gambling' man, you can't if you live in this town, I will wait till the morning. I would hate to go thru the crypto nightmare again. I'll keep you informed. <Ah, good> Thanx so much for your help. Craig p.s. I checked out a couple of spots in Belize & will search more when I have more time. We'll chat when I narrow it down. Thanx <Real good... if it's your first time, maybe just Ambergris, San Pedro, about the Hol Chan... if you and wives are more adventurous, Caye/Key Caulker, Tenerife, many other off shore island possibilities... Lots of time, wanderlust? Drive the length down to Placentia, out to Laughing Bird.... We'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Sailfin Tang, Help A.S.A.P **911** Hi Bob, Love your Website! <Thank you... what would you do different, add to the WWM site?> I need your expert advice in order to prevent my Sailfin Tang from perishing. This is the second time that I am asking for your help with this same fish. The first time you were great and right on the money with your advice and I hope you can do the same this time around. I have been watching him very carefully each day, and he still exhibits signs of parasitic infestation. His appetite is still very good and he has a slight case of HLLE, but the main concern is that he is still breathing very rapidly, which makes me believe that he has gill parasites. With the mis-fortune of not having my hospital tank up and running I have come the conclusion that I have only two options. The first option now is treat my main tank with CopperSafe and pray that it will take control of this parasite, or my second option is to take this Sailfin Tang out of the main tank and try a" freshwater dip". <The latter would be/is my choice for now... with a dilute formalin/malachite dip solution... look for the Kordon Corp. product here. And also Zoecon to add to the tank, food to help you with the HLLE... and live macro-algae as detailed on the WWM site> My only concern is the procedure in which this method is done. Please Bob, give me some advice. I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me the correct step by step instructions on this process. For instance: correct water conditions such as temp, ph, length of time the fish should be dipped, and also what to do after the fish is dipped. Please reply A.S.A.P if you would be so kind!!!!! <These are spelled out well enough on the dip/bath section in the marine index. Please read them, download there. Bob Fenner>

Saltwater (Sailfin Tang) Disease Hi, Mr. Fenner I just had a few questions about why the tangs are so hard to keep healthy looking. My Sailfin Tang always seems to be breathing heavy and his lateral line also seems to be a little faded. What is the cause of all this? I give my fish a variety of foods like: brine shrimp, algae cubes, bloodworms, clam cubes, flake food, algae strips from seaweed select and I also add Vita-Chem to their food daily. I tested all the levels in the fish only aquarium and they all fall within the parameters. My tank size is 42gal.Hex. and I also have a Niger Trigger and a Snowflake EEL. If you will please E-mail me back ASAP with some advice. Thanks, Tom <Thank you for caring enough to investigate... These are not good signs as you know, but you may well have provided all the information here that is necessary to solve your systems problem. Yes, this is likely what can be termed an "environmental disease". That is the cause of the poor health manifestations listed (heavy breathing, HLLE) are due directly to unsatisfactory conditions in the living quarters. Please do read over the FAQ section associated with the term "environmental disease" posted on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com and consider the following: Increasing aeration/circulation (airstones, powerheads...) as of the fishes you list, the Tang is the one with the highest dissolved oxygen need. And to discount the likelihood that this may as well be a nutritional deficiency syndrome, do add liquid vitamins, and iodide (often called iodine in the trade) supplement to the fish's favored foods ahead of placing them in this system... Additionally, I would add some live rock to this system, some macro-algae to improve water quality and offer as food on a constant basis... and start saving for a larger system, as these fishes will need such within a year. Bob Fenner>

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>>

Desjardinii Sailfin Tang Question, no useful data   8/20/07 Hi, I have a Desjardinii Sailfin Tang which seems to be losing it color. It is happening in the same place on both sides. See attached photo with arrow. Do you have any idea what this is? The water chemistry, diet, lighting has not changed. The fish is eating well. Thank you for your help! Laura Lee <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm the second tray down... BobF>

Re: Desjardinii Sailfin Tang Question   8/26/07 Hi Bob, I am sorry... I have gone to the link and the "second tray down", but I can not for the life of me find what it is my tang has. I have gone through the links for the past two hours. Do you think you could be a little bit more specific? I must be missing something. Thank you so much for your time. Laura Lee <Could be a few possible "things"... a simple mechanical injury, some sort of result from treatment... Stress marking... Am/was hoping that by reading, perusing you would be able to provide more/better input, realize yourself... BobF>

Sailfin specks   6/13/07 Dear Crew Members, <Fred> The accompanying photos show a Sailfin tang on whom dark marks suddenly appeared three days ago. The tiny splotches were accompanied by a very light ("faded") color instead of the usual, high-contrast Sailfin markings, and occasional, though not persistent, scratching. Appetite and general behavior did not seem very affected. Three slightly smaller yellow tangs in the same 220 gallon tank have not shown any similar symptoms. <These would very strikingly show such if this flatworm were present> Naturally, I consulted your excellent site, and although the symptoms did not seem a perfect match to Paravortex, that seemed the most likely diagnosis. I caught the fish (we frequently feed from a net, to enable fast fish removal), <Thank goodness!> did a 9-minute fresh water dip, and put the fish into quarantine. Over a day later, his overall coloration has returned to normal, but the specks are still present (though possibly less contrasting). <I see these> Now I am wondering whether I may have misdiagnosed his condition. The Sailfin is just over 3 years old, and had always lived by himself until about 9 days ago when we consolidated fish from our smaller tanks into the larger tank mentioned above. The sailfin was the first fish in, joined after a few days by three Yellow Tangs who have lived together for a few years, a Clarkii Clown, a recently acquired Kole Tang just out of quarantine, and a school of 8 small Chromis cyanea. We have been very pleased with the lack of aggression, especially among the Zebrasomas. To your experienced eyes, do the specks on the Sailfin appear to be Paravortex? <No> If so, should I perform another dip or two at 3-day intervals? If not, what would be your alternative diagnosis, and should I keep the fish in quarantine? <I do think these are "just markings"... There is some evidence of pitting... perhaps linked to neuromast destruction (HLLE) over time... but not likely a problem, issue.> Thanks for your long-term dedication to our hobby, and of course for your help, Fred <I would likely do what is easiest here to improve water quality (add activities, gear, clean up... to increase RedOx...) and augment diets... with addition, soaking of foods with a vitamin, Iodide/ate, and HUFA prep.. Bob Fenner>

Sailfin Tang - dying?  5/30/07 Hello -- Appreciate your informative site!! We have a 125 gallon reef tank, 1 Red Sea Sailfin Tang about a year old, 1 Red Flame Hawkfish, 1 Coral Banded Shrimp, 1 long tentacle anemone (New) and some various polyps and mushrooms. Param.s are as follows: PH 8.3 Amm = 0 Nitrites = 0 Nitrates = 0 Temp = 83 (bit high I think, but just put new MH Lights in) In the last couple days my Tang has been acting a little strange, hanging out in one of the corners and not really swimming around like normal. We moved the powerheads around a bit but that didn't help. <May be just simple low dissolved oxygen, elevated temperature at play here...> When I woke up this morning, I thought he was dead. He was hanging' upside behind one of the rocks. I went to net him out and he swam, head down and upside down back over to the anemone. I left him alone and came back to check on him and he was resting on the anemone. I nudged him to see if he was alive and he got caught up in the current' - trying to right himself as he was upside down and/or sideways. Also, one of his eyes are cloudy. He is typically a very social fish! We did a water change last week and rearranged some of the rocks, added the anemone. <This may be a source of morbidity, mortality as well> We had our old VHO ballast blow last weekend, so there was a day and half with out lights and then we moved to a MH light system. This is a well established tank and everything else seems to be doing just fine! Any ideas, suggestions!? Thanks in advance!!! Jessica <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm Scroll down to the tray on Tangs, particularly the articles, FAQs files on the genus Zebrasoma. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sailfin Tang - dying?  5/31/07
Well he has now died. Now, I am very curious about what could of killed him! Is it possible he could of been stung bad enough by the anemone? <Yes> As he was dying, his skin was turning white -- is that a sign of something or just the dying process? <Could be either, both> At any rate -- any insight would be very much appreciated! BTW -- the registration for the forums is not working. <Have sent this over and over to the administrator... Lorenzo Gonzalez... Don't know what the issue is, nor can I/we fix it for him. Thank you> Thank you- Jessica

Desjardini Tang with pockmarks   5/23/07 Dear Sir: <John> I reviewed your FAQs but my situation seems to be different than HLLE, etc. My 3 year old Desjardini Tang has these white "divots" confined to the area around its eyes above and below. The eyes are clear and the fish is active, colors otherwise vibrant, is an eager eater and appears healthy. These divots have existed for approximately 1.5  years and may be getting slightly worse. <Mmm, this is almost certainly a form of "Neuromast destruction"... IS HLLE...> The diet is primarily Formula 2 and Nori and whatever meat it can steal (and it doesn't get much) from the trigger, lionfish, 2 wrasses and a moray eel that live with it in a 125 gallon tank (FOWLR). <This is way too much fish life for such a volume> I have about 40 ppm nitrates <And twice as much nitrate as they should be exposed to> with 0 nitrites and ammonia. I buffer pH to a constant 8.3. <Good> In case you think it related to my problem, because of all of the messy eaters I have in the tank, I religiously change approx. 20 - 30 % of water per week. <You need more space period, and likely more/better filtration> Do you have a theory as to what may be causing this problem with my tang and what do you recommend I do about it ?   <Poor environment and nutrition... Improving them/these...> Thanks for your help. John <Posted... over and over... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the linked FAQs files above... Bob Fenner>

Sailfin Tang markings  4/6/07 Hello gang, I've been visiting the site for a while now, but this if the first time I've written in. Let me jump right to it. I've had my sailfin tang for about a year now. He is approximately 4". He eats anything and is very active, but over the last few weeks he has started to get some unusual spots on him, and I can't'¬"¢t figure out exactly what it is. I'm hoping that one of you will be able to identify the problem for me. I've asked him nicely to stay still for a picture, but to he just doesn't seem to want to cooperate. I was able to get one decent shot, I circled the new marks, as you can see, there are quite a few. I feed him a variety of frozen foods, Nori, flakes, Spirulina, and once a week or so, I soak the Nori or frozen food with Selcon. <Good> His current home is a 125G tank with about 150lbs of live rock. I'm running two Aquaclear 500 filters, an Odyssea CFS4 canister filter, an AquaC Remora pro skimmer, a Seio 1500 powerhead, and another smaller powerhead (don't know what it is). Water parameters are: Ammonia - 0; Nitrite - 0; Nitrate - 10; PH ' 8.4; Alk 4.0 mEq/L (200ppm); SG 1.022; Temp at 78 degrees. The other tank mates are: 3" regal tang, a tomato clown, a fire fish, and some assorted hermit crabs and snails. Everyone else seems normal. Any help or suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated.   - Khris <... these are very likely "just" stress markings... Likely the Tomato Clown and Regal tang are taking turns challenging this specimen... How deleterious is their territoriality? This Sailfin might be moved to another setting... does eventually get much larger... And I'd like to mention the benefits of using Spectrum pelleted foods with these fishes... good nutritionally, and seems to reduce inter-species competition. Bob Fenner>

Sail Fin Tang... HLLE and Trematodes... -11/27/2007 I have a Sail fin tang. He has small holes all over his body and fins. <I see these in your photo> I thought it was Ick but have not had any luck treating for Ick. <Are likely flukes... and neuromast destruction...> The best way to describe is the holes with something white in the middle of them. Something seems to be eating away at the skin. I have attached a very large photo so you can zoom in. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks, Brian Safian <... I would treat... successively... with Metronidazole... then Praziquantel... see WWM re the use of these compounds... AND you need to address your water quality and nutrition... Something is amiss here that has allowed the HLLE to advance... see WWM re HLLE causes/cures... Write back with specific issues... Bob Fenner>

Re: Sail Fin Tang... hlth. f'   11/27/2007 Bob, <Brian> I have been putting Metronidazole in food regularly for about a month <This is MUCH too long for exposure to this material> and I treated the tank with PraziPro. <This... should have "done it"> Some folks have suggested I do the formalin dip as that is also effective against Flukes and Ich and maybe feed Metronidazole while the fish are in QT after formalin dip. Basically, setup QT tank, do Formalin dips and then put fish into QT tank for a while. My next question is, "Does the eel need treatment." <...? What eel?> I know most flukes and worms can be fairly species specific and this one might only go after tangs. <Likely so> I just do not know what the resistance to flukes is by different fish or eels. <Many species are almost commensals...> I know that in tank treatment is not recommended by most, but having a fish only tank might be able to get away with dosing Praziquantel in the tank? <Is done... frequently. Often times with success... though the issue of co-interactions is pertinent... may absorb the medicant/s> If it is not recommended, what the life cycle of the fluke is and that way you know how long your QT has to be for. <What?> Thanks, Brian Safian <See WWM, the Net re Trematode diseases of fishes... BobF>

Re: Sail Fin Tang... hlth. 11/29/07 OK....Let me clarify. The Sail Fin Tang is in a FO tank with a Naso tang and a Snowflake Eel. The Naso and Eel have no signs parasites what so ever. Last night I gave the Sail Fin a 45 Minute Formalin bath. <... depending on strength/concentration, this is too long for formalin exposure> It seems today that several, but not all the holes are empty so it may have gotten some of the flukes off. Everyone seems to think I should bring the tank into Hypo, which I may begin stepping down today. Sorry for the confusion Brian <... please, don't write; read instead... on WWM re hyposalinity... RMF>

Re: Sail Fin Tang... hlth., blitzkrieg not working, need ID 12/20/07 Bob, <Brian> I wanted to get your opinion on a Fish Illness I had discussed with you a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to give you update and new photos to rack your brain a little if you don't mind. The Sail Fin Tang is in a tank with a Naso Tang, Snowflake Eel. Neither of them have any signs of parasites. I have included the latest photos to compare with previous photos. Below is the plan of action I currently have taken. 1.Treated with PraziPro (<5% Praziquantel) treated once (No effect) 2. Treaded with ParaGuard 3. Tried a Formalin Dip of 200 ppm for 45 min (no long term effect) 4. Feeding with Metronidazole every other day (No long term effects slight decrease in red color in wounds) 5. At Hypo (SG 1.010) for past 5 day Slowly dropped hypo for 10 days (Worms might be dislodging from wounds to surface but hard to tell) 6. NO3 is a bit high at 25-50ppm but fish only tank (Treatment might be effecting the bacteria cycle a bit) 7. Ammonia is 0 8. NO2 is clear 9. Temp is at 77 10 The HLLE seems to be cleared up for the most part. <I see> Fish is still eating but not swimming too active. Only treatment left to try is maybe try Heart guard but unsure about the effects. Your expertise would be appreciated. Thanks, Brian Safian <On the basis of your lack of results, am given to consider that the "dots" may be something else... Perhaps a micro/Sporidean, other subcutaneous protozoan. Again, is there someway you can get/use a microscope with computer adaptability or take this fish, skin/sample to a lab that can take a look/see? BobF>

Re: Tank temp spikes and affect on Sailfin Tang 6/1/08 Thanks for your help. Unfortunately, he didn't make it. I fear that he had some sort of tissue necrosis, as large chunks of tissue were just falling off on the head as well in the body, just beyond the skull. <Bizarre... more than one thing going on here> It got so bad that it seemed like I could see a portion of his skull. I will send some photos of the condition. All other fish are doing great. Out of curiosity, what size tank would you recommend for a fish like my tang? <A Zebrasoma desjardinii needs at least a couple of hundred gallons to "do well"... this species (distinct from Z. veliferum further in the west Indo-Pacific out to Hawaii) gets very large. Both to about a "standard length" (a fisheries measure... sans basically the tail/caudal fin... of 40 cm... Yes, 16 inches... small individuals can "live" for a few years in smaller volumes... but... not well in a longer term sense> I may or may not seek a replacement (of any kind) if it will get too crowded with my current livestock. <Do see fishbase.org re as well: http://fishbase.org/NomenClature/ScientificNameSearchList.php?crit1_fieldname=SYNONYMS. SynGenus&crit1_fieldtype=CHAR&crit1_operator=EQUAL&crit1_ value=zebrasoma&crit2_fieldname=SYNONYMS.SynSpecies&crit2_fieldtype=CHAR&crit2_ operator=contains&crit2_value=&group=summary&backstep=-2 Bob Fenner>
Re: Tank temp spikes and affect on Sailfin Tang -- 06/02/08
Thanks, Doc. I appreciate it and will likely go without a replacement to give the other guys room in my tank. <Real good. BobF>

Mystery Spot On Sailfin Tang 3/24/08 Dear Crew, <Andy> This morning I noticed a very strange, perfectly round spot on my Sailfin Tang. See attached. This spot is something very recent. Because of its symmetry, I don't think it's an injury. Because it wasn't there yesterday, I don't think it's some natural color morph. It almost looks like a mole. I searched for about an hour on the net looking for a picture of something similar, but found no needle in the haystack. Any thoughts on what it might be? <Mmm, never saw anything quite like that before. Your tang appears to be a very healthy specimen and I'd just keep a close eye on that spot, see if it develops into anything, or go away as quick as it came.> Thanks! <You're welcome and keep us posted. James (Salty Dog)> Andy

Re: Mystery Spot On Sailfin Tang 3/25/08 Thanks James! <You're welcome.> I will keep an eye on it. It is a very strange mark. I noticed that it seems to change in brightness along with the changes that naturally occur in the scales of the fish periodically (you know how the coloration of tangs can fade and brighten in an instant and at night). <Oh yes.> The tang is very active and seems very bright and healthy--great eater, nice full body, happy and peaceful. He has only 4 other fish mates--all smaller fish (Royal Gramma, Copper Band Butterfly, Gold Stripe Maroon Clown and Brown Sailfin Blenny). I feed him New Life Spectrum pellets, <An excellent choice here. I use exclusively, rarely feed other foods. Have you been to their website? Very informative. www.nlpublish.com> live black worms soaked in Selcon, OSI Spirulina flake, sheets of Nori, and Piscine Energetics frozen Mysis soaked in Selcon, so I'm pretty sure he is getting a healthy, varied diet. I do have some tree corals, a few LPS corals and some Corallimorphs, but I don't see those as posing a stinging or other hazard to this fish that would have caused this spot. Thanks again for your time. Andy

Re: Corals, Stocking, Bought the Tang - 6/11/08 Hi again! <Hello Allison> I bought a desjardinii tang today and thought it looked decent to me. <mm.. fish needs a bigger tank.> However, I posted a few pictures up at http://www.saltwaterfish.com/vb/showthread.php?t=323673 and a few users disagree with me. Apparently, my tang has HLLE!...Do you agree? <The beginning. This is an emaciated fish.> What should I do to help him recover? <Return him to the store, and research before making your next purchase. I don't intend to be a damper on your excitement for the hobby, but your fish will be healthier and enjoy greater longevity- and you will enjoy the hobby more- if you read up on disease, stocking, etc and choose fish that are of an appropriate size for your tank and which you know how to take care of.> Thanks! <Welcome. Best of luck.> Allison

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
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