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FAQs about Health/Disease of Tangs 9

FAQs on: Tang Disease 1, Tang Disease 2, Tang Disease 3, Tang Disease 4, Tang Disease 5, Tang Disease 6, Tang Disease 7, Tang Disease 8, Tang Disease 10, Tang Disease 11, Tang Disease 12, Tang Disease 13, &
FAQs on Tang Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic (plus see below), Genetic, Treatments
FAQs by Tang Disease by Pathogen: Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt, Tangs/Rabbits Crypt 2, Tangs/Rabbits Crypt 3, Tangs/Rabbits Crypt 4, & Paravortex/Black Spot Disease,

Related Articles: The Surgeonfish family, Acanthurus, Ctenochaetus, Naso, Paracanthurus, Zebrasoma , Prionurus, Surgeonfishes of Hawai'i, Surgeonfishes for Reef Systems,  

Related FAQs: Tangs in General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Treating Marine Disease, Marine Diseases 2

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Blue Tang Severely Ill...Strategy Suggestions Needed For Removal Of Tang   5/21/06 Bob/ staff; <John> Hello and again my sincere thanks for all the help you guys offer on WWM. I have come into another problem; I have a 1" hippo regal blue tang in my 40 gallon reef. The fish has severe Ich and will  probably die within 48 hours if it is not treated. Good news: I have a UV so the other clownfish should not get it. <Not necessarily John.  UV's can only kill what goes through them.> But I cannot catch this blue tang without destroying my reef. he will be treated in a freshwater- formalin dip for three minute. <This fish should be put in QT and not returned to the tank.> Can you help me or refer to me a page and help me to get a strategy to catch this fish before it is too late? the clock is ticking- he's becoming lethargic w/ rapid gill movement and wont last much longer. Please help ! <John, no suggestions here.  You will probably have to remove some of the rock to capture/net him.> Thanks again <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> John

Tangs-I love em, I hate em ... dis.  - 03/25/2006 Hello Crew!   In January, I received my new 240 gallon. 8' tank. I had been so excited when I ordered the tank [early Dec.], I went out and purchased a small Hippo Tang and a three inch Whiteface Tang [Acanthurus japonicus] [ I know-patience, sometimes I lose control!! lol] I had two cycled  55 gallon tanks set up to quarantine them and I figured they could stay in those tanks until my 240 was ready or I could move one or both into my 125 for awhile. Well they both had Ich , no surprise there. Both went through 5 weeks Hyposalinity.. SG at 1.009 .. I know Bob is not a fan of Hypo but it worked. <We'll see...> Both fish were spot free for 5 weeks before I started raising the SG to normal. Both fish did well and two weeks later I stupidly moved the Whiteface into my 90 to give him a little more room. In this tank I had two Ocellaris Clowns, one Arc Eye Hawkfish, one Salon Fairy Wrasse and one Blue Devil Damsel. He did well and loved to play follow the leader with ole 'Charley Brown Wrasse' [everyone picked on him]. After about a week, He started swimming in front of the powerhead. And to my surprise, someone came in while I was sleeping and painted light colored polka dots all over him! He looked as if he was ready to join the circus. I thought maybe this was due to stress, maybe the bully of the tank [Hawkfish] had been at him. I left him in there for another 2 weeks as he seemed fine otherwise. After 2 weeks I got worried. I moved him back to the 55. At this point I was not sure what I was dealing with, none of the other fish in the 90 were having problems [and to this day, they are all still fine] I again dropped the SG to 1.015. I treated him with Furan-2. This cleared up the polka dots but left tiny bumps all over him. You could only see them if you were right up against the glass of the tank. Okay, so I am still not sure what I am dealing with.. I had thought Flukes was a possibility, but I thought the Hypo treatment would have gotten rid of that issue. I decided to give him a Paraguard dip. I prefer this over Formalin. It was an hour dip at their recommended dose. I watched him through the 20 gallon tank and to my amazement saw tiny strings coming off of the fish. They were all over, I even saw some come out of his gills. After the hour was up, I placed him back in the main. I preformed 2 more dips on him, only these were freshwater dips. I unfortunately didn't have an hour to sit and watch the fish. Both times more strings [or worms] came off but less with each dip. I followed with a treatment of Spectrogram . He returned to his beautiful self! And after two weeks I moved both my Tangs to my 125. My 240 has been up and going for two months, but I wanted to let the tank age a little more before adding fish.   I need to give you a little info on my main [are you still awake?] <Yep> Its been running for 15 months. All occupants have been in the tank for 12 months with the exception of two Ocellaris Clowns who were added six months ago after they spent 4 weeks in quarantine. I had no problems, all fish were healthy. Occupants include, 1-Iridis Wrasse [awesome fish] 2- Argi Angels, 1 Candy Hogfish, the 2 Ocellaris Clowns and my favorite Raccoon Butterfly [Queen of the tank]. Around October of last year, after talking with others that had Raccoons, I decided to try some coral. YIKES! I know, Raccoons are not reef safe but a few other people had been successful in keeping both. I added some Button Polyps and Hairy Mushrooms. Well, my Raccoon loved them. I had to remove them to another tank. I noticed after adding the corals [I did not quarantine the corals, I know I'm bad] white specks on my Raccoons face. Very tiny flat white specks. Kind of looked like debris. It's not Ich, lord knows I know what that looks like! In November, I notice one of my Clowns had a small abrasion. After a week or so it appeared as if her skin was peeling. She did appear irritated and even let the Cleaner shrimp clean her. She was eating well and not gasping for air so I kept an eye on her, did a few very large water changes and after a couple of weeks she was back to normal. A couple of days ago, I found a crab. I am wondering if this is where the abrasion came from. They have found a new spot on the other side of the tank from the crab.   Anyway, since then, all has been fine except for the occasional specks on my Raccoons face. I thought it safe to add the Tangs now. I added them on a Sunday. I did a water change on Wednesday. I cleaned off the rocks which sent debris flying.. When I turned on the lights a few hours later both Tangs had tiny bumps! <Surprise!>   Many of the bumps appear under the skin. You cannot see them unless your right up at the tank. It looks a lot like what the Whiteface had before only without the polka dots. No other fish are effected, just the Tangs.. Along with the bumps under the skin, are a few tiny white specks [like the Raccoon] I am so disappointed. And very confused. This still does not look like ick to me. <It will... next cycle... a few days from now> The fish do appear irritated, often swimming in front of the powerhead at night. I am getting my quarantines ready again, bummer! I recently ordered a book of fish diseases which will hopefully give me some answers. You can always find lots of info about Ich, but  not much on other issues such as Flukes. So I come to you for help as usual. I just don't know where to go from here. I plan on giving both Tangs a Paraguard dip, I would like to see if the little worms or strings appear again. <Likely so... likely flukes...> I plan on placing them both back into quarantine. I am ,at this point, not sure what to do with the other fish. I plan on giving them all dips before moving them to my 240. I had planned on moving the sand and rock from my 125 into  the new tank but now I don't think that's such a good idea.   Could this be a type of Fluke? <Is likely Trematodes, and the Crypt resurfacing> Is it possible to have a Specie specific parasite? <Yes> Can you come to my house and take a look? <Do you live on the Big Island of HI?> Just kidding. Any advise is appreciated. Sorry for the long letter but I felt I needed to give you as much info as possible   Thank you so much   Kim <Kim... very likely you do have two parasites at work here... the only way to be sure is microscopic examination. Bob Fenner>

New Tank & Tangs PLEASE HELP Hello James (Or Crew) I know you may not always get The same crew member. I am writing for more help. After 3 years of reef keeping And never having a major problem, I am devastated. As you Know I had the Ich outbreak bad. (Here comes the really bad Part) I was very foolish and could not get the fish out to treat Them. There was too much rock, corals, anemones. I have a 10 gal. Quarantine tank. I have always quarantine my fish 3 weeks before introducing them in the main tank. I have not Purchased any new fish in 2 years. All the fish I have are 2 + Years old. My local LFS called me a "Water Change Freak" I change 25% a week, no matter what In My Salt Water ,and 50%- 60% in my Oranda tank.  I went to another local LFS to see what else I could do. They sold me to products that they said were Reef safe. They stated this was my answer. Since I am not a custom to these Problems I took their advice. I reluctantly put these products in my Tank. 1) was called Kick Ich. I had never herd of it, What a waste Of Money. This company should be sued for false advertising! The Second product I bought was because I have more than Ich problems. I noticed my clown fish had white, stringy, tuffs coming from them, As well as my Naso Tang. I was told a fungus or bacteria infection. They sold me another product called Prima Fix. Another waste of money  I do not understand these companies. I think they prey on people Like myself that really care about there fish. I am sure they take That all the way to the bank. Well I had enough!  I am so upset I apologize. Here is were I stand now. My Powder Blue tank, 2 clowns, 1 coral Beauty has died. Each day I am loosing a fish. Last night I pulled a lot Of the rock out. I was able to get the Marine Beta, the 2 Hippo Tangs Out. They are in the Hospital tank. But it is only 10 gal. I had to Put a divider in that. The reason is, the 2 tangs get along great In the 500gal. However a 10 gal. is not roomy enough for them. 1 is 8" the other 6" (Had them 3 years.)  I have 2 pumps and a Bio wheel filter rated for 30- 50 gal on it. I am worried about Oxygen.  My last problem is this. My Naso tang has never had any white spots Or signs of Ich. The only problem she has had through this is Very cloudy eyes, she quit eating, and hides a lot. I took off work Today because last night I did a 40% Water change. (Yes 40%) I have R/O Machine. I am currently making more. I have restarted my Euro Reef Skimmer (Med. Stated to turn off) took water readings this Morning.  When I took last night before the change they were Alright. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 25, PH 8.3, Phosphate under 1mg. Salinity 1.023, copper Non Measurable. Temp. 78. My Naso Tang's Eyes have cleared up some what, However still will not eat. This morning when I turned on the lights, I noticed 3 - 4 white stringy type substance streaming from the top of Her back were the fin is. I also notice 2 large spots, like carpet Wear on her. She is active and swimming. The problem I have is I am not sure what she has, and I have had her a long time. She Is over a foot long. Too big for any quarantine tank, plus I think the stress from the small quarters will kill her. I lost enough. Can you help?  <Scott, disregarding this as you mentioned in your last email. James (Salty Dog). >
New Tank & Tangs
James, Disregard last long email I sent, My Naso Tang died his Morning. I have 3 fish left, They are in a hosp. Tank.  <Sorry to hear the bad news. Let your tank age some before adding any sensitive fish. James (Salty Dog) >

Tang in trouble Hello WWM crew, I am in desperate need of any advice. I have a 35 gallon reef tank with a blue hippo tang, approx. 2" in size. I received him Friday in a shipment along with several other fish friends (2 clowns, cardinal, 2 gobies, and a lawnmower blenny) and an anemone.  <Mmm, anemones are not easily kept...> All creatures seemed to be doing great until yesterday when I notice the tang laying on the substrate hyperventilating. It appeared to be pale on the underside by his fins. It would occasionally swim around using only his side fins. <Actually how Acanthuroids locomote mostly> After several hours it began to excrete waste (from the usual place) and seemed to be struggling. My question is, can a fish become constipated??? <Mmm, yes, but surgeons/tangs are "big poopers" coming from the wild> After his movement, the tang began to move around more. It still seems to be in distress. I noticed this morning that an ulcer has formed on his top fin. There seemed to be a small amount of mucus coming out of it. I did not see any other spots on any fins or skin. Any thoughts, suggestions, or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time, Kris <Good descriptions... for your edification, peace of mind, I encourage you to read over the marine quarantine, dips/baths and overall fish disease articles, FAQs. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Kole Tang Your website is awesome, thank you for providing such a fantastic service!  We are at our wits end trying to figure out what is wrong with our Kole Tang. To start at the "end" and fill in the details - our Kole is exhibiting strange behavior - very erratic swimming - goes closer to the surface than usual, very pale appearance, hiding a lot, top and bottom fins down and appearing 'deflated'. Our Cleaner shrimps are frequently on him and IN his mouth..???  <This last is okay> He is eating well still (Mysis, brine, flake, algae, etc). His behavior is unusual for him though. When we first got him (6 weeks ago) and put him in the QT (21 days), he was very calm and curious. Now, he is just a freak. This has been for the past 2-3 days. There isn't anything noticeable "on" him.  My husband treated the tank yesterday with "Kick Ich" (prior to researching your site and realizing this may not have been a good idea - <A zero sum idea... the product is a sham... neither helpful nor very detrimental> please confirm this - also, is it just coincidence that this is when the Kole started acting really funny?). He used the Kick Ich as our Naso has had some white spots on his fins ever since we got him. The Naso was in the QT for 3 weeks, and the spots never went away or changed. <These are likely "nothing" to be concerned re... possibly encysted worms... not "catching"> Now we have our Kole acting REALLY weird, in a certain light it looks like he is 'speckled', but we could just be reaching. What is weird, right near his rear fin, into his body, he has 2 symmetrical 'slits' (one on each side going from the beginning of his tail fin up about 1/4" toward his head). I haven't noticed these before, but can't imagine what would have created these. Our setup is as follows: 90 gal, FOWLR (about 100 lbs), Chiller on from 79 to 81 degrees -this is a new, we have only had this for about a week since the temps in the tank were up to about 84 degrees,  protein skimmer, Water conditions: ph 8.0, 1.025 SG, nitrate 0, nitrite 0, ammonia 0.  FISH: Naso 4", Kole 4", 2 Cleaners, 2 Clowns, 1 yellow tail damsel, snails/hermits, copepods just reproducing like crazy on the glass, I think that's it.  Please help - we tried to net him so we could put him in the QT, but the amount of stress that it caused him and the Naso of course made me think that it may not be worth it.  When you reply, please reply all as I (Cheryl) will have my blackberry with me all weekend waiting patiently for your wisdom... Thank you !!!! <I strongly suspect there is nothing wrong with your Kole... but that it is strongly reacting to its own reflection in your main tank... do try taping paper over the side panels of glass (on the outside of course) and see if this calms this fish down. Bob Fenner, out in Hawaii diving with Naso lituratus and Ctenochaetus tangs daily> 

HLLE on Tang I am about to buy my first 54 gallon saltwater tank from a friend of a friend, which comes with the tank, pump, sump, over flow, live rock, and all I need to buy is the protein skimmer and lights. He said he's keeping the livestock in the tank (a maroon clown and some crabs) but that he'll let me have the tang in there, but that he/she has vertical line disease. He sold his metal halide lights and protein skimmer a while ago, and I was wondering if this may have caused it? <No>  I don't really know much about what the disease is. Is it hard to treat? or even possible? I was hoping for some guidance. <The only way I've seen reversal of this disease (HLLE) is with Ecosystems Mud Filter www.ecosystems.com.>  Should I not take the tang? <I wouldn't take it.>  I'm not sure what kind it is. Please help!!  <Some aquarists have also claimed they reversed it using vitamin and iodide supplements, since it is usually caused from poor diet and water quality. James (Salty Dog)>  

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> 

Powder Blue - QT Tank Setup Hi Crew, <Hello, MikeB here.> Currently I am running a 90 gallon reef ready tank, about 80+ lbs. of live rock, 80lbs live sand. This tank has been setup for about a year. Currently, I have about 14 random soft and hard corals, 1 Orange Tail Damsel, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, a Powder Blue (4.5 inches), Serpent Star and plenty of snails and hermit crabs. The corals and the Damsel are doing great! I added my Powder Blue about two weeks ago. When I purchased him he was skinny (I could see his spine through his sides) but active. Of course within a couple of days he began to show signs of Ich. I fed him a variety of veggie flakes, dried seaweed, and have added Kent's garlic and some vitamins to his Formula 1 food which has seemed to help keep it under control. Some days are better than others, one day almost no signs, then the next covered in tiny white dots and bumps. A couple of times he has even shown vertical white stripes on his sides that only last for a few seconds. He is super active and eats like crazy, I am hoping that I can get him to full health. He shows some, but limited interest in the Cleaner Shrimp. My Damsel so far shows no signs at all that he is getting sick. After much reading of your FAQ's I have decided to setup a quarantine tank (better late then never I guess). Salinity 1.025 pH - 8.2 Ammonia, Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 15 Temp - 82 Calcium - 460ish Alkalinity - 8 (I am buffering to pick it up a little) Phosphates - Almost 0 I use the 40g trash can method for preparing new water with my RO filter. I am planning on treating them with copper. Here are my questions/plans for setting up the QT tank: - Besides the Damsel and Tang, do I need to take anything else out of my main tank? <No, the fish should be the only ones treated.> - What tank size would you recommend for these two fish? Would 20g be too small for the Tang to be in for a month? <For a month and ONLY a month a 20 gal. would suffice for a quarantine tank for the two fish.> - I have read that if I have a sponge soak in my main tanks sump to get it full of the necessary organisms I can then use this as filtration in my QT. Does this just rest at the bottom of my QT tank? <If you have a filter you can throw the sponge in that will work better, if not, the tank will work.> - Do I also need another type of biological filter? <Yes, you need some sort of filter with NO carbon or chemical filtration....It will remove the medication you are trying to use.> - If I use water and a presoaked sponge from my main tank for the initial QT setup and future water changes do I still need to cycle my QT?  <No, that is the beauty of this set up.> - The room that they will be in has no windows (basement) so I was going to get a small light strip to give them some light. I don't need anything specific, do I? <A glass lid so the light doesn't fall into the water.> - If needed I need to find a sufficient external filter, any suggestions? <A Whisper power filter is good for quarantine tanks in my opinion. No protein skimmers are needed.> - As long as I am doing frequent water changes do I have to run a skimmer? <See above.> - By using water from my existing (sick) tank for water changes am I going to be continually infecting my QT tank with Ich? <No, the Ich reproduces in the gravel and if you have a UV sterilizer or protein skimmer on the display tank the Ich will be killed off.> - Small pump with air stone. - PVC pipe for cover. <Salt may effect the lighting. Elevate the lighting> - Heater and thermometer. - Once the signs of Ich are gone, 3-4 weeks in this tank - Small water changes, 3 times per week <Good> - Frequent water testing - Besides sifting the sand during water changes in the main tank (and using my new QT tank for new additions), any other tasks that will help remove the Ich while my fish are in quarantine? <A UV if you have one. If not, time will do the job.> I know this is a lot of questions, but I really want to get this setup right the first time. Thanks for your help my friend(s).. Matt <No problem on the questions. That is what we are here for. Good Luck. MikeB.>

Tang in Trouble (3/31/05) Hi.  <Hello, Steve Allen here. Please capitalize the proper noun "I" and the first letter of sentences so we can post queries on our website without having to do this for you.>  We have a 30 gallon tank with a fairly new yellow tang. maybe a couple of weeks (also in this tank is a maroon clown, coral beauty, royal Gramma, cleaner shrimp.  <The tang, Clown and Angel do not belong in such a small tank. Each of these needs to be in a tank of at least 75 gallons.>  This last week the tang has stopped eating everything.  <A bad sign in this normally voracious fish.>  I've given it flakes, seaweed and various frozen foods. It won't take anything. It has also started to show some red markings on its fins and near the beginning of its tail. I am almost run dry of ideas to help him and would like to keep him happy and healthy. Can you please help me?  <Three possibilities come to mind right away with the symptoms you describe. One is nitrite poisoning. Is it breathing more rapidly than normal? Get a good test kit and check ammonia and nitrite. Another is oxygen deprivation. Tangs need more oxygen in the water than other species. If your circulation/aeration is inadequate, this could be the problem. The redness strongly suggests bacterial septicemia. If this is the case, you need to remove the tang to a hospital tank and treat with broad-spectrum antibiotics. Details can be found by searching on WWM for "bacterial infection." In the long-run, you need a much bigger tank or more suitable fish for your small tank. This tang needs at an absolute minimum 75 gallons. The Clown will get too big and, importantly, way to aggressive for this small tank. The angel also needs a bigger tank to survive and be healthy.> 

Ill Tang 28 Mar 2005 Hello Crew... <Hi Don, MacL here with you this time.> I sent an email to you late last night about my sick yellow tang. One other piece of information that I noticed this morning is that one eye is very cloudy on the tang.  <A lot of times that is a sign of a parasite.>  My display tank parameters are NH4<0.25ppm, NO2=0, NO3=5ppm, pH=8.4, SG=1.024. Please see previous email for the rest of the details.  <You need to get the NH4 and NO3 to zero. Water changes should take care of it. Otherwise your fish is going to stay stressed.>  Thanks again for the help.

Vlamingi--Brown spots with white center that looks like air bubble Dear WWM Crew, <Joey> Thank you for the great work! I couldn't find anything references to my problem in your existing documents (which never happened before!!) so here I am writing for the first time :-) Thank you for your time. <Welcome> My young vlamingii tang (2.5-3")... <Wow, this is small> ... has been in my system for 7-10 days. Last night I realized there are some random brown/tan/rusty color dots (1mm across) on the ventral sides of his body (belly, mostly towards the back). The strange thing about the brown/rusty dots is that they are flat against his body, but have a white center (pin-head size) that stick out from the body like bull's-eye, which reflects light like an air bubble. <Yes... these are likely "just normal coloration".... I see this on ones in the wild at times... when I can get close, the lighting's good> Moreover, the same white dots on his side fins and the dorsal side of his body (all along his back), I would have thought they are ick, but I am not so sure after seeing the rusty outer rims. They also reflect light like air bubbles.  <Yes> What should I do? Should I separate Mr. Vlamingi form the rest of his tank mates? I cannot get a picture of him, I waited for 20 minutes and the camera only stresses him out! <I would "do nothing"... very unlikely not a problem with your Naso here> Thank you so much for your time. Sincerely, Joey System set up: Main tank: 55 gal, 50lbs LS, 60lbs LR, 220 power compact, 1 rotating power head, CPR BakPak protein skimmer. Sump: 20gal, almost full, regular household fluorescent light on 24 hours) with little macroalgae. Livestock: Fishes:  1 silver hybrid tang (4.5") <Really? I wonder, what sort of cross?> 1 vlamingii tang (2.5") 1 homeless male false percula (1.5") 1 mandarin dragonet (3.5") Inverts: 1 cleaner shrimp (2") Clean up crew 1 bubble coral (2.5") 1 pulsing xenia (2.5") 1 long tentacle coral (5") <Mmm, do realize you're going to need a larger tank with the Vlamingi... at least six feet long in time. Bob Fenner>

Black Spots on Blue Tang Hello! I have had a blue tang in quarantine for about 1 ? months. I started to move him into the main tank today and noticed some black spots that seem to be small holes on his face. It also looks like something is taking small bites out of his tail. He does not itch, eats well and overall seems to be doing great. Any suggestions? Your help is greatly appreciated! Kimberly Kinane <Actually... feel strongly that these are "stress markings"... the effects of quarantine... I would ph-adjusted freshwater dip this fish and place in the main/display tank... where, with better, more stable water conditions, more room, better food... this fish should improve. Bob Fenner> 

Mimic Tang Hello, I have a MIMIC TANG that I can not tell is sick or just acting like a Tang might act as I am new to the world of saltwater. I looked in the posts and could not find the Info I need. I had a problem with ICH due to a Hippo Tang, we took her out of the tank and set up a QT tank, but since she was in our main tank the LFS told us to also treat our main tank, we are treating with RX-P. <Not familiar with this Kent product. I know they claim it is suppose to rid your tank of parasites with the pepper and natural plant extracts <<It's a scam James. RMF>>, but I've never used it and cannot tell you for sure whether this product will work or not. Kent tells you to raise the dKH level to at least 8 when using the product. Was that done?> The tank is 75 gallons, we have 3 Chromis, 2 clown, 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 mimic tang, and some small snails. I fresh- dipped the tang, making sure water temp was the same as the tank, used tap conditioner, and pH buffer, put her/him back into the tank and she looked healthy for the past 3 days. This morning she did not come out to eat, usually she is first, and I can see her behind the rock on the floor of the sand rocking back and forth. Did we do something  wrong, or do tangs due tangs hide from time to time, or is she sick and going to die. We love this fish, I am very sad to see (or not see ) her acting this way. We have had her for about 2 months now and I just do not know if there is anything else we should or can do for her. Any info and suggestions are greatly appreciated. <You may want to continue the FW dips.>  I also add garlic and vitamins to the tank, give red, purple, and green seaweed and feed marine cuisine.  <Deb, here is a link in regard to the information your interested in. You did pick one of the easier tangs to keep. Usually they will greedily accept flake food. I might add that once you dipped the tang, you should have moved it into a QT, rather than back into the main tank.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/besttgsreefs.htm  Reading the tang/disease FAQ's may be very helpful to you also as I'm sure others have gone through the same situation and you may learn from answers they received. Good luck with your Mimic. James (Salty Dog)>
HI James,  <Hi Deb> I will read the link you have provided. I got another look at her and she looks like her skin may be peeling in some spots. I will try and get her out of the tank without stressing her and fresh dip and QT. I just hope that process is not going to kill her. I got her to eat from my hand this morning, she is so sweet. I have her marine cuisine with garlic and put my hands ( after washing ) into the tank and she ate a little for me. She did swim a little, then went back behind the rock. I will try to see as you suggested to see if there is a disease that describes the peeling of skin that I told you about. I hope we can save her we are very attached!  <Eating is a good sign. Do not use any lighting in the QT, it will help keep the fish relaxed. You may want to use a bag of Chemi-Pure in the QT. It does wonders for water quality and certainly can't hurt. Hang in there. James (Salty Dog)>
Mimic Tang - III
Hi James, I am very sad to say my beautiful Tang is almost dead. This is very sad to watch and I have done all I can to save her. This has been very hard to watch. I just went to the posts to see what would be the best way of ending her pain and I read that to freeze them is the best way? How long does it take before they pass this way? <I would think rather quickly, say 5 minutes at tops. I really don't like putting anything diseased in my fridge.>  I hope she passes soon I can not stand to watch her anymore. I wish I knew how this happened, she was fine or looked fine yesterday. I would like to know for the future if this should happen again the best and quickest way to end their misery.  <Deb, sorry to hear this. This may sound cruel, but I find it is better to give the fish their last freshwater dip (toilet), than to let it suffer. James (Salty Dog)> 
Hi James, Thanks for your support!  <Deb, it's people like you that take the bull by the horns that help make this job enjoyable. You are more than welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Hospitalization - where did I go wrong? Hi Crew, Thanks for the great site; it has been a tremendous reference. <Glad to find it is of use to you> 14 days ago we noticed crypt for the first time on  A. leucosternon, an otherwise friendly, fat, and jovial tank resident for 2+ years. I attribute the outbreak to the introduction of two small gobies. <Rats!> I put together a 30g QT (my A. leucosternon is on the small side) with old tank water, established a sponge filter,  increased flow above 300gph with two powerheads, lowered SG just a pinch to 1.022, raised temp to 81 (from 79), and NH4/NO2 was 0. I was able to capture A. leuco in a pre-dawn raid yesterday using the flashlight and net method. <Good descriptions> It remained docile for at least two minutes while we coaxed him out of his resting spot - it literally backed right into the net! Anyways, my spirits were at a high since I was going to be able to finally treat this fish after 13 days.   The main display is a 110 reef, stable, light bioload with NH4/NO2 undetectable. The powder blue was always a voracious feeder on mixed frozen foods and Nori. During infection, the fish never scratched and I would describe the overall infection as "light." It had the telltale signs of crypt, with the trophonts falling off periodically. It showed no additional signs of stress, discomfort, or loss of appetite. This fish always appeared to have a quicker-than-normal gill rate, at times around ~100 breaths per minute but this was almost always associated with hyper activity (e.g. chattering at this reflection in the glass) or vigorous swims. <Agreed, no problem> The fish was frightened at first introduction to the hospital, and spent most of its time at the bottom trying to hide behind various pieces of equipment. That seemed normal. After 5-6 hrs it began venturing higher in the water column although never had any of his normal vibrancy that made him so pleasant in the main tank (the only fish I've seen who would do Olympic-style twisting, somersaulting dives - he will be missed). <Yikes... a bit of forecasting.> I treated a half-dose with Cupramine, bring the Cu+ level to .25-.3.  Within 4 hours, under ambient room light, there were no visible signs of infection. <Good> Unfortunately, I never made note of his gill rate prior to the medication and I'm shooting myself for it now. During observation at roughly 4 pm, 10 hours after introduction to the hospital and ~4 hrs after medication, his gill rate was > 180 bpm (or so it seemed, hard to count), he was still displaying his bottom-hiding lethargy (so much so that occasionally his caudal, anal fins would touch the bottom glass).   This morning I found him dead; rigor mortis had set in and an odor already had begun to build, my guess is he died sometime in the PM, i.e. within 12-18 hrs of introduction to the hospital tank His gills were thick as I removed him. The tank was partially covered, and one of the powerheads provided light surface agitation. I am devastated, as this is the first fish that has survived the initial acclimation period and perished under my watch.  I know that the answer to his death will remain a mystery, since rapid breathing can be caused by 1) stress,  nervousness; 2) parasitic infection; and 3) medication. <Well-stated. This is so> And I had exposed him to all three.  However, I have never seen such rapid decline in any specimen and I'm convinced that had he stayed in the main tank he'd be alive today, <Perhaps... but likely infested as well> although this was obviously not a viable long term option. I would like your opinion on what you think may have served as a catalyst for such decline. Certainly the combination of all of these factors could not have been a good thing with such a delicate fish, but are there any factors that stand out in particular? <The only co-factor I'd immediately add is the size (small) of the specimen... That is to state, that smaller individuals would be even more susceptible to the other influences> Perhaps I overestimated the fortitude of this wonderful fish. I know that this fish has survived light levels of Cupramine in the past since the original LFS (which is well above average, btw) uses it during acclimation. Did I too hastily medicate? Was the infection already too advanced?  <This last may be key> As always, thanks for your help, Peter <I do think you did what was/is "right"... at least... this is what I would have done as well... I would quarantine all new livestock. Bob Fenner> 
- Hospitalization - Where did I Go Wrong? Follow-up -
Just one other quick note I forgot to mention this morning - the pH of the hospital tank (I called it QT below) and the display was identical, ~8.1, 8.2 as I remember. <Sounds good to me. Am incomplete agreement with Bob's earlier response.> Thanks again, in advance, Peter <Cheers, J -- >

QT tank size for a Regal Tang Hello, Crew... What a great, great service you provide. I (and others I'm sure) can't thank you enough. I have one quick question today...Is a 10-gallon tank too small to QT a regal tang? I've read through your archives and the general sense I'm getting is that any QT is better than none. I hate to say that money isn't an issue, but if I need something bigger than my 10-gal, I would make the investment. I just want to prepare for long term success with this fish. Thanks for your thoughts... <Bob, it really depends on the size of the tang you have in mind. I've seen some Regals for sale that were quite large. I would be more apt to go with at least a 20 gallon tank for quarantine. Any shift in parameters isn't quite so sudden with the larger volume of water. More info here for you to read. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm  James (Salty Dog)> 

Hippo Tang (disease) Dear Bob Fenner,  <James here for Bob. Sorry, I do not know why the added text didn't go through>  Carefully following The Conscientious Marine Aquarist and Wet Web Media from the start for over 3 year, I have never had a disease process in my 100 gallon reef show tank. I now have a total of 180 gallons in circulation with two refugiums containing three types of macroalgae and over two hundred pounds of live rock total, 0-3 generator on a TurboFlotor, a 25 watt U/V, and over 2500 GPH circulation.  There is no predation among the peaceful fish community. Feeding includes a mixture of premium flake and pellets, Gracilaria, Caulerpa, and freshly hatched brine shrimp. Water changes and make up water are RO/DI. Ca is maintained with Kalkwasser drip system. There is never detectable ammonia, nitrite, silicate, or nitrate in the system. Most of the fish I started with 2 to three years ago are still with me. ORP stays between 350 and 400 except after weekly water changes. Having wanted a hippo/pallet/Pacific blue Tank for some time while knowing that it can be a problem fish, I found one that had been at the store for four weeks - an absolutely clean fish. After "Fenner dipping" she was in a 30 gallon quarantine for 4 weeks, eating everything I put in there. I introduced her at night to the reef tank and she immediately began active swimming and aggressive eating. There was no predation. She remained clean and beautiful for 3 weeks. A few days ago I noticed one white spot. Today I see seven white spots. The fish otherwise looks and acts very healthy and active. By the "book" this looks like ick! I have no idea why. I cannot catch her due to the extensive rock work but will take it apart if you say it is necessary to treat her. But then, I would not want to put her back. I love the beauty and activity of this fish. Can I wait and see if it goes away or is this an emergency? Will this contaminate my whole system? I have and will continue to follow your recommendations. <Howard, this is the problem with tangs, when you think everything is OK, BAM. I would start soaking your fish food in a garlic based vitamin. This will improve the immune system of the fish and may even ward off the disease affecting the other fish. As you know there is no effective treatment you can use in a reef tank. I would start using the garlic as soon as possible, then keep a close eye on the tang, which I'm sure you do, and if it gets any worse, you will have no alternative but to remove whatever rock is necessary to net the tang and move into QT. I would maintain the weekly water changes as you are doing now. Good luck. James (Salty Dog)> 

Hippo Tang  Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2005 Hello, I have a hippo tang that was introduced into my tank a week ago (she was given to me by a friend who is redoing his tank). She has been doing great until today -- she is scratching herself on the rock in the tank. She is eating great and has not lost her color. <Obviously by reading your post the hippo was not quarantined. It is almost a must, especially with tangs (Ich magnets)>  A week before adding her I added a yellow tang that developed brown spots on his sides and has one cloudy eye. I was told it was water quality and would clear up -- not so sure. My water is in check. <Do you perform a 10% water change weekly? Tangs must have very good water quality.>  The tank is 90 gallons with 3 green Chromis, 1 clown, and the hippo and yellow tang. I have 20 pounds of live rock and just added 40 pounds of base rock about 5 days ago.  <Was this base rock cured or dry off the shelf?>  I also have several corals and everything else is doing great. Any help would be appreciated. I just found your web site and love it -- finding lots of things I need to do a little different. Please let me know if you need any additional information.  <Yes, let me know the answers to the few questions I posed. James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Sherry

- Sailfin Tang and Ich - Hello, I am taking care of my son's 55 gallon reef tank while he is away in school. For the last 6 months or longer, until yesterday I have been having good luck with everything. He has coral, rose anemone's, clown fish, Sailfin Tang etc... I have noticed a few white cotton looking spots on the Tang for a long time now. At least 3 months and have watching it closely but yesterday I looked and he is covered in spots which I believe to be Ich. His fins have a lot on them and small white spots on his body. He is eating and acting normal but his color is not so bright. My son has so much money invested in everything - should I just remove the Sailfin and be done with it or should I try and save him? <I would encourage you to try and save it although a 55 gallon tank is really not large enough to house one of these fish long term.> I am not very confident in setting up hospital tanks or doing fresh water dips etc.. and I would rather not infect any more fish in the tank. <Well... both steps are necessary, and due to the nature of the parasitic problem it sounds like the fish has, the other fish have already been exposed.> What do you think I should do???? <Please start reading, considering the purchase of a quarantine system to treat this and the other fish before you have no fish. The links below are a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm  > Thanks for your help!  Nancy <Cheers, J -- >

Blue hippo Tang mysterious bump hi I have been reading your articles from your site and its AMAZING this is the only site I go to, to check diseases. <Well, I've been reading and writing for years, and I still  got this danged cold!> OK I have a 1" Blue hippo Tang the I have purchased couple days ago at LFS. The tang looked great until we bought it and put it in our tank. I noticed that on the right side of it's fins there seems to be a bump the size of a pimple. <Happens... from physical damage in collection (breaking up branching corals to get Paracanthurus this size)> It eats but is it necessary to feed it some garlic which I already have. Kyolic Garlic Tablets. <Mmm, am not a fan... but doesn't do much harm... fresher garlic is better than prepared> At the bottom of the Tang there seems to be a little pale. It scratches itself against the wall but not on its bump. <Some scratching, flashing is normal, to be expected> There is no sign of ick. Its very shy and sometimes hides in his little rock where he go's to sleep. I'm not sure what to do but there is only 1 fish which is the tang. I love this fish. The tank was empty for about a month or so because my clown trigger had died including my Niger trigger. <Yikes... not good to mix these...> I was very sad and there were no fish in there and was about to remove the fish tank. OK would you consider buying any cleaner shrimps and I read about them and how successful there are. So now you know a little about the little guy try to respond to me ASAP. <A cleaner shrimp addition is a good idea... No medications needed... akin to a human pimple, this spot will likely just "go away" of its own accord with time, good maintenance on your part. Bob Fenner>  

Tang Disease? I have Kole Tang that in the last month has shown signs of distress. <Such as?> I have a 55 gallon tank with 75 lbs of live rock.  An Emperor 400 filter and a SeaClone protein skimmer (need to upgrade that I think).  I have a red thorny starfish, the Kole tang, a Foxface Rabbitfish and a red spotted Hawkfish.  The tang appeared ok until I added the hawk and the Rabbitfish.   <Bingo... very likely its behavior has been influenced by the presence of the Rabbit... these fish groups don't "mix" in the wild... often utilize the same resources... space, foods... i.e. they're competitors> The Kole has been a resident of the tank for 6 months along with a goby and my starter damsels.  The tank itself is a year old.  I do regular water changes and also have my water tested weekly at the LFS as it is only a few minutes from my house.  I don't know the specific numbers other than I trust the fish store at least a few of the employees.  Anyway back to this poor tang.  He is still eating very good and always has but after I added the hawk and the Rabbitfish (they were QT for two weeks prior to introduction) his body began to show signs of fighting.  I witnessed the hawk and the tang going at it several times.  The fighting subsided but the tang had visible markings on its side.  Since that time near the tail it appears two small bones have protruded.  Excuse my ignorance but the tang always appeared to have two very small fin like protrusions and now it just appears there is no flesh covering those. <Good observations... the flesh will/can re-grow over the exposed spines>   The tang also appears to scratch these along the tank.  For the first week or so the tang would also swim very wildly although that has seemed to have calmed down except for the scratching which is a rather odd motion.  I noticed tonight some fin rot on the bottom fin.   The tang eats wonderfully but the two bone like areas don't seem to be healing.  I feed a mix of frozen variety packs, plankton, and algae sheets.   Any ideas? <Sounds like you either need a larger tank or to switch out some of these fishes> A few other questions while I have your time. Would a goby do ok in this tank?  I have watched a diamond watchman and he is an extremely fun fish to watch.  The goby is a very interesting species. <Would likely do fine, but you would have to watch for negative interactions with the Hawk initially> Are there any type of inverts the Hawkfish will not eat? <Most all non-crustaceans> Thank you in advance for your assistance. Andy Martin Oh and I should explain I removed the damsels as they had killed two attempts at dwarf angel fish.  They appeared to be extremely territorial.  I had tried both a flame and a lemon peel with the same result.  I also waited for my LFS to get a potter angel but it died after shipment to the LFS before I took delivery.  Poor thing just never would eat. <Mmm, most all your difficulties would be solved/mute if you only had a larger (hundred gallons plus) system... Bob Fenner>
Re: Tang Disease?
Thank you so much for your assistance.  I had assumed that the territorial fighting was between the tang and the Hawkfish and never made the connection that the tang could just be losing it because of the Rabbitfish.  Of all the fish I have had the Rabbitfish is by far the most peaceful and I have never seen it and the tang fighting. <May well be happening during the night> The Rabbitfish minds his own business and usually he and the tang can be right next to each other with no problems.   Sometimes I wonder if the tang is actually attacking his reflection and this is why he appears to be scratching the spines along the side of the tank. (My wife swears he has mental issues) This week I added 3 more pieces of live rock and rebuilt the structures giving more hiding spots and more in and out areas amongst the rock. <Good move> The tang seems to be a bit happier.  Before I bought the Rabbitfish I checked several sites and kept getting conflicting information on its compatibility with a tang.  I finally just asked the LFS but unfortunately it wasn't the most trusted of the employees. <You are right here in that all such information comes down to individuals>   I will monitor them for a bit longer with the rebuilt rock and see if this doesn't solve the problem.  If not I will seek a trade with the Foxface as I feel some loyalty to the tang. The information you provide is wonderful.  Since I have found your site I seemingly spend hours each week reading it.  I am also anxiously awaiting the arrival of CMA....had to order it as no local bookstore carried it. And Ahhhhh yes.....how I now long for a bigger aquarium and someday with more experience at hand I am sure I will add a second larger tank! <Perhaps your birthday...?> While I am limited at this time to the 55 gallon tank please offer some advice on stocking....such as: If I remove either the tang or the Rabbitfish, leaving the Hawkfish, and either the tang or Rabbitfish....could I add a diamond watchman goby and a clownfish or would this be overstocking? <Should be fine> Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I like a few of the dwarf angels but now that I have started adding corals I am leery of adding one. <I would hold off till you have another or larger system> Also do you have any preferred internet vendors for livestock? <Have heard little but positive re Dr.s Foster & Smith, The Marine Center and Marine Depot> We have 2 LFS one of which has a decent selection of marine life but recently our airport (Springfield, IL) has lost some of its air transportation and the LFS is having difficulty receiving deliveries. <Mmm, also, this is the worst time of year (Xmas), and there has been a devastating tsunami in South Asia...>   I ordered live rock on line to get started and had excellent luck but have always been leery of ordering actual livestock. Again thank you for the wonderful service that you and your staff provide. Andy Martin <A pleasure to share. Bob Fenner>

HLLE Early Signs? My tang has developed loss of pigmentation around the mouth, on just one side so far.  Just overnight.  Would this develop  into HLLE or is this something else? <Sounds like the early signs of HLLE, could also be a natural nuance of his coloration.> have not really seen this question on the website but similar with references to HLLE, but I am not sure if that is what this is. <Feed him lots of fresh algae and use Selcon on his foodstuffs.  If you're using lettuce, stop ASAP.  Use dried Nori on a feeding clip.  Good luck, Ryan> Thx
Judi L.

Hole in the head ??????????????? Hello how are you ? <Fine, yourself?> I am having trouble with one my fish a Naso vlamingii I thing it is hole in the head but there is also some white stuff were the hole is and also starting around the lateral line and around the eye I really do not know what to do seems to get worst and worst water quality is good all other fish have no problem and I had this fish for around 2-3 years (picture attach to this e-mail) what do you think ? <Is HLLE and some sort of other involvement... likely all nutritional and environmental in origin... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the materials archived on marine environmental disease... check, improve water quality, bolster nutrition... Bob Fenner>

Tang Flecks (12/12/04) I just recently picked up 2 purple tangs to put in each of my reef tanks. <And you made the major error of failing to quarantine them before putting them in your display tanks. Tangs are a big risk for ick.> I was watching them the other day and saw that 1 had some white little dot's that almost look like sand about 10 of them on him. <Sounds like ick (Cryptocaryon) all right.> What is this? should I worry? <Yes> How can I take care of it? <Read up on ick both in the WWM FAQs and in the articles at www.advancedaquarist.com and www.reefkeeping.com and follow the advice there.> Both tanks have tons of coral in them and I do not want to add anything to damage them? <Which is why you should not have added Tangs without four weeks of quarantine.> Please let me know what I can do. <Read the materials. Look at the pictures. If it's ick, follow the advice. Next time, quarantine. Good luck, Steve Allen.>

Naso tang fin disease First,,,, I wish I had found this site sooner, truly a wonderful source of expert opinion.   <Our intention> I have a juvenile Naso tang (lituratus) about 5-6 inches in length who for the past 3 months has had a frayed tail and ventral fins (fins look like they were partially eaten away and have a little bit of a rough white exudate on them).   <Mmmm, should have "grown back" over this time... if suitable environment (size, tankmates...), nutrition available> He looks great otherwise and eats like a champ. <Eating what? "Breakfast of Champions?"... hopefully substantial amounts of brown, red, green algae...>   My local fish store here in Hawaii recommended Melafix for the fin issue.  I had stepped up water changes without any change in the fin prior to trying the Melafix. I currently am on day 5 of the MelaFix treatment and wonder if I should finish out the 7 days or stop.  Does this sound like Ich and if so what treatment if any would you recommend? <This homeopathic remedy I am NOT a fan of... has a mild anti-microbial effect... NOT useful on protozoan complaints> I have a 125 gallon SW tank, which has been running for 5 months with great water quality.  Fish load is light with only a white spotted puffer, squirrel fish, blue damsel, and flame angel.  Everyone else looks great. Thanks, Eric <Try bolstering the Naso's diet with soaking it in a vitamin prep. (e.g. Selcon), offering soaked/dried algae with a clip at the water's surface. Bob Fenner> <<Mmm, should have suggested he go collect his own Limu, living in Hawai'i... RMF>>

Lopez tang with Popeye Hi, <Hi Cindy, MacL here with you tonight. Sorry about the delay I just got this.> We have a Lopez Tang that has what seems to be Popeye in one eye for 3  weeks now. <Poor guy> It is very large and full of bubbles. We have treated him with  Epsom salts one time. <Epsom salts work great on Popeye when its from an injury and sometimes will sooth the eye when its a parasite or infection but generally its not going to cure it. After a week of treatment with no response its time to try other things.> He is currently in a 10 gallon quarantine tank. He is getting Maracyn and copper. <You might consider Maracyn two. Of course, ideally if you could get medicated flakes and he would eat them that would be the best.>  He is on his fourth day and the eye doesn't seem to be looking any better. Since in the quarantine tank he won't eat which he was acting fine before moving him into the QT tank. <Understood, he's probably not happy about the move!> What else can we do to  try and help his eye. The other fish in the home tank are all fine and aren't  showing any signs of Popeye. <So many things that could have caused it, but right now the best thing is to get him healthy and try to get him back into his groove.  I know people who have had great success with Maracyn two in these situations. Also, Cindy, is he showing signs of parasites? Because if not you really want to dilute that copper as much as you can.  It can really effect the internal systems of tangs. Copper can be harsh stuff!  How's he doing at this point? Are you seeing anything on him? MacL>   Thanks, Cindy

Tang With Popeye Thanks for replying back to me. <Scott F. following up> I had to remove the Lopez Tang from  the QT tank because he wouldn't eat and he seemed to be dying.  He started to lie on his side and the whole time he was in QT he was a black color from  stress. <Not an uncommon response for a tang in distress> Once I put him back into the main tank, he started to eat and his  color came back to normal. But his eye is still very large with bubbles. Is there anything else we could do? Thanks, Cindy <Unfortunately, I don't believe that I saw your initial email. However, if this Popeye is in just one of his eyes, use of Epsom salt, good water quality, and the passage of time will generally do the trick. Keep a very close eye on this fish to make sure that there is no secondary infection. If this event was caused by a trauma to the eye, chances are that he'll recover with the Epsom salt, high water quality, and a little time, as mentioned above. Additional medicating may not be necessary, and could in fact be harmful if not needed. Observe carefully, and take further action if necessary. Help this is of some assistance... Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Naso With Balance Problems >Dear Crew, >>Hello Allyson.  You have Marina today, with my greatest apologies, I've just received your message in my inbox today and I sincerely hope it's not too late. >I love my Naso like a child.  We've had him a few years and we bought him when he was approximately 6 inches long.  We were stupid.  It's too big a fish even for our 125 gallon tank.  He belongs in the reef.  Our water parameters have been stable for several years but tonight I'll check them again.  He's just looking out of sorts.  He frequently has a little ick in the mornings and the cleaner shrimps jump on him and it falls off by the end of the day.  He's a fussy eater and will only eat Tetra marine flakes and Caulerpa.  He eats these like a pig and the little guy is fat as a house.  He still eats OK.  There was a period a week ago when we skipped a meal for him (were away for 1 meal-we feed him a lot twice each day by hand).  The temperature dropped 3 degrees.  Our refugium where we raise Caulerpa and other macroalgae smelled bad and we changed most of the water.  It smells fine now.  I think the Caulerpa looked a bit unstable at the time but it's not sexual.   >>If in doubt, prune it back heavily, being CERTAIN to remove by the full holdfasts, not just breaking off 'leaves'. >During that time, for several days, the fish's yellow face turned dark and he did not swim as actively.  He barely ate.  We raised the temp to 80 and his face got yellower and he swims and eats more.  What is most disturbing is that since that time I see that he has trouble keeping himself upright slightly.  It's very slight but he'll swim sideways at times and I see he has his alerting colors on (he gets blotches when he's frightened).   >>It seems you're taking the best care of him you can, but I believe he's simply outgrown the system and is displaying the stress (you've made no mention of his current dimensions).  This could explain the little bit of Ich, the stress coloration, and possibly the 'balance' issues (swim bladder, possibly?  Fish have no inner ear).  He's definitely not growing old, these animals can live 20 years easily. >He just seems a little clumsier.  He doesn't swim as fast or as agilely lately.  I'm trying to see if it's worsening but it's inconsistent.  He doesn't have any skin lesions and the ick is very slight and barely and occasionally visible.  I've tried hospital tanks with him but the conditions are so unstable in such a small tank, he does worse so I've given up trying to treat the ick. >>Yes, also, treating him a hospital tank will do no good whatsoever if there are still other vertebrates in the system upon which the parasite can find a host.  The only way for hospitalization to be effective is for the main display to go fallow for a minimum of 6 weeks, though this often proves not to be long enough. >I've done searches here and on reef central and I have not seen balance problems listed much.  The few times it was with new fish and they died soon after developing it.  I'm hoping he gets better and it was just a minor trauma/infection.   >>You've listed no water parameters other than the temperature drop (amount), so I can't really offer much other than a guess and a mantra - when in doubt, do a water change.  This won't help him at all if the problem is simply that he's outgrown this system, but it will if, in spite of the presence of the 'fuge, there is a buildup of nitrate or other chemicals we cannot measure without a full laboratory at our disposal.  Even then, you might want to have an idea of what you're testing for.  You haven't mentioned how big the fish is now, but Nasos  grow rather large.  Water changes on a large scale will not hurt, and can both replenish lost compounds as well as remove buildups of others. >We've also been administering Joes Juice to kill Majano so I wonder if that has something neurotoxic.   >>Be VERY careful with that stuff!  From what I understand they do not list any ingredients (proprietary?), and I've read many posts on reefs.org of folks losing their shrimps after using Joe's Juice.  I have no idea of it has any neurological effect, this is such a new product and few are regulated in any manner.  If you were my customer I wouldn't have sold you this product, and I would now suggest you stop using it altogether. >Bottom line, what could cause this?  A vitamin deficiency (he won't eat garlic, Selcon, or any other flake or food than that Tetra marine stuff)?   >>Garlic won't provide vitamins or nutrition to fish (think about it, how often do fish get their nutrition from garlic in the wild?), but it has been proven to have a slight to moderate antibiotic effect.  The food he will accept can be soaked in Selcon prior to feeding, but you MUST be persistent.  Also, Nasos do like some meaty foods, have you offered him the irresistible krill?  Variety, especially with such a fish, is KEY.  He is behaving like a pet poodle, and you'll have to stand your ground when it comes to sampling different foodstuffs.  These fish can easily go several days without feeding - if he gets hungry enough, he WILL try it (assuming he's not actually ill, which I don't believe is the case at this point). >A transient parasitic infection (maybe the ick got in his balance system)?   >>Doubtful, I've not read of such mild infestations affecting an animal's balance.  If this were a problem you'd see flashing and rapid gilling, not just balance problems. >What scares me is that this might be a buildup in the Caulerpa toxins.   >>Possibly, but again, I do doubt this.  I didn't have a problem feeding C. taxifolia to my Z. flavescens, Z. scopas, or other tangs for several years. >I give him a little bit each day as a treat.  He loves it.  (Won't eat any kind of Nori, broccoli, spinach, Sprung's sea veggies, lettuce, spinach, bok choy etc. for greens).   >>Again, he will if he's hungry enough, and again, offer him some meaty foods. >I decided to do this because this little guy has so few pleasures in our small tank, at least he should have that.  What was the toxin in Caulerpa so I can read about it? >>This I cannot answer, try searching Anthony Calfo's writings (this is off the top of my head), assuming a general Google turns up nothing. >Thanks, Allyson >>You're welcome, Allyson.  At this point, my honest assessment is that the fish is demonstrating end result of too small a system.  I'm curious as to whether or not this animal has grown the tail 'streamers' for which they're noted, if not, this, along with the other symptoms you mention lead me to this initial conclusion.  Marina
Naso With Balance Problems - Happy Happy Joy Joy!
>Dear Crew, >>Hello Allyson. >Oh happy day!  My fish is slowly recovering with just good conditions!!!   >>As nature intended. >We raised the temp 3 degrees because we saw that was the major change associated with his poor health.  Immediately he looked happier (I think I mentioned this before).   >>Yes, you did. >Last night he greeted me at the door like he used to.  His swimming is slowly more agile.  He continues to eat like a pig and is as fat as a house.   >>This is very good news, and remember my mantra!  When in Doubt, Do a Water Change! >Untergasser's chart (a book on fish disease) on swim bladder has in his chart on swim bladder a few differentials.  At first all I saw was autopsy and I freaked.   >>Yeah, well, there's only one way to get a postmortem. >Now that I look at it more closely, the most likely diagnosis, given the outcome, is that wall of the air bladder was hardened and inflamed (treated by raising the water temp by 3 to 5 degrees for 5 days). Alternative diagnoses are pretty grim. >>For a fish who's been in captivity for several years, yes, this is true.   >At this point, there are several references to autopsies. The air bladder filled with purulent, bacteria-filled fluid-there are a few other presentations related to bacteria (refers to bacteria treatment chart). >>And treatment would absolutely require use of a hospital system.  This *can* be done, but with a large fish it is not an inexpensive proposition. >Cysts are in the wall of the air bladder. Inclusions in the wall of the air bladder (no treatment possible). Protozoans are in the kidney and bloodstream. I discussed more details on Reefcentral, including a summary of Untergasser's bacterial treatment mash. >>Yes, I've just read it.  Know this, you can go ahead and hypo the animal for Ich, but as I said before, if you don't remove ALL vertebrate life, the Ich will not be gone from that system.  It's far better at this point to provide best conditions and nutrition.  Know also that garlic is only proved effective as a mild antibiotic, empirical evidence claims appetite stimulation.  My assertion is that if a fish is given proper quarters, best water quality and nutrition, nature shall do what she does best and the animal(s) will thrive. http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=3795821#post3795821 <please hyperlink!> Thanks for your thoughtful response.  Please spread the word about this rare phenomenon.  Allyson >>Through you, we shall!  Thanks for the follow-up, too, Allyson.  I felt terrible thinking that your message had been sitting and it might have been too late.  I am VERY pleased that your pet is back on the road to recovery and a long life.  Marina

Rehabbing An Abused Tang! Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> First off, thank you for the wonderful site, you have been of immeasurable help to me and many others. <Thank you for the kind words! We're proud to bring this site to you each and every day!> I work at an LFS and am a sucker and a softie. I have been into reef tanks for a year, freshwater including planted and breeding Killies for many years, and a sucker/softie for my entire 35 years. <I used to breed Killies, too! Really awesome fishes!> Sometimes customers bring abused animals to our store for us to save, which we usually try to do.  Recently a lady brought back a terrible-looking yellow tang. It's fins were either eroded or nipped and have tiny red spots on the ends (diminished already in 2 days but still present), you can see all its bones, eyes are bulging (but not cloudy) and it's pale. It does not appear to have any parasites or HLLE. She claims "the filters just don't work" and that her tank was so mucky she couldn't see through it to even tell if the fish were alive. <That's never a good sign! Sounds like a water quality crisis!> She said she stopped feeding "because it was just too much trouble", she never did water changes or maintenance. How would she know it was too much trouble if she never did it? <Hope she gets out of the hobby soon!> I am guessing the fin erosion is environmental not nipping since the other fish all died a while ago. <I agree!> It's a good thing I wasn't there that day. The owner had the nerve to suggest that it looked like she hadn't taken the trouble to feed it at all, and that maybe she should find another hobby. I would have had a really hard time being that nice. <Me, too! It's disgusting. I could not imagine treating a dog or cat like that. Just because "its a fish" is never an excuse!> After watching this poor animal cower in back of a rock for two days and enduring the scathing looks of the customers who spotted him, and being a softie, I finally took him home. I put him in an 80 gallon reef tank that has just recently finished cycling, which has a lot of algae, thick sand bed, even some polyps, coral and mushrooms already. It has rock and sand from 2 prior tanks with tons of algae and inverts on it. There are two kinds of Caulerpa, a reddish brown bushy algae that is sort of like a fine Gracilaria, Bryopsis, red and green Gracilaria, hair algae, Ulva, and some other candy red plants that came on the live rock. <Sounds like a great place to nurse him/her back to health!> Ph is at 8.2-8.4, calcium high, medium water flow, 78 degrees, salinity 1.025. <Light years better than the tank he/she came from!> Already in the tank are 2 big old black axil Chromis, a green clown goby and a gold Sailfin molly which apparently thinks the tang is some kind of deity. I figured this environment would stimulate it to eat more as there is a buffet of natural foods and no scary customers staring at it and muttering curses. <Just keep an eye out for the damsels...> It is swimming in the open and acting more confident, and mimicking the eating of the molly. Come to think of it, all the fish in the tank are rehab cases. My questions are: Do you have a section of your site that talks about rehabbing abused animals and dealing with crises? <Well, not specifically, but we've answered many questions about fishes in dire straits over the years. You'd be best reviewing the general "Fish Health" sections and searching for relevant information...> I agree that shops should not sell fish that are not healthy, but what to do with them... I would like to see topics covered like how to deal with cases of long term abuse and shock, bad shipping, chilling, fin nipping, serious bites and the like, saving soft coral as they melt down (can you trim them and grow the remnants?), bleached coral and anemones, newborn baby fish, other emergencies. <All great ideas...Topics that are not specifically covered, to my knowledge...> Is there a site that really talks about fish triage?  Maybe you could have a section "FISH 911" Suppose I should just write my own @!$* website...lack the expertise. <Neat idea! Better yet, you could write about your experience in rehabbing sick fishes, and submit it to WWM's online magazine, "Conscientious Aquarist"! My co-editor, Adam Cesnales and I are always looking for interesting and useful articles for the magazine!> Second, in my individual case what do you recommend? The tang looks at the algae but does not eat it. He has eaten frozen foods but passes them whole. Since his digestion is apparently not fully functioning are there any superb foods I can use to fatten him up and keep him going for the immediate future until his digestion and appetite improves? <I would try some fresh Gracilaria that he can pick at as he feels like it. Additionally, I'd consider the use of liquid vitamins, such as "Vita Chem", administered right into the water (since marine fishes do drink) for him to gain some additional nutrition. Maintain a peaceful, stable environment with high water quality.> Anything I should avoid? I can get pretty much anything in the frozen food case for him and some odd stuff you don't normally see. I grow BBS, adult brine shrimp, green water, fresh and salt rotifers, white worms, daphnia, and fruit flies, etc. Whatever live foods you suggest I will try growing that too. Except Musca domestica. Don't do flies. (: Normally feed a gelatin based omnivore diet I make at home in the blender, frozen bloodworms, frozen daphnia, frozen cichlid chow, BBs and rotifers with occasional Whiteworms. Figure the fish get their herbivore needs met grazing in the tank if they are so inclined, plus there are tons of pods for them to eat. <I'd try some frozen Mysis. I like the Piscine Energetics brand. Very high nutritional value.> I am going to probably return the fish to the store if I can get it into good health as I am not sure I want such a large animal in the tank, which is really planned to house peaceful small fish and coral being aquacultured. Since I am and always have been a softie am assuming that I will end up taking in a lot of poor abused critters, so advice is appreciated. I know to leave the Ich cases at the store, and have a  quarantine tank, but figured in this case I would risk it. <The only thing that I would have done differently is to have quarantined the fish first...> In the future will avoid unquarantined fish though, I realize that was dumb. <You meant well, how can I find fault with that?!> Thanks, Kate B Oly WA <Best of luck to you, Kate! It's sure nice to hear about compassionate hobbyists such as yourself...You are an inspiration! Good luck- keep me posted on this guy's progress! Regards, Scott F>

Tang Has a Hole in his Dorsal Fin Hello all, <Hi, MikeB here.> I've had a purple tang for about two years now. When I acquired him he was tiny, transparent, and had HLLE <Head and Lateral line disease> and ick. I have considered him (her?) my greatest accomplishment because with a lot of care and attention he transformed into a gorgeous fish. However, a number of months ago, he developed a hole near the top of his dorsal fin. I did some research on your site at that time and ran across an article that mentioned that this may possibly be caused by rapid growth. I have not been able to find it since. Anyway, as a little time went by, the hole appeared to close mostly back up, but not completely. Recently (within about the last two weeks, the hole has grown and looks as though it is getting larger everyday. My levels are all at 0 with the exception of nitrate which is at about 15 ppm.<That is not bad for a fish only tank.> I've been battling an alkalinity problem that I haven't been able to nail down yet, but I watch it very closely.< If your alkalinity is too low try and test your magnesium levels.> None of the other fish (2 Sebae clowns, 1 coral beauty, 1 domino damsel and 1 Fridmani) are exhibiting any symptoms of anything. They are all (including the tang) very vibrant and healthy. All, including the tang, eat very well. All corals are growing like weeds and the crustaceans and prospering. I feed a mixture of Spirulina, formula one, formula two, Mysis and brine shrimp and blood worms everyday day. I have been soaking the food regularly in garlic (tang released ick into the main tank - a two year old, hard-learned lesson that I will not soon forget) and I have found that since it's introduction, I have not had an ick problem. I'm wondering if this is the ultimate culprit.<Probably not.> I have gotten a little negligent in adding vitamins to the food as well. I used to do this once a week. <I would suggest starting again.> Any insight you might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated. I adore this fish and cannot lose him. Thank you so much, Donna <Donna, it sounds that you are doing everything right.  Do you have any cleaner shrimp in the tank?  If you do is it showing any attention to the purple tang?  There are some instances where the fish will get a secondary infection in their tail that will start to "rot" it away.  If you can put the fish in a quarantine tank and treat him for a bacterial infection.  Is the tail streaked red?  It also could be vitamin deficiency in which the fish is not getting the proper nutrients as it grows through its life cycle.  Good Luck. MikeB?
Re: Tang Has a Hole in his Dorsal Fin
Mike, Thanks for the quick response. Yeah, I do have a blood shrimp in there and the tang does allow it to clean him (not so with a previous pair of skunk cleaners - tang always tried to eat them). As far as the tail, other fins and body - there's not a mark on him. I'll try increasing the vitamins again. I'm also going to try feeding algae sheets again. This has never worked in the past. He's shown no interest in them what-so-ever (but it can't hurt to try). <FYI if there is a sufficient food source in the tank the tang won't be interested in grazing for food.  Try broccoli as a substitute for algae sheets.  It might take a couple of days of light feeding of your fish, but once they try it they usually go nuts.  My puffer loves it.  Yes, my puffer>   I can move him to quarantine and treat for bacterial infection, but will probably do this as a last resort. Should I be trying a gram positive, or gram negative do you think? <Not sure without a proper identification of the sickness> And what brand would you recommend. I've used Maracyn (I and II) in the past, but to no avail. I'm a little bit leery with medications.  <If you want a mild holistic medication try MelaFix.  It is REALLY mild and I personally consider it to be like a "water Band-Aid".> Also, any recommendation on how much or how often I should be soaking the food in vitamins? <As often as you can.  Once a day should be sufficient.> Again, thanks for the rapid response. Donna <Good Luck!!! MikeB>

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