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FAQs about Health/Disease of Tangs 2

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 Health 9, 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

- Fading Yellow Tang - <Greetings, JasonC here...> My yellow tang has always done very well, and still is doing fine (2 yrs old 4").  However, over the past month or two, his dorsal and anal fins have become a little ragged.  The tail and pectoral fins are perfect. I have seen the dorsal and anal split before and they always healed up in a week or two, but this time they don't seem to be repairing themselves.  I have attached a picture that may help. <Looks to me like someone is nipping at them.> I have also noticed that on his left side there is a botchy area where the yellow colour is turning a bit white.  He eats and acts fine, and breathing normally.  I feed all of the fish once or twice a day - marine flakes, Graze flakes, and on occasion Mysis shrimp, glass worms and Marine Cuisine frozen food. <If I were you, I'd invert that food plan, and feed Mysis more often and flakes less often. Flake food is mostly air.> Also every day they get a 2" x 6" piece of dried seaweed to graze on. <And perhaps offer this as the second meal of the day.>  My system is a 90 gal reef with sump, 90 lbs LR Red Sea Berlin Classic Turbo (for up to 250 gal) that produces daily, 700 GPH return, three 402 power heads and both PC and VHO lights.  The fish are a Hippo Tang (4"), Flame Angel, 2 Percula Clowns, Purple Firefish, Royal Gramma, and of course, the Yellow. <There are a couple of suspects in there for aggression... you should keep things under observation.> My water parameters -  nitrate, nitrite ammonia and phosphate are 0.  Calcium has always been a bit on the low side and hasn't been checked in a while but lots of coralline growing so I think it is OK.  Temp is 79 degrees and SG is 1.023.  Recently I have had a bit of Cyano growing (not too bad), but I have bumped up the water changes a bit and it seems to be dissipating.  Is this normal for the Yellow? <Well, many fish change their color to reflect their mood or time of day. As I mentioned before, the fin tears look like bites to me, and being the object of the aggression will depress your yellow tang.> I can't really see him being undernourished, and my water is pretty good.  Any suggestions or am I overreacting?  I have seen many a yellow tang in dealers tanks that have ragged fins, and I was always pretty proud of the fact that my yellow had nice smooth perfect fins. <Everything else being equal, they should regrow.> Thanks for your valuable time, and Merry Christmas!! John
<And Merry Christmas to you. Cheers, J -- >

"Shrimp-A-Phobic" Tang! Hi. <Hello! Scott F. with you today> I'll keep this short.  I have a yellow tang and a Sailfin tang among many other fish in my reef.  A couple of days ago they both began showing signs of Ich.  I have two cleaner shrimp and the yellow tang is allowing itself to be cleaned and he only has a couple of spots and is doing fine.  The Sailfin, however, won't let the shrimp clean him.  Before he had Ich he would swim under the "cleaning station" and the shrimp would crawl on him and check him, he was fine with that.  But now that he has Ich he runs from them.  I'm treating the water with No Ich and I guess I'll begin freshwater dips.  Just wondering why he's being stubborn? <Well, some fish just don't take well to being cleaned by shrimp or wrasses. Fish, like people, are quite individualistic. Also, I'd really like to discourage the use of the so-called "reef safe" medications. I find it hard to believe that these types of products can target just the parasites in question, and have no effects on beneficial microfauna? For that matter, my experience, and that of many other hobbyists, is that these products are of little, if any help. Ich needs to be treated both on the fish, and in the main tank. The most best method, IMO is as successful as it is frustrating: All fishes should be removed to a separate tank for observation and/or treatment with a copper-sulphate-based medication, per manufacturer's instructions. Freshwater dips can help, too. But once the Ich parasites manifest themselves in your main system, they are there-and will be back repeatedly until their life-cycle is "broken". By leaving the tank "fallow" for a month or so, the parasite population will usually crash for lack of hosts. When you return the now healthy fishes to the tank, they should be able to ward off any remaining parasites. Keep in mind that copper is strong stuff, and can damage the tangs' digestive fauna if used for extended periods. Just use the medication long enough to assure a cure, then maintain the fishes in quarantine without copper through the end of the fallow period. This procedure is not fun, takes a lot of patience-but it has a very high success rate at beating Ich. Hang in there- you will beat this infection, but you need to stay on top of things. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Juvenile phase of scribbled angel? Hi Steve, <Bob here, but will send on to Steven as well> Thanks a bunch - very sorry I missed Bob's original reply. <Me too... bizarre... it didn't come to you at the email address you sent it from? You have seen it posted now? Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/chaetodonoplus/faqs.htm> On another note, I'd be happy to supply you guys with more digital pictures if you think you'd be interested... I try in particular to take "progression" photos of fish with ailments to record my successes or failures treating them. I have attached some 'demo' photos, if you want them I can send you the better quality masters. <Thank you much. Such images would be of tremendous help to all> FYI, the yellow tang developed the redness in the photo a few days after bringing him home, good water quality and a proper diet brought him back to health in about 2 weeks with no other intervention on my part. <Not atypical> The Naso tang sadly did not make it, and exactly what happened still evades me... It started as a very small bump on the forehead just under the skin which in time 'popped' and grew into the large lesion the photos show. My treatment ideas failed and he eventually succumbed from infection I imagine. Best regards, Manuel <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Re: My next fish Just another question, after my outbreak of Ich, I'm not taking a chance. Would the fish I suggested in the last email be able to be quarantined in a 20 gal tank for 2 weeks at the sizes I will need to get them?  How long should I wait between now and my next fish due to the Ich outbreak? Thanks again- Yaron >> <Yes, and a good month or two... Bob Fenner>

Questionable Behavior Bob, <normally queries about "questionable behavior" go to Bob... followed by a summons for indecent public exposure, but I'll answer in his stead today...Ha!> I have a 72 gallon tank with an aqua clear pro 150 wet/dry filter. It is a fish only tank and I have about 30 to 40 pounds of live rock in it as well. I cycled the tank with some starter fish and now have 2 Clarkii's and a Blue Devil Damsel. Those fish have been fine for a few months now. In the past 2 weeks I added a Blue Tang and Yellow Tang. I have noticed some unusual behavior by these 2 new fish. They seem to go through periods of intense shaking and sometimes look as if they are scraping up against my live rock to scratch and itch.  <tangs are very prone to parasitic infections. It is crucial for these more than most any other fish that you quarantine them at home for a minimum of 4 weeks. Do look into QT protocol.. you will need it for any new fish in the future and possibly some of the current ones very soon> I see no white spots on them to indicate disease and their colors are wonderful and they are eating quite well. Is this normal behavior or are they in the infant stages of some form of aquarium itch or other disease?  <indeed, it may very well be the onset of a parasitic disease (they commonly start in the gills before you see spots> Please advise if this is a serious situation on how I can fix this before I lose the fish. <please do explore the archives of Wet Web Media for protocol on Quarantine tanks and medication. Your tangs will need to be separated to a bare bottomed QT tank (please NEVER medicate a main display). Begin here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm  and explore the pertinent sections on disease (Ich, Oodinium, etc) and do a search on the Google engine for WWM for specific topics if you like. Do follow up if you need more advice> I look forward to hearing from you. Respectfully, Mike Rysavy <with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Tangs & Ich Dear Mr. Fenner, I put a Hippo Tang and Powder Blue Tang in my 120 gallon new set up for over a week now. <I hope this tank is not too "new" for the sake of your fish. Neither would be appropriate for a tank under six months old.> The Hippo initially shows 2 tiny white spot and now the spots are gone. I have installed UV sterilizer and Ozonizer and put 2 cleaner shrimp into the tank. I also feed them anti-biotic, garlic, and vitamins. Both fish show good appetite and looks healthy, except the Hippo scratches itself occasionally (less than a couple times a day). Both fish went through 3 week QT with Copper before I release them into main tank. Many people in the net suggest I leave them be and watch what happen, but I am not so sure. <That would be my recommendation. Hippo Tangs are notorious for carrying Ich.> Should I take them out and run the system fallow again? <I would not at this point.> (I just re-setup the whole system 1 month ago due to Ich problem) <Ok, so this is well cured live rock from having the tank run fallow previously.> If not, when can I release other QT fish into the tank? <Please wait at least one month before any new additions.> Best regards, Liao I Ching <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Yellow Tang with Red top fin Hello and thanks for your valuable time. <And you for yours> I have a 75 gallon fish only tank, with only two small live rocks.  Fish wise I have a velvet blue damsel, three yellow tail damsels, a saddle puffer, a clown and five turbo snails.  All seem to get along dandy.  I had two Condys that were added a week ago, but died the last two days because of lack of light (my fault and working on getting better lighting and will try an anemone again some day in the future).  I don't yet have a protein skimmer and no QT as of yet. The Yellow Tang has a dark reddish/orange area at the base of his top fin, closest to his head.  It's come on in the last three days.  He eats romaine, and frozen food.  He doesn't seem to like the dried algae.  He seems happy, but does do a little rubbing on occasion on the back of tank glass and some rocks (but not necessarily on the reddish/orange-ish area). What do you think this is? <A reaction to less than ideal environmental conditions. You should definitely acquire and place a skimmer (you'll be amazed at the gunk this tool removes)... All your livestock will benefit from this and the use of a QT system. Please do read through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks! Steve
Yellow Tang with Red top fin
Bob, Thanks.  I didn't realize that the skimmer would be that critical.  I had one in my last tank and it worked great.  Guess I just didn't think it was an absolute. <You will soon see the difference> Do you think that's the main thing that's causing the sot on the Tang? <Yes. Amongst all the factors you mention, probable causes, it stands out as number one> I read through the recommended html page.  I think I have all the other items covered in large degree.  Since I don't have anything but fish in the tank, I think the increased lighting can wait until I have the $$. <Yes, much less important than improved overall water quality. Get, use the skimmer first. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Steve HJ

Yellow Tang wiggles Dear Mr. Fenner: <David Dowless with you this evening> My yellow tang lives with 2 panther groupers ( about 7 inches each) <The panther grows to almost 28"! Your tank will become too small...and soon> and a four inch square Anthias in a 95 gallon tank with live rocks. My aquarium has been cycled for more than 15 months now. <I would consider your tank at capacity right now...> Recently, I noticed that my Yellow Tang wiggles like a goldfish as she swims instead of the usual gliding , fast paced swimming. She is still as active as ever, has a very hearty appetite, tends to go close to the panthers for physical contacts once in awhile. It seems like a mechanical factor. It seems to have some red marks above its eyes; otherwise, everything seems normal. <Well Richard...have you run a full battery of water tests? The redness around the eyes could be a fungus or even more likely, collateral damage from being in a tank with 2x 7" panther groupers...or the swimming problem could be a swim bladder problem. Search WetWebMedia using the terms swim bladder and then check out our section on parasites/fungus. Can you send a picture?> How could I make her swim normally? <See above> Regards, Richard <Good luck! David Dowless>

White spot on my blue tangs. Hi there...sorry to bother you... I am just beginner on marine reef. I just  recently bought 3" blue tangs <Tangs? Not tang? You mean more than one?> for my 33gallon tank. <Uh-Oh!> Before I put him to my tank, I just changed the water.  After 5 hours, then I put my blue tangs inside my tank. After 2 days I saw white spot on the body but the tangs seem good in swimming and eating very well, only the white spot on his body. What should I do? <One white spot? Watch carefully for a while. I wouldn't worry too much about one spot. However, these fish are known as "Ich magnets" and it is certainly possible this fish may have Ich. He needed to be placed in a quarantine tank before being placed in your main display> Must  I change the water? I check the NO2 and its ok. What is the problem and what must I do? <My friend...I see a couple of problems...Your tank is really too small to house a blue tang long term. I  know it probably looks like it's doing alright now but he will grow...up to 12"! Here's my advice: Before purchasing any other fish get a good fish book. Michael Scott has a book called "Marine Fishes". It's a small pocket size book that is needed by virtually all hobbyists. Secondly...you also need a good book on husbandry techniques. I suggest Bob Fenner's book "The Conscientious Aquarist". Lastly, peruse the wetwebmedia.com facts and articles section to learn the basics about aquarium setup, water chemistry, aquarium husbandry and much, much, more! David Dowless> thanks <You're welcome! Keep reading and learning!>

Red Blotchy Yellow Tang Hey all, I tried to find the answer to my question in the FAQ's, but nothing quelled all of my questions.  I have had my yellow tang for almost a year and a half now.  Nothing new has been added to the tank for the past two months and it has been stable and great, but recently she had developed a red, rash-like pattern on the back half of her body, along the lateral line, the mouth, and lower Sailfin.  She has been scratching against the liverock for a few days and I have since dipped her in a freshwater bath.  She seemed to stop scratching for a bit, but she has started up again since I came back from the holiday.  The other fish (2 lions, a coral beauty, and a blue tang, chocolate chip star, and turbo snail) all look and act fine.  The yellow tang is eating and swimming normally, but she looks quite stressed, a little pale, and of course red.  She eats Seaweed Selects Green Marine Algae with Vitamin C, Frozen Brine, and Krill leftover from the lion feedings.  Her Sailfins (both top and bottom) became jagged after the dip, but show signs of regrowing.  What course of action should I take to save her? Chris   <Hi Chris, if this were me I would QT the Tang and be watching the other fish very closely for flashing, signs of distress, parasites. I also think part of the problem contributing to parasites with this fish is nutrition. Brine Shrimp is useless as a nutrient/food. The marine algae is good but you should try to give a good mix of fresh vegetative and meaty foods, perhaps soaked in a supplement like Selcon. To narrow down your parasite problem go here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm  and read the applicable links.  Let us know if you need more assistance.  Craig>  

Tang That Won't Eat... Hello <Good afternoon! Scott F. here> I have a yellow tang about 3 months. Now he refuses to eat and he's not swimming around much. I noticed that his mouth have a little red spot and constantly opens his mouth. I don't know what it is. I don't know what to do for treatment at this time. Can you recommend what to do now?  Thanks, Young Dinh <Well, Young- I don't want to be overly negative, but a damaged mouth on a tang is a huge problem. Can be the result of an injury, declining water quality, dietary deficiencies, or even a protozoan infection. Hard to say exactly  without seeing the fish. I'd start by isolating the afflicted fish. You may want to try a freshwater dip, and then observe him carefully. It's difficult to recommend a specific medication without knowing exactly what we're dealing with here. I'd definitely review the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site for a possible positive ID. Also, review your basic environmental conditions (pH, Alk, Nitrite, Ammonia, Nitrate) and see if there are any disturbing trends there. If you discover a water parameter that needs correcting, do take immediate action to correct it. And make sure that you take decisive action to treat this tang once you've made a determination what you're dealing with. Best of luck!>

Strange disease. Please help ID Hello, I purchased a 2.5" Orange Shoulder Tang almost two weeks ago. It appears to be in good condition (except for the following), eating well (garlic soaked: Nori, Spirulina flakes & various frozen foods) and behaving like a Tang should. Last week, it developed a dark oval marking on one side, just where the top of the pectoral fin touches the body. The mark is about 1/4" in diameter. Doesn't seem to be raised. Started off as a 'ring', with a clear center. Now the mark is 'solid', and spreading upwards. Appears to be composed of multiple little dots, grouped closely together. There is nothing else on the fish. The spot does irritate the fish, making it scratch occasionally. The fish is in a 20g quarantine tank with some live rock & sand from my established 120g tank. All water is from the 120 as well. I've been checking water parameters regularly and all are in acceptable range (no ammonia, nitrate~5mg(?), salinity 1.023, temp 79). The 20g has a protein skimmer and a Penguin 170 outside box filter for circulation. I've seen pictures of Black Ick and this doesn't seem to match. Ever seen this before? Know how to treat it? <alas... the description is still too general to diagnose without more information and a picture. It cannot even be placed categorically (bacterial, parasitic, etc). The spots that cluster... size and color? Any presence of hemorrhaging? Do consult the archives and Untergasser's Handbook of Fish Diseases if possible. A great and easy to follow book (cheap too from TFH). Do send a picture if clear/possible.> Thanks. Steven Oliver <best regards, Anthony>

Sick Tang? Hi all, Happy Turkey Day. Sorry to bug you on the holiday but take a look at the attached pic and tell me if you think the Kole is sick and if so recommended treatment. I looked at the disease articles and could not find any pics that look like this and I don't want to treat until identified. This fish is in quarantine with sponge filter, powerhead , heater, and skimmer. I had it in the dark for the first 5 days and then put a 40w NO light on the tank (20L). It looks real pale in the am but I thought this was normal. <At times the species, actually genus and whole family will "pale" if stressed> It is swimming around, is active, fins are not clenched and breathing is not rapid. I have added some Caulerpa and Ulva and a piece of live rock, 3" PVC T. I have been feeding Mysis (never seen him eat any) and Spirulina. This it attacks violently. Whaddya ya think? Thanks in advance, Don <It does appear mostly okay to me from your pic, and very much so from your description. I am inclined to give it a clean bill of health. Bob Fenner>

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

White spots on tang...not Ich? I just recently purchased 2 4" blue palette tangs for my 125 gallon tank. The system is fully matured at 3 years and no problems with disease/water quality....all test kit readings are up to par. I have noticed on the side of the blue palette what appears to be "white paint splatter". It's not ick....trust me I know ick and all its forms. He doesn't seem to be irritated or flashing. He has a great appetite and the spots are lighter than they were 3 days ago. I have been using a concentrated mix of Kalkwasser with a syringe to help rid my take of Aiptasia. <Another suggestion for those pesky Aiptasia...consider sealing them on the LR with a spot of two-part epoxy.> I usually do a treatment and then do an immediate water change so the chemistry is not way off. Is it possible this tang got "chemical burn" from the concentrated Kalkwasser left behind on some rock??? <Anything is possible, but I doubt it. If you are sure it's no Ich it may just be fright colors> I'm not sure If I should move him to a  hospital tank just yet. <The first time these tangs act the least bit lethargic or start flashing, they would be out of there! I hope you quarantined these guys. Their nickname is "Ich magnet." None of the other fish exhibit the symptoms. <Keep on the lookout!> Any help would be appreciated <You're welcome! David Dowless>
White spots on tang...not Ich?
Thanks for your suggestions!! Spots are starting to disappear when I checked this morning. Yes, I always quarantine my fish before allowing them in the big tank. I usually just do a dip though on tangs, because I know extended exposure to chelated copper does something weird with their "gizzard" hahaha....intestine tract. Thanks again, Brian Maslouski <Yes. Keep the water quality optimized. Remember that Ich has a life cycle that occurs both on and off the host. Even if the spots disappear it doesn't guarantee the problem isn't Ich. keep your eye on this guy...David Dowless> 

Powder Blue Blues Hi, <Scott F. at your service this morning!> I have a powder blue tang that has been kept for two weeks.  Sorry that it hasn't been quarantined but it did go through freshwater dip before going to the tank. <Well- I won't scold you at this point- but please, please quarantine all new arrivals in the future, okay? At least you did the FW dip, so you got it 50% right!> It used to behave normally. However, today I saw it occasionally rubbing itself against the sand bed and sometimes dashing around the tank. <could be anything from a parasite to a full-blown illness- hard to say from here..> Since my tank has lots of live rock forming caves, it is very difficult to catch it for medication. I have two cleaner shrimps but they did not seem to help.  I know you would not recommend cleaner wrasse but my area does not have alternatives, like neon gobies. Should I buy a cleaner wrasse to help? <Please do not purchase any cleaner wrasses, regardless of how dire your situation might be, okay? It just sends the wrong message to retailers, wholesalers, and collectors that there is a demand for these fish, which absolutely should be left on the reefs> If not, what should I do?  Are there any other alternatives to cleaner wrasse? I really love the tang and didn't want to lose it. Thanks and regards, Manus <Well, Manus, I commend you on your level of dedication and willingness to take decisive action to save the fish! My best recommendation is, unfortunately, the most difficult one-You need to remove him to a separate tank for observation and/or treatment (once you confirm what the illness is. DO refer to the disease FAQs on wetwebmedia.com). Assuming it is Ich, you would be best served by removing all of your fish to such a treatment tank as well, because the illness (assuming, once again that there is one-and it sounds like there might be one) is in your system, whether it's obvious right now, or not. Don't take any chances- err on the side of caution and get the fish out! Let your main system sit without fish for about a month, which will result in the near elimination (notice I didn't say "complete"-that's virtually impossible in any system) of any parasites that are present in your system. After the "fallow" period, you can more-or-less safely return the cured fish to the tank. It's not a fun procedure, but it really can work1 You'll certainly learn the value of quarantine for new fishes- it's a lot less painful for you (and your fishes) if you do that first! But you seem eager and dedicated to your animals- I know that you're going to do just fine in the future! Good luck!>

Help! Purple Tang has turned brown-green and won't eat Hi, Thanks for your excellent web-site. I've kept marine aquariums for almost 5 years now, and have a problem I've never encountered, and can't find a reference on the web.  My purple tang, who for 3 or 4 months has been very fat and healthy (along with all the other residents of the tank) has over the past 10 days: 1) stopped eating, and 2) changed color over most of his body (looks like he's been covered with grey/green dust). (He's still purple on his sides where his fins fold back against his body) 3) I don't observe any ulcerations, holes, or fin damage. I've tried enticing him with different foods (Ocean Nutrition's "Formula 1", "Formula 2", and "Brine Shrimp Plus", Frozen brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, Waltham's "Aquarian", Aquatrol's "Spirulina 20", "Nutrafin Max", freeze-dried krill...  but he still has no appetite. He won't even eat lettuce, which he used to devour. He has become more shy, and will hide when I walk up to the tank (he used to do this on occasion, but now does it every time). When he doesn't know he's being observed I can see that he is still pretty active, but has started to look really gaunt in the back half of his body. Specs: 100 Gallon Uniquarium, fish only, habitually understocked (other inhabitants are 6" blonde Naso, 5" Foxface, 3" flame angel, 3" long-nosed Hawkfish, 3 small damsels) Uniquarium has: - venturi protein skimmer - foam-block pre-filters - carbon bag chemical filters - wet/dry bio-balls biological - I don't know the gpm on the power head, but it's the one that came with the Uniquarium Feeding - I usually feed mostly flake (variety of Formula 1, Formula 2, and Brine Shrimp Plus), and usually a full leaf of Romaine lettuce daily. <Ahh, much here. I would look to environmental/nutritional causes from the above. The bio-filtration produces nitrates which should come down to less than 40. The lower the better, but difficult with the type of filtration you have. Now, for primary cause in my opinion...diet, which is contributing to parasites, bacterial, or fungal condition. This fish eats vegetative matter in the wild and needs it in captivity. Land based foods like lettuce are inadequate. Feed Nori, algae, perhaps Caulerpa, etc. The Formula 2 *frozen* food would be a good addition as well as soaking foods in Selcon. Brine shrimp is like Ho-Ho's or Twinkies. Brine shrimp plus is like those frosted donuts.> Maintenance - I do 15-20 gallon changes every 2 weeks; ammonia & nitrite always at 0, nitrate sometimes as high as 80ppm but usually 20 or 40. Copper is 0. Temp stays at 79, salinity at 1.023. Everybody else in the tank is very fat, healthy, active, peaceful, and happy. Help! Thanks -  Joel Sweat <I would work on optimizing water and diet. QT if needed to control disease and treat as needed. Start with a FW dip. Raise temp to 83 in QT. Most likely ick/velvet or bacterial from overall stress, diet, nitrates.  Please write if you need further assistance, Craig>

Powder Blue Blues! I have had my Powder Blue Tang home for a week now. I don't have a quarantine tank. <Gotta get one of those!> He has been fine up until now but today he seems weird. He is going back and forth from one end of the tank to the other really fast. Hasn't done this before constantly. He seems to be rubbing on the rock a lot more than he used to. My levels are PH 8.2, Ammonia 0.5 which has been like this for about 3 weeks, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20. My Lionfish's behavior hasn't changed at all. <Detectible ammonia is not normal-please re-check and verify the reading. Take appropriate action to see that you don't see any ammonia reading in the future.> I am starting to get real concerned and am going to get a quarantine tank tomorrow and set it up. <A good long-term move. Keep a sharp eye on the lionfish, as well. Be sure to quarantine all future purchases for 3 weeks before placing them in your main system> I know this fish is hard to keep in captivity, what should I do? <The first thing is to take a good hard look at your tang. Are there any apparent spots, sores, parasites? At this point, removing him to a hospital tank may be a prudent move. You should perform a freshwater dip before placing him in the hospital tank (see www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm for more information). Keep a close eye on the tang during its stay in the hospital tank, and be prepared to take appropriate action should symptoms continue. These fish require careful feeding (lots of algae in their diet) and above average water quality for optimal long-term health.> I don't want to lose it. What is the fastest way to get the quarantine tank running with sufficient biological filtration? <Generally, you should keep a sponge filter or media in your sump at all times for such emergencies. At this point, you may need to rely on one of commercial nitrifying bacterial cultures to "jump start" your filter. Keep observing your fish carefully, use the resources on wetwebmedia.com, and always, always quarantine! I'm sure that your tang will do okay if you act promptly. Good luck! Scott F.> Thanks, Ian Roff
Powder Blue Blues II
The tang seems to have a few very small spots on his side and his face has kind of turned white instead of black. The blue areas are starting to go pale as well. He has seemed to settle down a lot bit but is still rubbing on the rock. What should I do? <Well- sounds like Ich, but difficult to be certain from here. If it were me, once I verified that it was Ich, I'd perform a 3 to 5 minute freshwater dip, followed by a stay in you hospital tank. I would administer a commercial copper sulphate treatment and follow the manufacturer's instructions for use. Always test for copper if you elect to go this route. You need to make sure that you are maintaining a proper therapeutic concentration. Keep a close eye on your fish during the treatment period, maintain high water quality in the hospital tank, and good feeding. Copper is very effective, but is tough on tangs if administered for long period of time; do be certain that Ich is indeed the condition that you're dealing with. Check out this FAQ: wwwmarparasitcurfaqs.htm to make sure. Good luck, Scott F.>

Fin Problem Bob, <Craig> I've had a saltwater aquarium for about a year. During the early time, I had water quality problems (since resolved) which affected my yellow tang. His fins have eroded; are uneven, and have holes in the upper fin (I don't know if this is fin rot or HLLE). He appears healthy otherwise. I don't have a hospital tank set up. Are there any vitamins I can try; do I need to quarantine him? Will it gradually heal on it's own? <Hmmm, could be water r elated, could be physical damage re: holes. If this were water quality you would expect to see improvement over a week or two or... If lateral line it could be dietary. Tangs like a lot of vegetative matter in their diet, Caulerpa, Nori, etc.  Keep an eye out, it could physical damage from crabs, shrimp, maybe fish tank mates. Otherwise, if you have resolved your water problems he should show improvement. Fins on fish are fast healing in the proper conditions.> For more info try: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangfeedingfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Tangdisease.htm Hope this helps, Craig>

Please help big problems Hi, I have a 90 gallon tank with 90 lbs of live rock and 90 lbs of live sand. About 3 weeks ago, I added a blue regal tang. In the tank at the time was a yellow tang, 1 blue damsel, and a tank raised clown. There are about a dozen snails, a serpent star and sand sifting star also. About 2 weeks ago, the regal tang broke out with ick. <Very common for this species. That is why quarantine is so necessary.> I immediately moved him to a quarantine tank I setup. About a week after that the yellow tang and clown broke out with it. I moved these 2 fish to the quarantine tank also. I treated the quarantine with Rid-Ich+. I have been doing daily water changes of 50% in the quarantine tank. Despite this, the ammonia is really high, <Please read over our coverage of setting up a proper QT tank on www.WetWebMedia.com. A good, cycled sponge filter hidden in your main system and ready for use would have eliminated the ammonia problem you (and particularly your fish) are now experiencing.> like 0.5 (not sure what units). <Parts Per Million, ppm> Both of the tangs are very good size. I have only been feeding them like 3 flakes each to try and keep the ammonia down. <Somewhat helpful> The yellow tang wouldn't eat anything at all, though. The fish kept looking worse and worse, not with Ich but just being stressed I guess. <Likely a combination> The fish were not moving much and looked on the verge of death, but the ick wasn't reappearing. <Ich has a tricky, deceiving lifecycle. It appears to have run its course only to pop back up.> In a panic, I freshwater dipped them and put them back in the main tank this morning. They are all looking much better now but I'm sure they are going to break out with the ick again since the tank only went fallow for about a week. <Agreed> There is only one fish store in the area and they don't have the facilities to quarantine other peoples fish. <Few stores do.> I know this is long. My question is I know if I add copper to the main tank the live rock and invertebrates will suffer. <The will do more than that.> If I was to add the Rid-Ich+ to the main tank what would be the consequences. <Yep> (its formaldehyde and malachite green or so it says on the bottle). Would this kill the live rock? <Yes, the animals and plant on it.> the snails? <Yes> the star fish? <And yes> I don't mind if I have to get rid of the invertebrates and never put them back in keeping the tank fish only. <Ok> I just want the fish to live and be happy. If I shouldn't use the Rid-Ich+ what would be your suggestions. <You are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. Your quarantine/hospital tank was not setup properly. You do not have a lot of options with the live rock and invertebrates in the system. I would try a lowered salinity (1.018) and garlic foods and see if that makes a difference. In the meantime, get that QT working properly so you can QT all new fish for four weeks and treat these fish if these lesser aggressive treatments do not work for you.> Thanks for the help. Sincerely, Matt <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Re: Naso Tang with cloudy eyes (marine antibiotic use) Thank you for the info. This is essentially what I have been advising so I'll stick to it. <Me too... have never experienced definitive proof of antibiotic benefits on a consistent basis... and recent works (e.g. Ed Noga, and I spoke w/ him re at MACNA XIII re)... other than expensive broodstock, and mainly trauma (as in spawning) incidents, direct injection... am of the opinion that such compounds mainly do "good" by modifying water chemistry (e.g. tetracycline hydrochloride lowering pH), perhaps reducing TBC's (total bacteria counts)...> For whatever reason some customers seem to go on the defensive at the suggestion that they have water quality issues and are intent on buying something that will magically fix their problems. <Bingo! Part of the/our "western ethic"... trained by Madison Ave. to "buy something"... perhaps we can, should sell "sugar pills"... oh, Weiss has beat us to the punch...> The typical response is "I know my water is fine because it's perfectly clear" <To which I typically respond "so is vinegar"> or the best one yet "I know it's not my water because I only use Ozarka and it's the best". Ah well, sometimes there isn't much you can say. <Be yourself, state what you believe, know, simply. Ask questions like "what if you used distilled water" or only drank such yourself... ways to introduce, induce more open-mindedness. Reciprocally, maybe you're ready, in need of a holiday? Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Richard

Naso Tang (spot on eye) I have a blonde Naso Tang and I noticed something odd recently. In the exact center of his left eye he has a very small (pinpoint size) spot -- it looks like it's light blue (to match the light blue stripe at the top of his eye) and the other eye doesn't have it. Is this normal?  <As in "it happens", yes> Have you ever seen it? Do you know what it could be?  <Likely an "owee" from contact, perhaps an injury from duking it out with other fishes...> He acts perfectly normal and is eating well. Just curious about it. Thanks for any help you can provide. <Likely transient, self-curing... I'd do nothing re unless the spot enlarges, shows on other livestock. Bob Fenner> Elizabeth K. Birdwell

Sick POWDER BLUE I noticed that my Powder blue tang has small stringy things coming from his fins is that velvet?  <it sounds like mucus sloughing from some parasitic organism indeed> If so I know I should quarantine the fish should I treat the tank with formalin and fresh water dips every other day. Thanks. <exactly correct, my friend. Best regards, Anthony>
I noticed that the white stringy material was gone this morning when I checked on him. Before I went to bed, I performed a fresh water dip on him for 7 minutes. Do you think I should quarantine him or should I wait to see some type of signs? <It is better to be safe than sorry. I would QT him. -Steven Pro>

Blue tang quarantine Hi, all... <Cheers> Short recap: I had a nasty Ich breakout in my 75 gallon main reef tank. Rather than treat it with "gunk", I've kept it isolated for 3 weeks (I know, I know, 4 weeks recommended, but other circumstances make that difficult.  <no worries my friend... 2 weeks at least is good. The 4 week limit is simply ideal> While it was laying fallow, I kept a yellow tang, blue tang and flame angel in quarantine (finally set up a quarantine tank).  <excellent!> Yellow tang and flame angel did well, but the blue tang hid under the one rock I have in there, day and night. I moved the yellow tang and flame angel to the main tank last night, and am left with 2 questions: - I gave them a freshwater dip before moving them in, and moved them at night, with the MH off and the blue actinics only on for one more hour.  <nice moves> They both hated the dip, but while the flame angel seems to be doing OK this morning, the yellow tang has been very agitated since the move, swimming back and forth on the glass over a very short area (not the length of the tank). Is this simply residue of the shock of the move? He looks healthy enough, and had been eating in the QT. <I'm actually wondering if there has been a change in the flow volume or direction of the water flow in the tank. Tangs commonly pace with inadequate water flow or a change in lights that causes a mirror reflection inside the tank> - The blue tang hid under a rock the entire time while they were quarantined. When his partners moved out, the blue came out for a short while, and I was happy, but he's back to being under the rock, all day, all night (yes, I'm obsessed enough to check on him in the middle of the night every once in a while). Still not eating, at least not in front of me. Anything I can do to make him happy?  <believe it or not... try some floating plastic plants... anything cheap and ugly is fine... just to diffuse light and perhaps make it feel secure by day. A piece of algae covered live rock would be nice too at this point (from the since fallow tank will be fine)> I'm waiting until I can at least get him to eat before I move him;  <agreed> is there anything else for which I should be looking? <no worries... the bare bottom and change of light simply disturb some fishes... blue tangs are rather thin skinned in this regard> Arthur <kindly, Anthony>

Marks on Tang Mr. Fenner,  <<Actually, JasonC here in his stead...>> I am sorry to bother you.  <<No worries.>>  I posted some pictures on the Wet Web of my hippo and some red marks he has on his side. I also posted a message on the chat forum regarding this, but I was hoping to also get your very valuable opinion as well.  <<Fair enough...>> I woke up this morning and my hippo had all these red marks on his side. They are NOT inflamed. They almost look like bruises. I have seen him with open cuts (from parasite that were removed during FW dip) and those open cuts looked orange. I am a little afraid that he somehow hurt himself. Are bruises in fish red?  <<Sometimes.>>  I think he may have gotten in a tiff with a snail for hanging out in the hippos spot. I think he may have tried to swat him with his tail and instead hit his side on the rock. Does red marks sound consistent with this?  <<Not really very likely, these fish are quite skilled in their aim.>>  He ate fine this morning and is very active, he is a actually a little mad at this snail right now.  <<That's a good thing, eating is always a good sign.>> My question, does it look like bruising, a cut or parasites?  <<Knowing a little bit about your tank, my guess would be the occasional flicking the Hippo receives from the Sailfin... the Sailfins can really be quite aggressive, and certainly more so than a Hippo tang.>>  I know the picture is not that clear, but hopefully my description is good enough.  <<Found the photos.>> Also, should I treat him, or let him take care of it? Fearing the worst, I gave him some tetra antiparasitic and antibacterial flakes this morning to make sure I could catch what ever it is right away.  <<Well, the Tetra foods will certainly help stave off an infection. But you should really observe closely the interactions between your two tangs as this is the most likely culprit, and if the aggression continues, you will likely need to lose one of the two, or isolate one in order to bring about resolution to the problem.>> Water Parameters are good. AM=0, Nitrites=0, PH = 8.2, SPG = 1.022.5, Nitrates= 40 ( these are usually a bit higher than 0 anyway)... Temp is about 80 Any advice would help.... BTW my screen name is Freckleface. <<Yes, do look very closely at the interactions in the tank. I know you're quite attached to the Hippo tang so I wouldn't waste any time. If need be, get rid of the Sailfin. Cheers, J -- >>
Re: Marks on Tang
Jason, Thank You so much. I honestly do think he hit the rock.  <<Fair enough.>>  I say this because I was trying to move the snail myself and while he was trying to flick the stick I was using he smacked the rock so hard it hit the wall of the tank. Which, sadly enough, I have seen him do on numerous occasions. Does this mean my hippo is not too smart or just has bad aim? <<Well, most any animal isn't going to continue behaviors that cause injury to itself for too long unless it's a life or death situation... but I suppose if we are going to consider a lack of smarts, then we'd have to concede that this tang probably has a deficit of them.>> If this were from the Sailfin, would the marks be scattered like they are? <<Sure.>>  They don't look like cuts, but I have only seen a tang cut on my hubby's finger, so I am really not a good judge at that.  <<Well, without scales it's not really a fair comparison. By nature the wounds should look different.>> How long does it take for something like this to heal and is there a way I can tell if these are bruises or if they are open?  <<Time to heal depends on many other circumstances, overall health, etc. Only way to really tell how serious these wounds are would be to remove the fish from the water and do an inspection, up close and personal, perhaps with a magnifying glass. Not entirely practical, but perhaps worth it if you are concerned.>>  If they are open, can he still fight it off on his own?  <<Again, "if" this is aggression, without removing the source of the injury, then there's no real way to get ahead of it. If the tang is indeed masochistic, well then... it's really hard to say.>> I just went home and saw him at lunch, he looks the same and is eating like a piggy, so good sign.  <<Good deal.>>  And the snail moved!  <<Perhaps this will help ease the tension.>> Thank You again, as always, your help is greatly appreciated!!!!! <<My pleasure. Cheers, J -- >>

Wilting Tang.... Bob, <<Actually, JasonC this time...>> I have a post on WetWebMedia and have gotten data but no solid answers to my problem. My Tang has major damage. Please look at: http://mywebpages.comcast.net/hcs18/fish.html <<OK.>> I thought it was diet, sounds like others may be picking on him.  <<I would say for certain this is the problem, based on those pictures.>> If so I suspect coral banded shrimp.  <<Not my first pick, I would suspect the six-line wrasse; these guys can be real jerks. The coral banded shrimp would only take advantage of something that can't help itself. Reading ahead, I should caution you that this tank is rather small for this fish load... your tang needs more space, as does the fish that is picking on him.>> Specifics: 55 Gal, Flame Angel, Tang, 6 line wrasse, Hawkfish, royal grandma, Breeding clown pair, coral banded shrimp, starfish, 3 fish that I am confused at. I thought they were sea bases, anyway they are in first picture as well. They are green/blue in color, that did not show well in picture.  <<Those are Chromis, part of the Damselfish family - you can read up on them here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chromis.htm >> Thanks in advance Bob, Dale <<Cheers, J -- >>
Re: Wilting Tang....
Jason Thanks for such quick response.  <<My pleasure.>> I have been feeding some of the "freeze dried" seaweed. (last few days). What would you recommend feeding him?  <<More than one type of dried seaweed, and perhaps some meaty foods too, Mysis, etc.>> We read steamed broccoli and the like in books would help.  <<No, I'm not a fan of these.>> Bob seemed to say no to that idea because of possible chemical agents.  <<That is a possibility, but realistically, Tangs don't eat broccoli in the wild. It's best to try and duplicate their normal foods. You might also consider some new live rock so the tang can pick at the fauna.>> He seems to be looking worse faster now.  <<Can be the nature of being picked on.>> Should I put in hospital tank?  <<I would say yes, definitely.>> 

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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