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FAQs about the Stocking/Selecting Tangs, Family Acanthuridae 2

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

Related FAQs: Tang Selection 1, In General, Tang ID, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease

Some species, genera are far more suitable than others...

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Fin issue    7/22/19
Hey bob,
Having trouble determining if my fish’s tethered fins are bite marks or fin rot.
<Can look very similar>
Make a long story short, I asked my lfs to bring in a small mustard tang. He did, was there 5 days, and ate strong the day I saw him.
<This species can be tricky to ship, acclimate to captive conditions>
As he was going to net him out, I noticed some portions of his back tail look jagged. As if someone took a pair of scissors and cut marks out up and down back tail.
I have him in qt, with copper as a preventative I’ve been using before going in display. Had him since yesterday, ate great yesterday, but not sure whether to let it go, or treat with kanamycin.
<I'd expedite this fish to your main/display... not much to gain by copper exposure, delay>
I will try to get a photo later today, but I hate to lose a $200 fish. Hindsight tells me I should have left him, but I felt obligated , being I asked to bring him in, when he normally doesn’t stock this fish.
Is their a general rule used to determine whether it infection or other fish just not playing nice?
<Species, size... origin of collection et al. specific, influenced>
Thanks , Bobby
<W. B>

Tangs in a 180, comp., beh.    6/14/16
First I want to thank you and the crew for all you do for the science. I have been visiting this site for roughly 10 years now and have gained such a wealth of knowledge reading articles and solving many problems and/or avoided many potential problems by doing the proper research before purchasing. So I thank you for your commitment to this site and to
<Ohh, I think you're just about ready to join us!>
With that said I may have potentially made an addition to my tank with out regarding the above words (which Im sure has happened to most in this hobby once or twice).
<Heeee! At this moment>
I recently moved my 55gallon into a 180gallon. I cycled the 180 for 4 weeks using a portion of my 55's substrate and majority of the live rock. I cycled the 55g LR with 75lbs of dry rock and 60lbs of additional reef sand as well as Walt's Fiji refugium mud, obviously placed in the refugium.
After the two weeks of the cycle on the 180 and a water test I added a juvenile Zebrasoma Desjardini that was given to me by a fellow reefer who needed a larger home for him. I was certain after testing the water that  it was safe for him to move in. Those results were: NH3 - 0ppm, SG - 1.025, Temp 78 degrees and stable, PH 8.3, NO3 - 5ppm, NO2 - 0ppm.
He was the first in the tank before any of my livestock from the 55g. A week later (week 3 of cycle) when he was eating and displaying normal behavior I added my male Xanthichthys auromarginatus from the 55g. I re-positioned the LR to create new caves and eliminate any territorial issues, not that these two would have them but just to be safe.
The two co existed fine for an additional week before I did another water test rendering the same results as before and then I added the remaining livestock from my 55g after re positioning the LR once again. The additional LR from the 55g, the remainder of the substrate (that went into the refugium to created a DSB next to Walt's Mud) and the fish:
Paracanthurus hepatus, Zebrasoma flavescens, Premnas biaculeatus (with host BTAs), Amblyeleotris wheeleri, Synchiropus ocellatus, and a Calloplesiops altivelis. (the 55 was overcrowded but everyone played very nice and was only a temp home)
There was also a cleaner shrimp and a few peppermints who didn't make the transition unfortunately. Not sure if Bob, the Xanthichthys  auromarginatus, killed them or if something else happened but they are no longer with us
<The Trigger might have been involved>
The issues I seek your opinion on has to do with my tangs. After the first week the hippo ended up with pop eye which has cleared up on its own, but now he seems to hide a lot more then he used to.
<Just give it time here>
I had hoped that the larger volume of water would create space for these guys to really swim and explore the tank freely. The Maroon hosts and stays out of the group and the Marine beta is only out at night, but the hippo, who I adore seems to
be stressed by something. The two Zebrasoma's do a little sword play but no one seems to be showing signs of injury. I do have only about 120lbs of rock. I like my tanks to have pillars and columns of rock and not just a wall so they have a playground to swim in. Could it be that I don't have enough hiding spots?
<Doubtful... just time going by...>
In fact the hippo hides out in the same cave as the trigger and seems to do so most of the time now. Could the addition of another circle bodied fish Zebrasoma Desjardini, be causing all this drama?
<Possible; but one last time... this should pass>
My LFS told me to purchase another Zebrasoma to even out the pack, but they also want my money, so Im reaching out to you as to what to do.
<I would not add another here>
I would like to add as my final tang to the party a Acanthurus achilles, but at the price point and sensitivity of this species I am going to wait till the tank conditions are fully stable and cycled and this Zebrasoma stress issue out of the mix.
<Good; this is what I'd do as well>
If you could please advise as to your thoughts to my Zebrasomas and if I need to find a new home for the Zebrasoma
Desjardini I will do so.
<I'd leave this one here. No to another Sailfin tang individual>
Tank Info just in case I missed something above:
180gallon (6'x2'x2')
NH3 - 0ppm
SG - 1.025
Temp 78
PH 8.3
NO3 - 5ppm
NO2 - 0ppm
55gallon refugium: LR, DSB, and Fiji Mud (separated by baffles) as well as two soft balls of Chaeto
120lbs LR
LED Lights on a schedule
Misc SPS and LPS Corals
2 RBTAs that share the same hangout
handfuls of Blue Leg and Reg Leg Hermits
Fighting Conch
Nassarius Snails
Fromia indica (who ended up eating the cleaner when he perished)
Emerald Crab
Sally Lightfoot
Thanks your loyal reef reader,
Spencer Hall
<Thank you for sharing and your kind words. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tangs in a 180   6/14/16

Bob, thanks for such a swift reply. One last question re the future Acanthurus achilles. Do you see my current livestock an issue with adding this delicate fish.
<Not really... "just" the usual issues of easy-parasite gain you hint at>
I consider myself an experienced hobbyist and feel I could handle the care for this animal, but do you feel there
are incompatibilities with my current tank mates?
<None especially; no. There are individuals of the species you list/have that at times prove irascible (like our current Cattle Dog toward other canines), but I give you good odds here. BobF>
Re: Tangs in a 180   6/14/16

Excellent, thanks so much Bob!
<Ah, welcome. B>

Group of tangs; stkg., comp.    4/10/16
Hello WWM,
I'm sure you get these questions quite a bit but I haven't been able to find any answers to my question specifically, so here we go..
I have a 220g softie reef tank with lots of sand and rock that's been running for 2 plus years now. I'm finally ready to add my larger fish and of course want to add some tangs! Currently I have 2 black clownfish, 3 Firefish gobies, 3 Banggai cardinal fish, and a cleanup crew. What I WANT TO add are the following: 1 dwarf angelfish (?),
<Do investigate the various species, choices here... some are inclined to nip Alcyonaceans>
1 royal gramma or Dottyback (?), 1 mandarin goby (?), 1 clown and/or diamond goby(?), 1foxface (?), I niger trigger, and 5-9 from this selection of tangs -clown, blonde Naso, hippo, Kole, powder brown, (3) yellow.
<Mmm; all of these could be added. Might be hard to get food to the Mandarin in this setting
Now, everything with a question mark I can live without.. maybe except the foxface. But I'm willing to in order to have the others.
Please help guide me through.. I know the tangs will be last because I have to add them all together; and I want to have them all added within the next 6-8 months to give them time to adjust well.
Thanks for any advice you give!
<Mmmm dos. Well, provisionally all the Acanthurids can fit here... I'd place the Naso last... and do your best to assure the specimens are in good health; and at LEAST run them through a preventative dip/bath enroute to the main/display. The SOP and rationale for this is all gone over on WWM.
Bob Fenner>
re: Group of tangs   4/10/16

Hello and thank you for your speedy response! Noted with the dwarf angel.. was thinking of the flame because, same thought process for the gramma and Dottyback, I'm looking to add some bright colors.
<Ahh; a very nice fish>
Also, are you saying the tangs could be a food issue for the mandarin or the gramma and Dottyback?
<Yes; they (the Tangs) are greedy feeders... you'll need to develop and implement a strategy to assure all are fed... Usually feeding the one group in an upper corner, while placing (with a feeding stick, tube) sinking food items to the less aggressive animals>
Thanks again,
<Welcome "little sweet one". BobF>
re: Group of tangs   4/10/16

Ok, good to know.. last question :: ��
Where do I find the SOP information on wwm about your suggested drip and acclimation?
<Ah; here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
- Melissa

Kole Tang addition?       1/16/16
I appreciate the support you give marine aquarist as they try to make sure their aquariums are peaceful places for fish to live.
I would like to add a tang (yellow, purple, or yellow eyed) to my established 75 gallon Fowlr tank. I am very happy with my current inhabitants and do not wish to rock the boat if that is what things would cause. Please see information below regarding this tank:
75 gallon salt water, current inhabitants: Elibi Angelfish, 3 blue/yellow tail damsels, 1 black/white striped damsel. The Elibi Angelfish is a beautiful fish and is the dominant fish.
Equipment: skimmer, internal wet dry, led lighting If I was to add a tang to this tank will there be trouble between the Elibi
Angel and any of the tangs mentioned?
<There should not be; no>
If so, what would you recommend about another fish going in to the tank?
<Some schooling species... Perhaps Cardinalfish, or Anthiines, Cirrhilabrus wrasses...>
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Kole Tang addition?       1/16/16

Thanks for the help. I will be looking at the local fish shop this weekend for a tang. I have a 30 gallon quarantine that has been running a few months with a couple of snails in it.
<Ah good. Cheers, BobF>

can I have two tangs together in a 75 gallon. Using WWM     10/7/14
<Depends on the species, even genera involved. See WWM re... Bob Fenner>


have a yellow tang also have a sailfin tank
<... see WWM re Zebrasoma spp.>

Tank planning... and Tang order of intro.  – 06/18/14
I've been running a few tanks for about 4 years now anything from sps to species tanks for various stomatopods. Currently I'm looking at upgrading my 100g sps reef to handle some of the larger specimens I've always wanted.
Either a standard 220 or if it's in good shape I found a 7x2x2 210.
I plan to move over my few smaller wrasse (melanurus and a cleaner) as well as pair of clowns, yellow watchman goby, dragonette, and whitetail Bristletooth. I plan to add a small male crosshatch trigger once all the cleaner shrimp
<The Xanthichthys will eat all small crustaceans>

and smaller fish get adjusted and was also considering a desjardini and sohal tang. I've read a lot of various methods for mixing tangs but what is the safest way to do it?
<Most easy going to least... the order you've presented them here... a week or more twixt>

Having kept mostly 100 or smaller gallon displays I never really kept more than 1 at a time. Should the desjardini and sohal go in together and be about even size or offset introduction and size?
<The Sohal last for sure... it will be the alpha animal here>
I'm expecting most of the conflict there since the whitetail seems to have 0 aggression and tends to flee even from the cleaner wrasse so I don't see it being seen as a serious threat to power.
I've done a lot of reading but seems everyone has a different idea, and I tend to not trust lfs with questions like this since the answer will tend to always be sales driven. I know each fish is different but I want to
try improve chances as much as possible since rehoming fish that require bigger tanks is harder generally.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

tang selection       2/19/14
Hey Bob. I have again torn threw <through> the WWM far, searching various topics regarding tang compatibility.
I am currently letting my tank balance out, it is the 155 bow front. Once this has settled, I would like to add my last two fish, and was considering tangs.
I currently have one tang, and it is a yellow tang. My lfs swears by his powder blues, as well as his Achilles tangs. When I asked about the poor success rate, as well as being magnets for Ich, he stated to me its all about the catch, source and acclimation procedure. He gets his in from QM, and says he rarely ever has issues with those particular tangs.
<Quality is the best in the US...>
I would love to have both, preferably being put in at the same time, but have read conflicting opinions. Most say you need a 6 foot tank, which I have, but than others say they should be left in the ocean. I suppose that can be said about any fish.
<Poor/er choices... see again on WWM. B>

So with the yellow tang, I know there is no guarantee or rules, but is it at all feasible to think one of the PBT or Achilles could go in? Again, did hours of research, but would like input on my specific set-up I have.
Thank you

Acanthurus lineatus, tang stkg./sel.       5/31/13
What are your thoughts on adding an Acanthurus lineatus and Acanthurus tennenti at the same time to a 220 with a P. hepatus?
<Likely the Pajama will fight, cut the other two... but might get along if it is decidedly smaller, introduced last... The Lieutenant tang may eventually be/come too large for this volume. Bob Fenner>

Tang Mixing   4/2/13
What are your thoughts on mixing Paracanthurus hepatus, Naso lituratus, and Acanthurus leucosternon in a 220gal reef system?
Thanks Brad
<In this size/d system all three of these Acanthurids should get along, given that they're started small (a few inches) and added about the same time. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tang Mixing    4/2/13

Well, the P. hepatus has been established for a while but is quite passive, and the Naso has only been there for 2 weeks.
<Well, the Powder Blue IS the last of the three I'd introduce... Make sure it's "clean" parasite-wise, and an inch or more smaller than the other two... BobF>

Was Re: Chromis viridis, now...  tang sel.    4/23/12
Thanks, again, Bobby.
What, if any, issue do you think I'll have with the Yellow Eye Kole tang and my current Yellow tang?
<There may be some initial scuffling, but as they are different colors, shapes, and Genus, they should settle down.>
I was also thinking of Sohal tang -- but they get so big!
<Not just big, but EVIL!!!! LOL.  Do NOT do it!!>

Got it. Very reassuring. Will stay away from the Sohal as you recommend.
Sure appreciate the help, Bobby!  Nice to get sound advice from folks have no other interest other than to see us succeed.
<You are very welcome, Bobby>

Re: Vampire/tennenti tang - powder blue, Achilles tangs... sel.     4/20/12
Hi Bob,
No, I didn't. I haven't made any choices yet either as my tank is still cycling.
<Ahh, do please see my input below>
> Adam... did you ever get this responded to? Found in Simon's in-box growing a beard. BobF
Re: Vampire/tennenti tang - powder blue tang
> Hi Folks (possibly Simon, it's been a while!)
> I know this is ancient history, but holy sugar, building a house takes a long time. The next time I hear or read someone saying "I bought this fish that is completely inappropriate for my current tank because I'm for really for real for sure going to have a bigger one in X months", I'm going to roll my eyes. Our original completion date of September 1st was pushed back 5 times, and we are only just now moving in. Since we sold our last place on the assumption that it would be done at least before Christmas, I had to break down my 90 gallon and re-home all my fish and corals months ago. So much for my original grand plans to move one tank in to another.
<The very common case... in fact, I've yet to find such a project finished on time and on-price>
> This question will hopefully be quick. Since I last wrote you, the proposed tank has become a real, physical thing that is currently dividing my office from my dining room, and the sump is filling with R/O water for the first time as we speak. The actual built product wound up being 72"X34"X27", or ~285 gallons empty, ~250 gallons with sand. Since I'm now starting from scratch, have a slightly smaller tank than I thought I would, and I've had another year to read, I'm not going to consider more than two tangs in this tank.
> Here are my two scenarios:
> 1 Zebrasoma xanthurum + 1 other compatible Indian Ocean tang (possibly Acanthurus leucosternon, added last, as discussed below)
> 2. Acanthurus achilles by itself. I wouldn't pair it with another tang in this tank
> So the question is, do you think a single Achilles tang can successfully be kept in a tank of the above dimensions, and if so, are there any fish outside the surgeonfish family that raise a red flag for compatibility with this species?
<Mmm, in this size/shape system, not overtly so, no>
 There's heaps of info on how terribly they fair with other tangs, but relatively little on how other families of fish react to them.
<Fishes that utilize the same/similar habitat, eat "filamentous algae" are often challenged... e.g. Salarias, Atrosalarias Blennies; but they know to get out of the way>
> If you think the Achilles is just a terrible idea,
<Just needs extensive care in terms of non-stressing, patience... getting an initially super-healthy specimen... And if external parasites evidence themselves... more patience>
I'll move forward with attempting to build an Indian Ocean biotope. I've been mulling that suggestion for months now, and I like it. Plus I've become a huge fan of McCosker's flashers. Supply from that part of the world dried up for a bit here in Calgary over the past year, but I've seen some more specimens in the shops recently so it might be possible.
> Thanks,
> Adam
<Welcome. BobF>

Tang Compatibility – 04/19/12
Having read pages and pages of informative posts, I haven't had my specific question addressed.
I have a 150 gallon tank with lots of LR that has been established for several years. I have a 4 inch Tomini Tang that has been placed for about 6-9 months. Would it be possible to introduce a sohal, Naso, OR purple tang with a likely chance of success, being in different genera?
<<Is “possible,” yes>>

Which would be best (if any)?
<<Considering aggression and/or size and space needs…I think the Purple Tang is the best choice of the three for your system>>
What size would be best?
<<A specimen equal to or slightly smaller than the Tomini>>
I have no other Acanthuridae. Thanks! You guys are awesome!!!
<<As always mate…happy to share! EricR>>

Turtle Grass and Tangs 1/30/12
<Hello David>
My wife and I are in the process of planning a new house and, importantly, a new tank.  It may be a little while, but the goal is to get it right. 
Visually, we want something reminiscent of our snorkeling honeymoon in Grand Bahamas, though we're not purists in terms of species selection.
We're aiming between 600 and 1200 gallons (a big range, but the final house gets a say as well), and plan a shallower, well lit tank with a pleasant wave motion, lots of open space, a few rocky outcrops with corals, and a lot of seagrass swaying in the waves.  For fish, large groups of a few species with a handful of individuals for variety.
Here is where the difficulty comes.  I love the movement a group of yellow tangs would provide (12+), but there are a lot of questions.  What size tank is minimum for that sort of group?
<Even with a 1200 gallon tank, there will be an Alpha tang or dominant tang that generally picks on the weakest of the group and/or prevents it from feeding.  This cycle is likely to continue until what remaining tangs there are, feel comfortable in that space.  I tried to this this many years ago with five Yellow Tangs in a 240 gallon system and I ended up having only the dominant or Alpha tang left.>
What grass do I select that will not be mowed to nubs by my herbivores?
<Problem here is that tangs require water very low in nutrients and Turtle grass is generally found on substrate composed of mud and sand in turbid water that is nutrient rich and likely will not grow in a system suitable for tangs.>  If yellows are a bad choice, what other tangs might this plan work with?
<You would be better to mix a few different species of tangs along with some other compatible colorful fish.>
I want to do this right.  I have a successful reef, now I want to build something that really captures a piece of the beach.  How do I plan properly for success in this sort of a tank?
<Read/search our site, plenty of info to be found on this.  Let's start here and related articles/FAQs found in the header.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
David Issa
Sent from my iPad
<Sent from my pad.>

Naso Tang/Systems 1/10/12
Hi Crew.
<Hello Toby>
I've spent way more hours reading your website than I'd like to admit.  I'm currently reading Bob's book as well.
I've been running saltwater for about a year and have previously had freshwater systems for about 15 years.
My question is about a Naso Tang.  I am cycling a 180 gallon tank that will house my current 75 gallon and I'd like to add some other fish to it.  I have read all I can find, however I don't see anything concrete (as if anything is concrete anyway).
Can I house a Naso Tang in the 180?  The dimensions are 72x24x24. 
Everything I've read says that they need at least a 6ft tank, but it doesn't say that a 6ft is OK.
<Six foot is acceptable, but larger would be better.>
 I know ideally they would have a tank with 1000's of gallons, but unfortunately that's not a choice I have.  Will this fish get to it's full size of 18" and not be too crowded?
<It's unlikely it would grow/attain a length of 18" under captive conditions.  Do be sure you get one at least four inches long.  Smaller specimens generally do not adapt well.>
The other inhabitants would be:
2 true Percs
1 Foxface lo
1 coral beauty
1 lawnmower blenny
1 green mandarin
1 royal gramma
1 Banggai cardinal
Various inverts for cleanup.
I'd like to have a few tangs in there, maybe a powder brown, purple, Kole.
<Would not put the Powder Brown Tang in with a Naso or any other tang, fighting is likely to occur.  I'd go with a Purple or Yellow Tang.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Naso Tang/Systems 1/10/12

Thanks James for the quick response!
<You're welcome.>
That's what I was thinking about the Naso, but wanted someone with more experience than myself to say it.  :)
If I nix the PBT, how many Tangs can co-exist in a 180?
<Will depend on species chosen.>
There will be about 160lbs of live rock with a 2" sand bed and I plan on keeping lot's of open space for swimming.  Could I do a Purple, Kole, Yellow, and Naso?
<Four is a bit much for that space.  As far as aggressiveness, these tangs are relatively peaceful unless kept with their own kind, but each individual fish has their own unique personality so there are no guarantees.  If it were me, I'd put the Naso in first, then add the Purple and Yellow Tang at the same time.  There may be some disputes between the Yellow and Purple, but in your size tank it should/could work out.  I'll take my words back.  If it were me, I'd have the Naso and Purple Tang and no others.  Having too many tangs in that space could lead to problems and if this should happen, you will have a difficult time removing the villain.  Not worth the risk in my opinion.>
I often see people with many more Tangs that I think is possible.
<I suggest reading here and related links/FAQs found in the header.
James (Salty Dog)>

Tangs... stkg./sel.    10/4/11
Wet Web Media, I have a 150 reef with about 200 lbs of live rock and 75 lbs of live sand. The tank is stocked with a Blue Jaw trigger (male), a pink tail trigger, a pearly jaw fish (looking for a second), a pair of ocellaris clownfish, a mandarin goby, a cleaner wrasse, a forktail blenny, a lawnmower blenny, some peppermint shrimp, cleaner shrimp, and a mated pair of coral banded shrimp, about 30 snails, a Sandsifting starfish, a 4 inch Halimeda plant, and a pink and green cucumber. The ALK of the tank is around 13 dKH.
The tank parameters are: ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, nitrate is .5, phosphate is 1ppm, and calcium is at 400. I wanted to know about Tangs and if I should just stay away from them all together because of Ick.
<Powder Blues and Browns, Achilles... the genus Zebrasoma and Ctenochaetus are best/better choices>
I quarantine everything but am still scared they one bit of stress will cause an outbreak of Ick. I like how active they are but would rather find other active fish instead of dealing a tang with Ick all the time. Is there a way to keep them from getting it or is it simple a matter of time before they get it?
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM... your answers are gone over and over and over and...>
If it is a matter of time are there some other reef safe fish you can recommend that are active and similar size?
<Keep reading. BobF>

Yellow Tang   8/29/11
Dear WWM,
I have a very well established 85 gallon reef tank with a refugium and the following fish: 1 Candy Basslet, 1 Male Lyretail Anthias, 1 Female Lyretail Anthias, 1 Male Bartlett Anthias,
<... thought you were going to arrange summat re the Anthiines>
and 1 Midas Blenny. I would like to add a Yellow Tang as my last and final fish, and I could really use the
algae grazing in the tank the fish would provide.
<Mmm, a small/is Ctenochaetus species would be better... Perhaps a Tomini or Kole/Yellow-eye...>
My tank, although 85 gallons, is 36" long. I have a tremendous amount of live rock in the tank, lots
of crevices/hiding places. Good skimmer, also. Tank parameters are Nitrates: 0, Phosphates: 0, Calcium: 440, Alk: 9, Magnesium: 1400. I am concerned about the tang having enough swimming room.
<Me too>
Many sources of information stress minimum gallons for this fish, but some also specify 48" in width
is just as important. Want to do the right thing here.
Welcoming your opinion.
Laura Rothbaum-Garmizo
<Well, as you state, you're on the smallish dimensions and volume wise...
again, I'd switch to a Bristletooth species. BobF>
Re: Yellow Tang   8/29/11
Hi Bob,
Let me tell you what happened with the female lyretail Anthias...
<Please do/Pray tell>
I have a Vortech Wavemaker in the tank. It was creating a vortex, and subsequently many bubble flying across the length of the tank as well. I shut it off two days ago, wondering if that was part of my problem with the female lyretail. The minute I did, she swam around the tank, par normal.
She is now joined up with the male again, swimming throughout the tank, and has not been up on the right corner since. It was like she was OCD with the Wavemaker or something.
I don't know how else to explain it. She just STOPPED like a light switch went off.
Appreciate your thoughts on the yellow tang. I value your opinion far more than anyone on these matters. Will not add the yellow tang if you feel long term it would be to the detriment of the fish.
<Likely you wouldn't have troubles for quite a while placing a "mid-size" Z. flavescens here (3-4" overall)... it being the last fish... but likely w/in a year there could well be dominance issues. Much less likely with the other Acanthurid genus. B>

Second opinion on keeping two tangs in a 4x2x2 6/22/11   6/23/11
<<Hello Ross.>>
Asking for a second opinion on keeping two tangs in a 4x2x2.
<<So a standard 120 US gallon set up.>>
Im planning on keeping a Purple Tang with a Achilles Tang would this work if I added them at the same time
<<The purple tang being one of the smaller of the Zebrasoma genus (get up to 22cm in the wild but most captive specimens average about 10-12cm) could work in this set-up provided you don't overcrowd it with a full wall of live rock or decorations (translation: leave as much surface area open for swimming as possible while still providing hiding/grazing places). I would avoid two tangs in this 4 foot long set up, and I would especially avoid the Acanthurus achilles. There are success stories here and there but in general these fair poorly in captivity, this tank size isn't suitable for an adult especially when you consider the psychological crowding with another tang (yes aggression). If you do go with a tang from the Acanthurus genus there are far better/more responsible choices.>>
Do you have any ideas that might stem aggression thanks.
<<Space, lots of space, and even then there is no guarantee but certainly your chances of avoiding aggression between the two would be increased with more available area, I wouldn't do it in this set up however. Cheers, - Adam J.>>

hi guys, tang stocking q   6/20/11
Hey Crew!
I've been reading your site for years and its very informative.
My tank is as follows. 180g 6x2x2 with some LR (not a ton, so plenty of space). Current inhabitants are 1 small/med yellow tang and 1 medium powdered blue tang. These fish were QT'd but not copper treated. They currently seem to have no issues and eat fine.
<How long ago was the last introduced?>
I am looking to expand my fish collection and was considering the following 3 tangs to add to the system.
<... I would look to other fish families>
Cole yellow tang,
<? no such beast>
convict tang and a Naso tang. I have a 40 gallon qt set up and waiting.
In your opinion, can I get these fish to get along and thrive in my main?
<Not likely, no>
I realize that I am not in the best situation since I am adding tangs to 2 established tangs. I plan on moving some rockwork around and adding the new fish with lights off.
Provided the tangs get along, am I asking for trouble with a Naso and a pow blue tang in the future? Thank you.
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
re: hi guys, tang stocking q. Acanthurid stkg./sel.    6/20/11

thanks for the reply. To expand the questions you've had
<... grammar>
the yellow tang has been in there for about a month and the powder blue has been in there for 2 week.
<I'd wait period... a month or two... this species is VERY prone to protozoan issues>
I meant to write yellow eye Kole tang. In your opinion, they will not live together? I would like a Naso more than the other 2. Your opinion is not to try it? with 3 tangs aggression would be less than with just 2 or am I wrong here?
<... please see WWM re... http://wetwebmedia.com/FishInd3.htm scroll down... B>
The other fish I was considering are Lyretail Anthias

Wrasse and Tang Compatibility   4/24/11
Hello Crew
First I want to say thank you so much for everything you do. I am on this site all the time learning what I can. Now for the tank specs. We have a 250 gallon (72"x 30") RR with a 6" DSB and about 150 lbs of live rock, and a 60 gallon refugium with 2" sandbed and lots of Caulerpa.
<Yikes... do keep the last clipped/pulled back>
The salinity is kept at 1.025, pH 8.4, nitrate 5 ppm, ammonia 0 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, calcium 460 ppm phosphate 0 ppm. Our current stock list is as follows:
1 Canary Wrasse 4"
1 Coral Beauty Angelfish 4"
1 Royal Gramma 3"
1 Green Mandarin 3.5"
1 Scopas Tang 3"
4 Blue Chromis 1"
1 Cleaner Shrimp
Several Nassarius Snails, Cerith Snails, Nerite Snails, and 3 Turbo Snails
Torch Corals
Several Mushrooms
Several Zoanthids
Pulsing Xenia
Leather Coral
Bubble Anemones (splitting again)
We would really like to add a few Wrasse for more color, but we get conflicting opinions on what we can and cannot add. I have been reading through the wrasse FAQs on this site and I find myself getting more unsure.
I would love to add a couple Laboutei Wrasse, and Scott's Fairy Wrasse. Do you think they would be alright with the established Canary Wrasse and with each other?
<Yes... the two Cirrhilabrus spp. should be fine here in such a shape/size volume, and the Halichoeres chrysus is easygoing, mix-able with the Fairies/Velvets>
If so, how many would you recommend of each?
<At least a trio of each, one decided male, two initial phase individuals of each>
And I have read that Wrasse will actively hunt amphipods and copepods.
Would they be food competitors with the Mandarin?
<To some extent, yes. Though, Mandarins are near rock and bottom feeders and Cirrhilabrus broadly open/midwater>
He's been fat and happy for a couple years, and I don't want to rock the boat.
We have also been considered adding another tang or two. We love Vlamingi Tangs, but are not sure that our tank is big enough for one.
<Mmm, for a while... maybe a year or so; depending on what size you start w/, how much of what you feed>
If not, we are also considering an Atlantic Blue Tang.
<Not easily kept, but nice fish>
Please let me know if either would be a good choice or if you have any other suggestions.
<Am more of a fan of the Ctenochaetus and Zebrasoma rather than Naso, Acanthurus for aquarium use, due to size, smaller foraging area for the prior>
Thanks in advance for the advice!
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tang sans tangs, sel.    3/8/11
I am looking into purchasing a powder brown tang (A. Japonicus....the hardy species of the two) and I notice that the two razor like scalpels at the tail are both torn off. He has great color and he looks healthy overall.
Do you think they ripped these off purposely during capture or did they fall off or something?
<Mmm, likely clipped too close (though may regenerate) by the collector/s...>
There is no reddening at the tail or at the scalpel area (normal and healthy coloring). Should I just forget about him or will he be ok in the long run if I take him home?
<The latter>
This is the first time I am seeing this....I need some advice.
Thanks a lot!
<Welcome! BobF>
re: Hey folks..... Tang sans tangs -- 3/9/11

Hello. So I went ahead and took the powder brown home. He looks great and has awesome vivid coloring and clear eyes. I am quite concerned about the fact that he picks off of rocks and eats algae....ONLY. I fed him Mysis and brine with no success. He wont even look at anything free floating. I hope this doesn't turn into a "non-eating/unhealthy" tang. What do you think?
<Patience >
re: Hey folks..... -- 3/10/11

Well, you were right!
<Ooh, as a fellow fellow, am sure you know how nice that is to hear/read>
He is swimming around and eating everything now.... I am stoked! He's a beauty with a bold personality. He doesn't budge or even spread his fins when I go up to the glass quickly and unexpectedly.
Never experienced this nature before from any brand new tang. Only thing that does concern me though, is the fact that he moves very sloooowly! Almost like he's sleeping or at least tired. I was under the impression that this Acanthurus species was a fast and overly active swimmer. Maybe I have a lazy one lol (hopefully not unhealthy).
<Mmm, no... perhaps "casual" best describes these (Acanthurids)... they know they're kings/queens of the reefs. BobF>

Tang Selection 1/28/11
<Hello David. Before we go on, what are the dimensions of your tank?
James (Salty Dog)>
I have a 145g tank with 2 percula clowns and 1 yellow tang about 4 inches.
Reef, 150 Ib live rock, no corals yet, but soon. 2 MP40 Vortechs. The tang has been in the tank now for 1 week and doing well (thanks to Bob for some earlier advice!). I would like to add another tang and have extensively read on selection but not able to figure out my best next move. I would like at least 1 more tang and plan to quarantine it first. I realize now that the yellow might have been better left to last as the longer he's in there he may be territorial when another is introduced so not sure if that means I need a bigger or smaller / more or less assertive fish. Could you advise me on my best options for another tang - species and size? I assume no to a Naso. Hippo? White face (japonicus), Kole? Other? Is two tangs my limit for this tank assuming other species or can I have a third? Any other reccs on species ?- non jumpers and reef-safe please. Thanks for your help!
Re Tang Selection 1/28/11
Hello David. Before we go on, what are the dimensions of your tank?
James (Salty Dog)>
Hi James, it's 63 x 24 x 24 (Elos 120). Oops sorry, Elos 160
<Hello Dave, thanks for the info.>
I have a 145g <160> tank with 2 Percula Clowns and 1 Yellow Tang about 4 inches.
Reef, 150 Ib live rock, no corals yet, but soon. 2 MP40 Vortechs.
<Nice pumps.>
The tang has been in the tank now for 1 week and doing well (thanks to Bob for some earlier advice!). I would like to add another tang and have extensively read on selection but not able to figure out my best next move. I would like at least 1 more tang and plan to quarantine it first. I realize now that the yellow might have been better left to last as the longer he's in there he may be territorial when another is introduced so not sure if that means I need a bigger or smaller / more or less assertive fish.
<I would avoid adding another Zebrasoma species. Territorial issues will likely ensue although I have seen large tanks such as yours with a Yellow and Purple Tang living harmoniously.>
Could you advise me on my best options for another tang - species and size? I assume no to a Naso.
<Well, Naso tangs are generally the mellowest of the bunch but also one of the more difficult tangs to acclimate to captive conditions. See here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/naso.htm>
<Would be one of the better choices. Completely different family and in fact the only member of the family. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracant.htm>
White face (japonicus),
<Very territorial, would omit this guy. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm>
<Territorial issues again possible.>
Other? Is two tangs my limit for this tank assuming other species or can I have a third?
<I'd stick with two.>
Any other rec.s on species ?- non jumpers and reef-safe please.
<May want to read here as well. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/besttgsreefs.htm>
Thanks for your help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Atlantic Blue tang, comp. with other Acanthurids  7/13/10
Hi crew,
<Howdy Mohamed!>
my reef tank size is 3m * 1.2m * 0.7m high.

I have 20 medium size yellow tangs, 3 regal tangs, 1 orange shoulder and 1 Naso.
I will like to add 3 Atlantic blue tangs
and will like to know if they will be compatible with what I have currently as I have read that they are not aggressive?
<Mmm, I would not add any more Tangs/Surgeonfishes here... of any species actually. Too likely to cause troubles... aggression, change in psycho-social dynamic. And Acanthurus coeruleus is too "easygoing" to be
placed in such a mix as you have here already>
<And you, Bob Fenner>

More questions for you good people, Tang sel. for a 56 gal., Ctenochaetus sel.    6/13/10
Hello there again folks,
<Howsit Chris?>
I'm currently stocking my 56 gallon (30x18x24) aquarium and all is going well. So far I have a large pink/blue spot goby (such a personality) that came from a local reef club member, and a pair of black ocellaris clowns. I am fairly certain I'm going to get getting a neon Dottyback in the future (I seem to fall in love with fish at the low volume LFS and when they are there 2 months I grab them, at least they are pre-quarantined).
<Mmm, can we settle on "improved, hardened to captive conditions?">
Anyway, what I'd like to find out a little more information about today is are there any species of tang that would be suitable for my aquarium. I've been told that the 30 inch dimension is substantially limiting and the "tang police" on
my reef club's forum have told me "1 tang in 4 feet, 2 tangs in 6 feet, 3-4 in an 8 foot long tank" but I wasn't looking for a Naso or even a Yellow tang (as they seem to be EXTREMELY active swimmers, I was more interested in
the Bristletooth type tangs.
<The genus Ctenochaetus would be your best choice here... but... even these will need more room in time, starting with a smallish specimen>
Having read your FAQ's and articles as any responsible reefer should, I noticed that in your article the Kole tang
you said that 56 gallons for that fish would suffice, but I'm not sure if you meant a standard 56 like mine, or if you basically meant a tank bigger than a 55 gallon. A Kole is on my list as an acceptable specimen, but if you think my tank could handle it, I would honestly prefer a blue eye or two spot Bristletooth tang, which is the main reason I'm writing this. I have seen online a few places 6 inches and others 8 and even 10 (which I doubt).
<These are "average" maximum and possibly largest ever recorded (fisheries) lengths>
Anyway I appreciate your advice in advance and look forward to more happy reefing because of it.
<Any of the three stated species should be fine for a while started small. Bob Fenner>

150 FOWLR Stocking Livestock Selection Tangs and Angels. 9/2/2009
Hi there.
<Hi Josh.>
I have a couple of questions. First off I have a 150 tall and its a FOWLR tank. 150lbs LR, g4 skimmer, Coralife 1720gph pump.
My first question is can you keep a small angel (pygmy) with a Lrg angel (emperor) putting the small in first.
<Yes, but the 150 is not rally large enough for a big Angelfish - they need a longer tank.>
Next question is tangs and angels(Lrg). which go in first. I would like to get a hippo, a yellow, and the emperor.
I have heard two different opinions. One is that tangs go last because there very territorial. The other opinion is the angel goes last cause there more aggressive. Or do I get the scratch to buy all three and put them in all at once? I will be upgrading to a 300 to 500 gallon as all fish grow later on.
<I would add the Angel last, will be the most aggressive of the three.>
Thank Again and p.s. GREAT SITE!!!!!!!!!

Tangs, sel.  08/15/09
<Hi there>
Thank you for such informative website. I was wondering if you could suggest an appropriate species as an addition to my tank. I have a 120 gal. SPS reef, connected to a 50 g seahorse/pipe fish tank, 50 g refuge, and a 30 g sump. Currently, I have a Comet (first fish added to my tank 8 years ago), a Midas Blenny, a six line Wrasse, a pair of Lyretail Anthias, and a 3" Chevron Tang that I added about 3 months ago. I was reading up on my choices (on your website, off course), Sohal or Naso Tangs, but these did not seem appropriate due to aggression, tank size, and possibility of nipping at corals.
Despite the refuge, I have some macro algae in the tank ( red spongy type that grows in circular shape, and red leafy type), and I was looking at Tangs to keep the algae trimmed. I am thinking of a colorful, and large fish (eventually up to 8") as a center piece. I have had Sailfin, and Hippo Tangs in the past, so I would like to try something new. Any suggestion?
<Perhaps a Siganid of small/er size. Bob Fenner>

SW Algae control\Tang Selection: 5/5/2009
<Hi Curt.>
Wanted to first say thanks for a great site! I've used the site for several years now and always come away with something new.
<Thank you for the kind words.>
I've got a compound question, first I've got 2 very irritating macro algaes that I'm trying to control/eradicate, Cladophora prolifera and Dictyota dichotoma.
Have you found anything that will eat these pests?
<There are several predators of Cladophora Look here: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&q=cladophora+predators  >
<Dictyota is harder - manual removal is best.>
I've read on this site and others that Naso tangs have been reported to eat the Dictyota.
If so, any particular Naso family member? What about the Cladophora? If nothing eats this stuff than what would be my best option?
<Your best option is manual removal and reducing your lighting\controlling nutrients. You can read more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm >
My next question is compatibility of the I plan to have only 3 tangs (each from a different family) in my 6' tank which currently houses a Blue Hippo and shortly an Orange Shoulder. Which Naso would you suggest, if any?
<I would not put neither a Naso nor an Orange Shoulder Tang in a 6' system. I would be leery of trying one in anything less than 8' in length and at least 2 feet deep. These fish get too large and\or aggressive and are more prone to "mysterious" deaths in anything less than several hundreds of gallons. Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/badacanthurusaq.htm  >
<My pleasure>

Many Thanks For All Your Help, Again (And a 'Q' on Tang Selection) - 02/09/09 Dear All, <<Hey there Carolyn>> Just wanted to say thanks for all the help you've given me in my almost 1yr into the marine hobby - you've been invaluable! <<We are pleased to know this>> And now to the inevitable question - now that my system is stable I'm getting ready to add the tangs I've always wanted… <<Uh-oh [grin]… Bet I know how this is going to go>> The tank is 72 inches long and 24 inches deep (top to bottom) with a total volume of approx. 140 gallon (not including sump), not sure how much rock is in there now but it's in an open formation towards the back of the tank to give plenty of swimming room (I practically dream of tangs...). <<The open space will certainly be a benefit with the fishes you so desire>> I'd like in an ideal world to keep a Sailfin, yellow and hippo tang together <<Mmm…>> but have concerns about eventual size of these fish. <<As do I…and is but one consideration. Even specimens that haven't reached a "mature" size can express health and behavioral problems just from "growing up" in a too small/too crowded system>> Knowing that the hippo can reach 12 inches and the Sailfin 14-15 inches, is this just a bad idea from the start of do they inhabit different niches on the reef? <<Even a tank such as yours is too confining for adult specimens of either species, much less in there together. You could "get by" for a while with small specimens (keeping in mind my previous comments re "growing up"), but there are much more suitable choices available for "long term" care. The Yellow Tang is a fine choice, but I think better companion Tangs would be a medium-sized Acanthurus species of "moderate" temperament like A. japonicus or A. pyroferus (maybe even both!), and maybe a Ctenochaetus species like C. Tomini or C. strigosus. These are much more suitable for your tank size, in my opinion>> I'd add the tangs together after a good long period in QT, to hopefully help ease any territory issues, but am concerned about crowding given their ultimate size? <<Size, and attitude/behavior… Sailfin Tangs can become brutes when large, and Hippo Tangs are just darned twitchy…both of which are compounded when the environment is too small>> Ultimately it's my responsibility to give these animals the best home possible, but I value your opinions more than I can say. Carolyn <<If the long-term care/health/vitality of these fishes is your goal, then it is "my opinion" you should consider other choices than the Hippo and Sailfin Tangs. Feel free to write back and discuss further if you wish. Cheers, Eric Russell>>
Re: Many Thanks For All Your Help, Again (And a 'Q' on Tang Selection) - 02/10/09
Dear Eric, <<Hi Carolyn>> GAH, feared as much. <<Sorry mate>> Always makes me cringe when I hear of people squeezing a regal or Sailfin into a 75 gallon tank and claiming they'll re-home it when the animal gets too big (have just had to part with my two remaining discus and that was difficult enough!)... <<I much agree… More often than not, the "re-homing" to a larger system just never happens and the fish often live miserable and foreshortened lives>> Curses, but not to worry - would I be able to keep a small shoal of yellows in there (say 3, if all added at the same time)? <<Mmm, many are the hobbyists who have tried this, but I've only ever seen this work for any length of time in displays in excess of 300-gallons, and even then not always a success…this is not something I suggest you try in your 140g tank>> I can see my idea that my 6ft tank would negate any future upgrading was flawed (could always fit a 10-12ft'er in the garage ;)). <<Indeed… At least an 8-foot tank with enough depth and height to provide adequate space for a full-grown Sailfin Tang and full-grown Hippo/Regal Tang, plus other assorted livestock no doubt…something approaching 400-gallons or so should do [grin]>> On the plus side, leaving the regal and Sailfin out of the equation does open up numerous other fishy possibilities! <<Ah! Now there's a positive spin!>> Carolyn <<Be chatting. EricR>>

Upgrade Stock List Questions…The *Which Tang* Debate ~ 01/08/09 Hi There Mr. Fenner, and WWM Crew, <<Hiya Adam, EricR here>> I'm looking for some insight into stocking a 180 Gallon (6' x 2' x 2') Aquarium. <<Okay… I'm happy to offer my opinions>> I have some inhabitants from my current 90 Gallon Aquarium that will be making the move. The list includes (1) Powder Blue Tang 5", (1) Yellow Tang 4", (1) Sixline Wrasse, (1) Yellow Watchman Goby, and (2) Ocellaris Clowns. With the exception of the Powder Blue (added this past August), and the Clowns (added about 1 month ago), the fish have been together for about 2 years. I've got 2 fish that I have my eye on, but my gut tells me I'll only be able to add 1 of them to the 180. <<Oh?>> The fish in question are the Blue Jaw Trigger Fish, <<Ah… An excellent choice I think>> and the Tennenti Tang. <<Mmm, this second choice is questionable>> The new tank will have around 120 LBS of live rock, set up in a pillar style. <<Neat>> This is to hopefully maximize swimming room. <<Excellent… And wise>> This tank, as with my 90 Gallon, will be a mainly LPS Reef with a shallow sand bed of 1-2". The sump will have a Chaetomorpha Algae Refugium. The protein skimmer with be a MSX250 rated for a 640 Gallon Lightly Stocked Tank or a 425 Gallon Medium Stocked Tank. The main circulation in the tank will be achieved by 2 Vortech MP40W's, rated at 3000GPH each. <<Some nice flow… And will be appreciated by all>> I changed 15-20% of <<It looks like some of your data was cut short/lost?>> So after that list I hope I didn't leave anything important out!! <<Hmm, I think I have enough info>> What do you guys/gals think? <<I think the Trigger would make a fine addition, but I have concerns the Tennenti Tang may prove too large (can reach 14-inches in the wild) and aggressive in the long term, for this tank>> Would they both be good additions? <<Not in my opinion, as explained>> Would neither be good? <<The Trigger should be fine>> If the Tennenti isn't a good choice can you recommend me another tang other than a Kole or Tomini? <<Mmm, a couple… Although a Ctenochaetus species would probably be less problematic re aggression among the Tangs, have a look at the Mimic Tang (Acanthurus pyroferus), adults are quite striking and much better looking than the pictures on the NET reveal. Another option might be the White-Faced Tang (Acanthurus japonicus). These are generally superb aquarium specimens. Either of these will remain of a moderate size and have proven to be healthy and hardy feeders in my experience. And of course, the best option will be to introduce all tangs to the new tank at the same time>> Thanks so much in advance. -Adam <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Will the Yellow Streaked Fairy Wrasse and the Clown Fairy Wrasse Work Together? - 10/19/08 I am getting a 135 gallon tank and have started researching what fish I want to have. <<Very good>> I know I want a few tangs and wrasses and had some questions. <<A "few" tangs will be an issue…in my opinion…though I think a "couple" is doable here>> Do the Yellow Streaked Fairy Wrasse and the Clown Fairy Wrasse get along together? <<None of the Cirrhilabrus Wrasses really "get along"…but it can be possible to keep differing species in a large enough tank…although Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus (Yellow Streaked Fairy Wrasse) is generally considered one of the more aggressive species of the genus. Still…these two fishes "could" conceivably coexist in this 6-foot tank>> Also, would I have problems with having a Purple Tang, Yellow Tang, Naso Tang and Blue Hippo Tang in the same tank? <<Mmm, yes…way too much Tang…way too little tank. Though you have likely seen both in smaller systems than yours…the Naso and Hippo Tang both require larger tanks than what you have for their long-term health…both physical and social. You might get away with the two Zebrasoma species together for a time, but the Purple Tang may become a terror as it matures. I would suggest mixing genera with a small Acanthurus species (e.g. - A. japonicus) or Ctenochaetus species (e.g. - C. strigosus) to accompany the Yellow Tang, for the best chances of success>> Which of these should I introduce first, second, etc.....? <<I would introduce the Wrasses first and together…and the Tangs last (after quarantine), and also together if possible>> I can send you a list of all the fish I want and see what you think. Thanks, Debbie <<I'm happy to help Debbie…do first research your fish choices re compatibility and suitability to your system…then once your list is pared down, write back for some input. Regards, EricR>>
Re: Will the Yellow Streaked Fairy Wrasse and the Clown Fairy Wrasse Work Together? - 10/20/08
Okay, I have made some changes. Instead of the Blue Hippo, I figured the Blue Tang instead, since it doesn't get quite as big and the brown powder tang that you talked about with the yellow. Is that better? <<Providing the scientific names would help…I am going to assume by "Blue Tang" you mean Acanthurus coeruleus, the Atlantic Blue tang…and no…this is not better. The Atlantic Blue tang, while not as heavy bodied, will get bigger than the Blue Hippo Tang. Try using fishbase.org for researching your fish selections to get a better idea of their ultimate size, geographic origin, diet, habitat, etc. I very much suggest you limit your Tang selections to the Yellow Tang and Whitecheek (aka Powder Brown) tang for this tank…especially considering you seem new to all this>> I am copying the list here, mainly because I am worried about bioload. I am planning on a refugium to add more water to the system, and am trying to find out how big it needs to be. <<As big as you can go…really. Do also read here and among the many related links at the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm >> Okay, here is the list: Reef Safe or Semi-safe fish I want for my BIG tank: TANGS SHOULD ALL BE ADDED TOGETHER Yellow Tang (yellow and large) 8" <<Okay>> Powder Brown Tang (black, tan, red and yellow and large) 8" <<Be sure to get Acanthurus japonicus, and stay away from the similar Acanthurus nigricans. Both are often sold under the same common names of" Powder Brown" or Whitecheek" but the former is much more aquarium hardy while the latter has a dismal record re and should be left to advanced hobbyists with the proper systems to keep this fish. Look them up by their scientific names and study the picture so you learn to tell which is which>> Blue Tang (blue and some yellow on tail and large) 10" <<Likely Acanthurus coeruleus and unsuitable for this tank. Best to stick with the first two Tangs and leave it at that>> WRASSES SHOULD BE INTRODUCED TOGETHER BEFORE TANGS Clown Fairy Wrasse (blue and pink and yellow and medium) 5" <<Cirrhilabrus solorensis…a beautiful fish>> Orange Back Fairy Wrasse (orange and purple and red and medium) 5" << Cirrhilabrus aurantidorsalis…another beauty…as most all species from this genus are>> Mated Pair Black and White Ocellaris Clownfish (black and white and medium) 4" each <<Okay>> Coral Beauty Angelfish (blue and orange and medium) 4" <<Be sure to acquire a healthy specimen that has been at the dealer for a couple weeks as this species prone to damage from collection/handling>> Flame Angelfish (red and medium) 4" <<A superior aquarium species from this genus (Centropyge). These small Angels are feisty…especially toward each other. If you get them both I suggest you introduce them together if possible>> 2 Purple Firefish (purple and white and small) 2" each <<Although a social species, I find these fish don't cohabitate well in aquarium settings. Also, with the exception of conspecifics, these are very timid fish that are easily bullied to the point of starvation and/or stress induced ailment. Not a good choice considering the tankmates you have chosen…I suggest you pass on these fish>> 2 Yellow Stripe Clingfish (yellow and black and small) 2" each <<Another dubious choice in my opinion, and better left to a species tank and a time when you are more experienced in the hobby. We have little data on these fishes but what we have you can find here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clingfishfaqs.htm >> 2 Neon Gobies (blue and black and small) 2" each <<Okay>> 7 - 9 Blue Green Chromis (green and small) 2" each <<This is another social species that, in my experiences, generally dwindles in numbers due to continuous harassment from the one or two dominant individuals>> You guys are great!! I really appreciate your help, I want a good system but, I also wanted a colorful mix. <<Quite understandable…just keep within your knowledge/skill level and the constraints of your system>> This is difficult!! <<Just keep reading/learning>> I want some of the other fish that don't do good with coral and may start another tank for them but, I don't like how those tanks have no color because of no corals. Any ideas there? <<Hmm…beauty in the eye of the beholder... I find well designed and stocked "natural" looking FOWLR systems to be "very" attractive and interesting>> Again, thanks, Deb <<Happy to share. EricR>> 

Stocking a 90 Gallon Tank…Three Tangs Too Much? (Yes!) - 08/07/08 Hi Bob and Crew, <<Hello Melissa…Eric here>> I have a question about stocking a 90 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump/refugium. <<Okay>> I have 150 lbs. of live rock and the tank has been set up for 9 months. <<Ah, a "young" system then>> It will soon be a reef after I increase lighting. <<I see…then do keep this in mind re your stocking plan as ALL life will have an impact/be a burden to the system>> Recently I had an outbreak of Ich. They are currently in the treatment tank and unfortunately I'm revising my stocking list because I lost some of the fish. I'm wondering if I'm overstocking the tank, although the LFS owner who usually gives good advice says I'm not. <<Is often a subjective observation (with many variables)...but if trouble keeps arising re then logic/reason must dictate>> I'm starting to question this because twice in the past 9 months I've gotten Ich. <<While this may well be a stocking/overstocking issue, it may also be a problem with your husbandry (poor water quality, diet, etc.) or even the source of the livestock (poor collection/holding practices). All of which will cause stress and the associated depression of the fish's immune system>> Both times it happened when I was stocking close to the last fish. The first time I wasn't dipping or quarantining properly but learned my lesson and the second time around dipped and quarantined all new fish unless you stated here that it was best to just dip and place the particular fish. <<Very good>> This time when I was placing the last few fish my two tangs started to fight (they have never had any trouble for the past 7 months), one got sick and it started to spread. <<Mmm…this sudden fighting and subsequent illness may very well be put to a "too full" environment>> Since I have switched over to saltwater two years ago I have only lost one fish after initial quarantine, <<Commendable>> except these times when I have reached capacity and had an Ich outbreak. Other than this I've never had a disease, fish fighting, not eating, etc. <<Sounds as if perhaps you have been doing some good reading/researching beforehand>> Everyone has seemed happy and active and this has me wondering if this is more than a coincidence. <<Coincidence? No… It is a certainty that "something" you are doing or about your system is leading up to these outbreaks. The key is to use the clues available to discover and break the cycle of events that result in the complaint>> I'm sure it is somewhat stressful whenever a new fish is introduced <<Too all, most assuredly (remember being/receiving the new kid in school?)… Not to mention being plucked out of their environment and tossed around by "giants">> but they have seemed to adjust fine until I'm close to full. <<A clue then>> Also, I haven't had any trouble keeping my levels at 0 with nitrates around 10-15 <<Another clue…>> with my weekly water changes and nothing else seemed to have changed before the outbreaks like temperature variations, pH change etc. This is the current stocking list; all fish except the powder brown were placed at the time of illness: Powder Brown Tang (A. japonicus) Percula Clown Yellow Tang Kole Tang Green Clown Goby Yellow Clown Goby Yellow-headed Jawfish Firefish Scooter Blenny Diamond Goby Bicolor Blenny Sixline Wrasse 5 Chromis 3 Lyretail Anthias (1 male, 2 female) Am I overstocking and if so are there specific issues? <<It is my opinion you "are" overstocked. Aside from just the mass of the fish flesh packed in this tank, you have some species that really require larger quarters. This tank is "marginal" for any tang species in my opinion, and certainly too small to house three. Aside from health issues, these fish can suffer social/behavioral problems from "growing up" in a too small environment…as may be evidenced by the sudden fighting as the tank becomes more crowded>> I really like tangs but if 3 is too many I can cut down there. <<A "single" specimen is best here…and any one of these three smallish species you have chosen would be fine in my opinion>> Also, I would prefer to just have a pair of Anthias, but have been told 3 is best. <<This is the popular consensus… But you can always give it a try…observing behavior of the remaining pair for a time and reintroducing the second female if things get too rough>> Like I said, I have lost some fish at this point and want to take this opportunity to revise the stocking list so I can prevent this in the future. I would like a tank that is full and active but with happy, healthy fish that live long lives. <<A tank full of fishes is a common desire…but this "want" must be balanced with the particular environment. This involves not only choosing species that are compatible, but also choosing species that are "suitable" to the limitations of the environment. While it could be other factors as well, the fighting among the tangs is suggestive of crowding (which may even be exacerbated by too much rock in the display limiting "swimming" space). The moderately high Nitrate level, while deemed within acceptable limits for a FOWLR system (will need to be kept at <5ppm when you go "Reef"), is also suggestive of a crowded/overburdened system. While the latter might be dealt with by adding a DSB, ancillary chemical filtration, and/or increasing the size of the refugium…the former can only be addressed with a larger system, or a rethinking of your stocking plan>> Thanks, Melissa <<I hope this proves helpful. EricR>>

Re: Stocking a 90 Gallon Tank…Three Tangs Too Much? (Yes!) - 08/07/08 Hi Eric, <<Hey Melissa!>> Thanks for your help. <<A pleasure>> I have been wondering myself if 150 lbs of rock is too much. <<Mmm, yes…depends on the particulars of the rock…but does sound in excess to me. Perhaps you can remote some of this>> Since the tank is empty right now I took the chance to rearrange to allow more swimming room and better circulation but it still looks full! <<Ah well, can indeed be a difficult balance…to provide enough hiding places, adequate biological filtration, etc.>> I can move some of the rock into the refugium/sump area, how many pounds would you suggest keeping in the display? <<Hard to say, not knowing how dense/heavy this rock is. But try building a pair of "bommies" from the rock, surrounded on all sides by substrate, and see what you have. Build the bommies as high as you can yet not so high as to be unstable (often easier said…). Try to incorporate plenty of nooks and crannies for hiding. I think you will find this to be more interesting than the ubiquitous "rock wall" and the design typically allows more freedom of movement to the fishes…as well as enhanced water flow/circulation>> I will start working on cutting down the stocking list. <<For the best I feel. Most of the smaller fishes you listed will probably be fine, though I think you may eventually have an issue with the Sixline Wrasse and the Firefish as the former can be a real terror in confined spaces, and the latter is very easily harassed to the point of starvation>> I know there is no set in stone formula for how many fish/inches because of all of the variables but do you have some type of guideline for me to figure out when I've cut enough? <<Other than reading/researching/experience…I'm afraid not. But do feel free to bounce your ideas/selections off me if you wish. Before purchase of course [grin]>> For future reference (I just upgraded but already have visions of a bigger system) what size tank would you recommend for 2 or 3 tangs? <<Considering "standard" available sizes…at least 6-feet in length and 125g in volume for a pair…bigger for a trio. And even then, species selection is still key (i.e. - don't try to house a Naso and a Sailfin together in a 125g tank). This may sound extreme, but viewing these animals firsthand in their natural environment gives one a new perspective and sense of appreciation>> You said for my system a single tang would be best. <<This is my opinion, yes>> Is this because a 90 gallon is just too small for 2 tangs period or because of the large amount of other fish present? <<The former…the latter merely heightens the issue>> I'm just trying to clarify so I don't make these mistakes again in the future <<No worries my friend…understood>> and despite all of the research I've done here on stocking it seems like such a gray area. <<To a large degree this is so…it is up to you to gather the information (preferably from several sources) and then use your own good judgment to make a decision>> Thanks again, Melissa <<Always welcome. Eric Russell>>

R2: Stocking a 90 Gallon Tank…Three Tangs Too Much? (Yes!) - 08/07/08 I'll try your suggestions and send a new stocking list when I get one done. <<Excellent>> I'm on the same page with you about the sixline. He was the only fish I didn't research before purchase and was terrible to new fish (and sometimes existing)! <<Indeed… I have even seen this behavior demonstrated in tanks of hundreds of gallons in volume>> Unfortunately, I lost him with the Ich and he won't be replaced. <<Perhaps a suitably sized Halichoeres species (e.g. - H. chrysus or H. iridis)>> Thanks, Melissa <<Be chatting! EricR>>

R3: Stocking a 90 Gallon Tank…Three Tangs Too Much? (Yes!), gather, place FO f'  - 08/07/08 8/9/08 Hi again Eric, <<Hello Melissa>> I have revised the stocking list for my 90 gallon and wanted to get some feedback. <<Happy to do so>> If this is still too many I could substitute the 3 Lyretail Anthias for a Fairy Wrasse. <<Might be a good idea, considering the rather large size of these Anthiines>> Also, I was considering a Dragon Goby instead of the Diamond Goby and was wondering if they generally cause a problem in a reef tank by dropping sand on the coral. <<I think either one will cause you grief… The Dragon Goby won't "crop-dust" your corals like the Diamond Goby will, but as it matures/gets large (about 6" and very robust) it will vigorously excavate and at times create quite the "dust cloud" as well as disturb your DSB's function (if you have one). Either one can also dislodge/topple live rock if not carefully anchored/settled on the bottom of the tank. Both are interesting and do a great job of stirring/keeping the substrate looking good, but I've come to think these fishes are more trouble than they're worth>> I'm looking into a 180 gallon to accommodate more tangs! <<Yay!>> Percula Clown Yellow Tang Diamond Goby or Dragon Goby <<If you must…I would go with the slightly smaller Diamond Goby for your system>> Yellow-headed Jawfish <<Requires some special considerations (best kept in a species-specific system). Do have a read here and among the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm >> Bicolor Blenny Scooter Blenny 5-Blue Reef Chromis Fire Fish Yellow Clown Goby Green Clown Goby 3-Lyretail Anthias (2 female, 1 male) <<These are a superb aquarium species, but will do better in more space than your current 90g system>> Thanks, Melissa <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Sohal tang distraction Do I have room for a Sohal Tang? 7/30/08 Hello <<Guten Morgen.>> First let me say that I love what you all are doing with how the site works. <<Thanks.>> Second, let me describe my set up for you all, I have a 135 glass tank with 250 pounds of life rock in the tank and 150 pounds of live sand in the sand, a 55 gallon sump, I have a 10 gallon tank in there filled with live sand as well, which acts as my remote deep sand bed. Then a 20 or so gallon refugium with another 75 pounds of live rock, and a Deltec AOF 600. With a return pump back to the tank. For water movement I have 4 number Koralia 4's. Fish wise I have a pair of clowns one is a black saddle back the female and the male is a false Perc. (I know weird. 5 Chromis, a yellow tang, blue tang, clown tang, powder blue tang, a 6-line wrasse. I am planning on adding a green mandarin eventually, <<I would refrain from doing so.>> a Moorish idol, and a desjardini sailfin tang. (I know a ridiculous amount of fish especially tangs.) But if I added a Sohal tang (small like 3 or 4 inches) last would the overwhelming number of tangs and fish prevent it from picking on a single fish by its self? <<You, your quote, have a "ridiculous amount of fish." Not only do you have animals that should not be housed with each other but you are doing so in an environment that is way too small. I think you have answered your own question as to if you should add any more animals to this set-up. On the contrary you should be looking for homes for several of them.>> Thanks in advance! <<Good luck; Adam J.>>

Fish selection for a 350 gallon reef tank, tangs mostly  6/13/08 So I have began to start fish selection for a 350 gallon reef tank that I will be pursuing in a couple of years. I'm planning now so I can put aside money and get it right. My biggest obstacle I believe is fish selection. I love tangs and with such a big tank I have a lot to choose from, but will they be compatible. After reading about each fish I have a couple questions. I want to get an achilles, sohal, purple, and hippo. I have read that achilles and sohal should not be kept with each other because of territory issues. What are your suggestions and/or experience with these 2 fish. <Place the Sohal last... period> I understand the difficulty of the achilles and plan on having this fish first. Other tangs I am interested in are, powder blue (could be quarrelsome with achilles), clown tang (another difficult fish), unicorn, and perhaps a Naso. I'd like to keep 4, maybe 5 tangs. Other fish I have in planning are, flame angel, six line wrasse, pair of clowns, yellow blotch Rabbitfish (not sure, cool fish, maybe not in the cards), along with some type of school, like Chromis, or Anthias. How do you feel this community will do together? <Should be fine in a volume this large> My main concerns are the achilles and sohal, these are the 2 must have fish that I really want. <Can be done. Just as I state, the Sohal should be considered the tank's alpha fish> Any other suggestions of other fish would be generous. <... too numerous to list> If size is an issue of the tank, I am willing to go even as high as 400 gallons. I'm thinking about a tank like 6 feet long, 3 feet deep, 30 in. high. which would roughly be a little under 350, if I extend another foot, it would be at roughly 400. With the fish in mind, what would be the most successful size? Thanks a lot <The bigger the better... I'd trade a bit longer or wider for the height being reduced a bit. Bob Fenner>  

To Tang Or Not To Tang?! - 06/09/08 Afternoon all :D <<Greetings Carolyn!>> Have searched through the site but can't quite find what I'm after, so here I am, pestering again (sorry!).... <<Not a bother…happy to help>> I'm planning my upgrade and all being well, am going for a 450l tank plus 70l sump (this is assuming my floor will support the weight). <<Ah! Excellent…>> Currently I'm the proud owner of a pair of black and white ocellaris clowns and a very podgy mandarin in a 70l nano. <<Hmm, a bit small indeed>> Before I so much as buy the tank, I'd like to get an idea if my current stocking wish list is ok? <<Alrighty>> Would like to add (in order...) Small shoal of Anthias (probably Lyretail) or Chromis <<Mmm, Pseudanthias squamipinnis is one of the larger species (up to about 5-inches), I don't know that a "school" would be best here. Perhaps a smaller species? Maybe Pseudanthias bartlettorum…?>> 4x Banggai cardinals (with a view to form pairs) <<Can be "feisty" with one another>> 2x orange/white ocellaris clowns <<Might work…but is a risk considering the two "black and whites" you have already>> 1 Randall's shrimp goby/ pair of blue cheek gobies <<Considering the rest of your stocking plan…probably best to stick to a single specimen>> 1x Copperband butterfly fish (once tank has good algae growth) <<I'm guessing the algae are to help foster "pod" production to feed the Butterfly? Even so, you will need to get this fish eating "prepared" foods (e.g. - frozen Mysis, glass worms)>> 1x coral beauty 1x venustus angelfish <<Again…introducing two species from the same genus (Centropyge in this instance) "may" work…but would be a better risk in a larger tank>> 1x yellow tang/purple tang (either or, would like both, but think they may turn each other into sushi?! ) <<Is pushing it I think…better one or the other. And I would add the Butterfly first, to avoid trouble there (similar body shape)>> I'd love a regal, but information is conflicting - am I right in thinking that a 100 gallon tank really isn't enough for this fish in the long term? <<That is "my" opinion, yes. This species especially, seems to suffer from developmental retardation from just "growing up" in a "too small" system…in my opinion>> I'd love another tang but don't' want to overstock and I suspect I'm sailing close to the limit as it is! <<Indeed>> Any advice would be gratefully received - <<I hope my comments prove useful>> I'd be interested to know how many fish you've saved from folk like me who seem to always want just one more fish :) Carolyn <<I can only guess at the effect of this site on the hobby, much of which, I think, can't be easily measured by the queries received. But as a collective effort, it is likely thousands…maybe even tens of… Regards, EricR>>

Re: To Tang Or Not To Tang?! - 06/10/08 Thanks Eric, <<Quite welcome, Carolyn>> Once again, a savior to my future fish! <<Hee-hee! Am happy to help>> Now to make sure the floor will support the weight... <<We do have some FAQs re…have a look here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstdfloors.htm) and among the associated links…and give me/us a shout if we can help. EricR>>

To Tang or Not, Further Assistance on Stocking Order Needed - 07/29/08 Dear Eric and all the other fab people on WWM! <<Hello again Carolyn!>> Thought you may appreciate an update <<Yes, thank you>> - house move now finished and one 6ft long, 2ft high 1.5ft deep tank is now on order, due to arrive in the next couple of weeks :) <<Neat!>> Following on from the help you gave me previously, I'm planning on adding a regal tang to the list but need some clarification on stocking order. <<Okay>> My original plan was to transfer my current stock (1 mandarin, 2 ocellaris clowns plus CUC) over to the new tank once it's cycled and ready, and use my current 70l tank as a QT. As the clowns are territorial, is this likely to be a problem for future additions? <<Is but a small concern in this new tank I think>> In which case, would I be better getting a new QT, and adding the clowns AFTER some of the other fish? <<This is an option, but not likely a necessity…up to you. But if you do this, perhaps you can then add the 70l tank to the system as a dedicated refugium>> The stocking list I'd like to go with is: 4-5 small Anthias (either Bartlett's or Sunset, 1 male plus females) 2 Banggai cardinals 3-5 Viridis Chromis 1 Coral beauty 1 Copperband butterfly fish 1 Yellow tang 1 Regal tang 2 Bluestripe sand sifter gobies 1 Randall's shrimp goby Plus the 2 clowns and 1 mandarin I already have... <<With this order in mind…I would place the dwarf angel and the tangs last…and move the mandarin to the top of the list well before the gobies>> The tank is 72x24x18 (LxHxD), with a 48x18x12 sump housing a sock to remove debris and a heavy duty protein skimmer and a DSB with Chaetomorpha macroalgae to act as a refugium for pods etc. <<Excellent…the refugia is much needed here>> Once again, many many thanks for all your support and advice, I've never seen my 70l reef look so good as it does currently after implementing the various suggestions I've had from here! <<We are very pleased to know this and to have been a part thereof>> Thanks Eric, once again, a savior to my future fish! <<Kind and redeeming words…you are quite welcome my friend>> Now to make sure the floor will support the weight... Carolyn <<Hee-hee, indeed! Eric Russell>>

Moonlighting/Tang Selection - 05/05/08 Hi, <<Hello>> Guys, what do you think about moonlight? <<As in how it relates to aquaria I presume…it can be a nice effect, but is hardly a necessity…in my opinion>> Is it a necessary to have it or it is just a marketing deal? <<Some folks claim it induces "spawning" in fish and corals… I do think it can be useful re not plunging the tank in to total darkness when the lights go out, thus affording the fishes a chance to find their nocturnal accommodations. But I don't think it is a "necessary" option>> I am thinking about my last fish in tank, what do you suggest amongst tangs that I like (sohal, japonicus, leucosternon ....)? <<In my opinion, Acanthurus japonicus is the hardiest and most suitable of the three for your tank…with A. leucosternon being a better choice over the Sohal>> I have regal tang, yellow tang, 2 x percula, 2 x convict blenny, 1x Stenopus and 1 x goby in tank 130x50x50 cm. <<Adding another Tang is pushing it, I think (It would be better to "replace" the Regal Tang)…and will certainly mean no more fish additions here>> Thx in advance, BR/Petar <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Tank stocking Time for a Tang? (Stocking Questions) - 03/08/08 Greetings, <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 125 gallon SW tank that is 6 feet long with a deep sand bed and about 120lbs of live rock. The only fish are a 2.5" Yellow Watchman Goby, a 4.5" Finespotted Fairy Wrasse, and a 2.5" Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse. The tank kind of looks deserted, but at the same time, I don't want to overcrowd the fish. <Nice attitude! Too many aquarists seem to adopt an attitude that they can go crazy with stocking their large tanks with tons of fishes, and lots of them actually follow through with this!> A small handful of snails and hermits make up the rest of the livestock. I was thinking of adding an Ornate Wrasse (H. ornatissimus), Whipfin Fairy Wrasse (C. filamentosus), Long Fin Fairy Wrasse (C. rubriventralis), and a Hepatus Tang. Is there enough space for these fish to live comfortably at adult size, or should I forget about the Tang? Would these fish get along? No other fish will be added afterwards. -Victor <well, Victor, I like your stocking plan. I'm a bit hesitant about the Tang, however. Although I believe a 6 foot aquarium is really the minimum that I would use for a Tang, I'd think about it seriously. The P. hepatus gets quite large (like a foot long), and really needs a pretty large aquarium (like 8 feet long) for long-term success, in my opinion. I'd pass on this fish in favor of a smaller Tang, such as a Zebrasoma species (like Z. flavescens), or perhaps a Ctenochaetus species. Otherwise, I think you could go with one more smaller wrasse species and the aquarium would be fully stocked, IMO.>

Tangs,  Crypt-hlth./sel.  01/02/2008 Hi, <<Hello, Andrew here>> I upgraded from a 65g to a 160g tank a little over 2 months ago. As soon as I transferred my fish to the new tank, they all got Ich pretty badly and a few died. I did not have many fish to start with but now I am down to a couple gobies and a seahorse (which lives in my macro fuge under the main tank). <<Is it happy in the fuge?? Maybe setup a new system to give the horse a better home??>> I took all the fish out and placed them into a hospital tank. This, of course, required me to take the entire tank apart. Not a fun job. <<He he he, it's never fun, that part>> Anyway, they have been in the hospital tank for a week now. I am treating with hyposalinity. The tank will be left fallow for 6 weeks. <<Sounds like a good plan>> My question is regarding tangs. I always wanted to add a regal, yellow and Kole tang but now that I've had an Ich breakout, I'm really scared to attempt keeping these fish, especially the regal, due to their susceptibility to get Ich. What do you think. With proper maintenance and proper quarantining, should I still be scared to try these fish? <<The majority of tangs are susceptible to Ich. As long as you carry out proper techniques for acclimatizing, quarantine etc you should not be scared, no>> I would like to add 2-3 cleaner shrimps and a couple neon gobies to help control parasites should I get another break out even with the precautions I am taking. I also have a UV sterilizer. It's just a 25 watt though. On a 160g tank, with a 30 gallon sump and 25 gallon refugium, that might not do much, right? <<No problems with the shrimp or Goby's. The UV is not really going to be very effective on a tank that large>> Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much! Steve Nantel <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Re: Tangs...  2/1/08 Thanks for the response Andrew. You told me what I was hoping to be told. <<No problem Steve...All the best in keeping the tangs>> The tank that my seahorse lives in, I believe, is a great home for him. Its a 25g hex tank that I plumbed to my main system. It's got lights on it that are on a timer, along with a lot of macro algae and some liverock too. I have that tank under my main tank, completely to the right. I do not have a door on that side of my stand so that we can view the seahorse. It looks very neat. Thanks again! Steve <<Happy fish keeping. A Nixon>>

Powder Blue tang... mis-placed tangs  1/12/2008 Hi, I have a powder blue tang that I recently purchased about three weeks ago. I made sure he was acclimated but I don't have a QT, which I am getting soon, <Yikes...> he was fine until now that he began to show vertical white markings on the sides of his body and a big bump in the center of his stomach!!! <Mmm, a pic would be helpful here. Do know that Tangs do have "bumpy stomachs"... do accumulate triturating material ("sand") that aids in maceration/digestion...> Now I made a huge mistake when I bought these fish since I am still a rooky in salt water aquariums, but now I am wondering what can I do to help him? I read all day during work, and let me tell you what a wonderful job you guys do. My 55 gal <Too small for this species...> fish tank includes two clown fish, a yellow tang and the blue powder tang. <... ditto> Also I have about 80 lbs of life rock, a Bak Pak protein skimmer/filter. Please help. <You need to "go back a few steps"... re/assess your situation, make a plan... I'd return or give away at least both the "powder" tangs here. Read re their Systems, Health on WWM... and re the use of Spectrum Thera... but there is no way the present mix you have will work. Bob Fenner>

Blue Tang vs. Tang Tangling With Tangs (Possible New Tang Addition)  12/4/07 I have a very small Blue Tang that I've had for 6 weeks in a 28 gallon tank for quarantine and observation. <Excellent practice!> It will be moving to my new 125 Gallon (6' long) tank when the tank is ready. What other Tang, if any can co-exist with a Blue Tang, that would be simultaneously added to the 125 gallon. Thank you Frank <Well, Frank, I'd probably only add another Tang of a different genus, such as a Zebrasoma species or a smaller Ctenochaetus species. That's about it, as far as another Tang goes. Anything else would really be pushing it, IMO. As it is, the Blue Tang will probably need larger quarters at some point. Don't forget to quarantine the new Tang as well if you get another one. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tang Compatibility...Wanting To Add One More! - 07/23/07 Hello and thanks for all the useful information! <<Hiya Michele!...glad you find it "useful">> I love reading the dailies. <<Me too! [grin]>> I had a quick question on compatibility. We have a 220-gallon (6' x 2 1/2' x 2') mixed reef (predominately SPS with a few LPS and zoos), 200-pound live rock, 1-2 inch sand bed, 75-gallon sump and 50-gallon fuge. <<Excellent>> The fish include a Naso tang (7''), yellow tang (4''), two-barred Rabbitfish (4''), and a pair of Clarkii clowns (1-2"). <<Very nice...I have a somewhat larger system though very similar (minus the Zoanthids) and among others I too have a Naso Tang (Blonde color morph), a Yellow Tang, and a "pair" of two-barred (Siganus doliatus) Rabbitfish>> All fish have lived peacefully together for over a year except the Rabbitfish which was added about six months ago. <<I see>> The two tangs and the Rabbitfish show no aggression toward each other and even appear to shoal together. <<Ah yes, not so much "shoaling" as just making sure one doesn't get something the others don't [grin]. As for the aggression...providing a couple hundred gallons volume is very helpful...and the Naso and Zebrasoma species are also somewhat on the lower end of the Tang "aggression meter" in my opinion>> Even at feeding times and when Nori sheets are present, there is no aggression. <<Agreed...though they do become "excited">> So onto the question....we would like to add one more fish, but do not want to lose our peaceful reef or push the stocking limits. <<Understood...and wise>> Would we be pushing it with another tang from a different genus? <<Depends>> My husband would love a Sohal tang, but I am worried about the aggression factor as it ages. <<Definitely an "alpha" personality among Tangs>> Plus, even though it's a different genus, it looks a lot like the Naso tang to me. Do you even think we have room (psychologically and bioload) for another tang and if so, which one would you recommend? <<Ahh...I'm glad you recognize the "psychological" issues here...so important to Tang health/longevity in my opinion. A smaller more peaceable (as Tangs go) species is doable I think... Acanthurus japonicus (NOT to be confused with A. nigricans) or maybe a Ctenochaetus species like C. tominiensis or C. strigosus>> Then, with the infamous "just one more fish," would we have room for a Scott's Fairy Wrasse down the line (with QT on all new arrivals)? <<If you can acquire a healthy/feeding specimen...though they are prone to jumping>> We had also considered a shrimp goby and pistol shrimp combo, but did not think the 1 inch sand bed would suffice. <<Not the best>> Thanks! <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Tang Compatibility...Wanting To Add One More! - 07/24/07
EricR, <<Hello Michele>> Thanks for the reply! <<Quite welcome>> We suspected the Sohal would not be appropriate. <<Indeed so...in my opinion>> My vote had been for a Blue Tang (Acanthurus coeruleus) or a Regal Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), but we will look at the Acanthurus japonicus that you suggested. <<Hmm...though a bit larger than A. japonicus, you could probably get away with adding A. coeruleus>> It's funny....my husband actually almost came home with one last week, but we were concerned we could not differentiate the white faced from the powder brown and we didn't trust the LFS. <<I see... Do take a look at this article for comparison, both fishes are featured and the differences in appearance is readily apparent: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm >> Just to take all temptation away and stop a crazy purchase, you better spell it out to me that the Atlantic Blue and the Regal are also not appropriate! =) <<I would avoid A. hepatus... This is a big, beefy, and high strung fish requiring LOTS of space for long-term health. My first choice for your system would be the A. japonicus, but as stated, I do think you can get away with the A. coeruleus...though this last will likely mean "no more fishes" for this system>> Thanks as always for the help! Michele <<A pleasure to assist. Eric Russell>>

Tangs and Anthias in a display at my fish store   6/13/07 Hello! I have been reading your FAQS/articles for a number of years now and have finally encountered a question that I could not find an answer for on the site. <There are, assuredly... lifetimes of these!> I am in the final stages of opening a fish store and I have 3 large acrylic tanks (they are 8 ft. x 4 ft. x 18 in., holding roughly 300-350 gallons of water apiece, not including the sumps). These tanks will be for selling corals out of <Mmm, please pardon (my usual) kibitzing... but why so deep? Cheaper, easier to work in, illuminate specimens in shallower water...> and I would like to keep in each of these tanks, a handful of 'show' fish which won't be for sale. <A good idea... to add interest, keep some pests (algae, snails, worms...) reduced... Nice place for store "mascots"> In one of these I would like to keep Surgeons. My question is: what would be your suggestions as to how many would be a good number and what specific types of tangs do you think will do well together? <Mmm, better for each tank/system to have just one species/genus really... Likely a Zebrasoma, Ctenochaetus... perhaps a smaller Acanthurus...> I have successfully kept (and still keep in my tanks at home) a yellow and hippo/regal tang in a 125g for close to 5 years now, but I would like to have something different and maybe not quite so 'common' for display at the store. <I understand... there are several choices...> I hope this is not getting to be too much but I would also like to keep a school of Squarespot Anthias in the second of these three tanks, and was wondering what your suggestions would be as to how big of a school I should have; and what male:female ratio you would suggest. (The Anthias would be the only fish in this tank) <Mmm, one alpha male... perhaps a couple of already not-quite so alpha males along with... and an odd number of sexually indeterminate juveniles/females... a total of under twenty> (I know you're probably waiting for my questions about the third tank now, but I really don't have a clue as to what I want to keep in that one yet....so if you have any suggestions....) ;) <Oh... this will come to you in time...> Please feel free to edit my letter in any way you see fit, especially my 'subject' line as I couldn't really think of a completely appropriate way to word it. Thank you in advance for your time and your advice, it is very much appreciated. Nicole P.S. I would like to thank you all for your FAQS/articles on the aquatics business as they have helped us tremendously in getting our business set up. <Congratulations on your new enterprise! Please do send along your URL for our posting, promotion when you have this up and going. Bob Fenner>

Which Tang For My Aggressive Tank? - 06/12/07 Hello crew and thanks for taking the time to provide great marine aquarium expertise. <<Thanks for the compliment...and you are welcome>> Here is my situation. I currently have a 125g FOWLR tank. I have the following fish: Niger Trigger, <<Mmm, a slow growing but very large fish. Though not likely to reach full size in captivity, this fish is known to grow to 18" in the wild and would be better placed in a system with twice the capacity of yours>> Assasi Trigger, Flame Angel and a Harlequin Tuskfish. I have had the fish for about two years and want to make a change to control some of the algae and relocate my overly aggressive Tuskfish to a new home. <<I see>> So the remaining fish will be the Niger, Assasi and Flame. The fish sizes are as follows: Niger (4.5"), Assasi (4") and Flame (3"). The question is which tang would be the best choice given my tank size (125g), the aggressive tank-mates and the need to be a heavy grazer? <<With a few exceptions regarding tankmates and appropriate sizing; and of course proper diet, space to roam, system husbandry, etc., most any Tang species will fare well with other aggressive fishes. Tangs are not "peaceful" fishes and can wreak havoc of their own accord...a fact many uninformed/misinformed hobbyists become all too aware of when trying to crowd these active, even high-strung fishes in to too small an environment. As for a "heavy grazer," my best experiences re is with the Sailfin Tang...but again we have the issue of too small a system for this fish (it too can reach 18" in the wild)...and it is my opinion that Tangs are especially prone to developmental disorders from being "raised up" in too small an environment. For your system the smaller Yellow (Zebrasoma flavescens) or Scopas (Zebrasoma scopas) Tangs would be a better choice in my opinion, or even a White Cheek/Gold Rim Tang (Acanthurus nigricans). I think you could even add one of the Zebrasoma species "and" the Acanthurus and be fine...if you decide to trade-in/move the Niger Trigger. Another "grazer" option I would like to throw at you is one of the species of Rabbitfishes. Though usually quite peaceful, these fishes are generally left alone by other fishes, largely due to their poisonous spines (and we aquarist must also be aware/cautious of this). The smaller "Foxface" species make great aquarium specimens and often (though there are never any guaranties) will "out-graze" many Tangs. Whatever you decide upon; Tang or Rabbitfish, I recommend specimens of 3"-4" in size to be placed with your other aggressive fishes>> Thanks again. <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Which Tang For My Aggressive Tank? - 06/17/07
Hello again crew. <<Hello Vincent...EricR here again>> Thank you for all the excellent advice. <<It is our pleasure to serve>> EricR helped me with some recommendations that are attached below for reference regarding Tang selection. <<I hope you found them of use>> I have decided to follow his recommendation regarding the Niger. <<All for the better in the long term my friend>> As a recap I have a 125g FOWLR that will have a Flame Angel and an Assasi Trigger. <<Yes...I recall this>> EricR recommended a Yellow Tang and a White Cheek. I would rather like to add a Kole Tang and the White Cheek and wanted to find out if the Ctenochaetus and the Acanthurus would create an incompatibility problem. <<Not in my experience, given a large enough environment...with your current stocking level (sans Niger trigger) this combination should be fine. And if Bristletooths interest you, another option to the Kole Tang might be Ctenochaetus tominiensis, the Flame Fin or Tomini Tang. Though be aware they are a bit more difficult to keep and less readily available, but still a fine aquarium specimen in my opinion when acquired healthy and kept well fed>> Also, is there value in considering 3-4 Green Chromis to distract the Tangs and cut down on potential aggression? <<The Chromis will do little if anything to distract the Tangs, but if the latter are added together I doubt you will have much trouble anyway. The Chromis could potentially wind up as a treat for the trigger, but if there are sufficient escape routes, the Chromis will add some diversity/interest to the tank>> Thanks again for your continued advice. <<A pleasure to share. Eric Russell>>

Tang compatibility and introduction order  3/28/07 Hello WWM crew! <Marc> First off, let me congratulate you on your web site, there so much info found on it (though it sometimes takes a long time finding it, since it is so huge, but, hey, no big deal). I currently have a 125 gallons reef tank (Perfecto, 72x18x22) with a 60 gallons sump (with something like 50 gallons of water in it). My return pump is a Velocity T4 (1500 GPH) which also feeds the refugium section of my sump (in which I just added light with a small ball of Chaetomorpha). I have 2 Seio 1500 et 1 820 (for approximately 30X) for water motion. The filtration of this tank is accomplished by approximately 140 pounds of LR (mix of Fiji, Sulawesi and Brazilian) and a Beckett Protein skimmer (46" tall, diameter of 8") with an Iwaki MD100RLT pump in recirculation and fed by a Mag7. It is lit by 2 250W MH bulbs and 2 6' VHO (165W each). Now for the livestock. I only have a couple of corals for now (the tank has only been up and running since November 2006), but I plan to add more as it matures. I have : - Iridis wrasse (Halichoeres iridis) - Yellow tail damsel - Green clown goby (Gobiodon atrangulatus - Lawnmower blenny (Salarias fasciatus) - Banggai cardinal (Pterapogon kaudneri - 3 peppermint shrimps (Lysmata wurdemanni, which made a terrific job on Aiptasia :) - 2 cleaner shrimps (Lysmata amboinensis) - Several hermit crabs and snails The 2 cleaner shrimps and the iridis wrasse were added 4 days ago. The cleaners are doing great and have taken cleaning station on a rock (haven't seen them clean a fish yet though). The wrasse is also doing good, besides the fact that it had me worried the second and third day. It buried itself in the sand for the night (which I've heard/read is normal for these fishes), but didn't come out until 9 pm (my lights are on from noon to midnight)! Today, I don't know at what time it came out, but when I came home at 5 pm, it was already swimming nicely. It easily accepted frozen food, but was reticent with flakes for the first 2 days. <Don't really eat much dried/prepared food> So, my question was (sorry for the long intro!) : I wish to add tangs to my setup (not right now, maybe in a couple of months) and would like your advice on the species I've selected. I'd like to add : - Achilles tang (Acanthurus achilles) <Yikes... not easily kept in captivity, and very prone to protozoan complaints> - Blue hippo tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) - Desjardini sailfin tang (Zebrasoma desjardini <A gorgeous species... but does get very large...> My concern is mainly about the achilles (and a little about the hippo). I've read/heard it wasn't a very hardy fish. What advice could you give me on that fish? <Mmm, just that... I would hold off for now on an Achilles... really do much better in very mature, large systems... the other two would be okay here> To reduce aggression between the tangs I plan to add all three of them simultaneously. Do you think this is a bad idea? <Mmm... well, I would likely place the Paracanthurus first... wait a few weeks, then the Zebrasoma... not so much that they will fight to the point of real damage, but the increase in bio-load, the change in dynamic with the other livestock... less stressful to stagger here... and leave out the Achilles> Also, some people told me the hippo tang needs a larger tank once at full size. What is your opinion on that? <Likely will be fine here for a very long time> Here are the other fishes I would like to add (in the order I would add them) - Pair of percula clownfish (Amphiprion percula) - One or two purple Firefish (Nemateleotris decora) <Two would be far better than one> - Green mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus) - Bellus angelfish (Genicanthus bellus) - A butterfly, probably a Longnose (Forcipiger flavissimus or the longirostris) - Tangs! I would also like to introduce schooling fishes. I had some Chromis before (Chromis viridis). They are nice fish, but I'd like something more colorful. I thought about Anthias, but some can be hard and require frequent feeding to ensure success. <Mmm, do look around... seek out a grouping that are not "too" thin... there are some quite hardy species for a setting like yours> Which would you recommend and how many would you put in my setup? <Please see WWM re the Anthiines... likely two species... Perhaps squamipinnis and Bartlett's... but there are several other choices> I also recently discovered the chalk bass (Serranus tortugarum) which gets along well in groups. Do you have any advice on this fish? <Mmm... well... I'd rather see this kept with other tropical West Atlantic species, settings> Finally, I'd like to know your opinion on my fish list and introduction order. Anything that wouldn't get along? Thank you very much, Marc. <Looks fine to me. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tang compatibility and introduction order
 3/28/07 Thank you very much for your reply. Regarding the Achilles, if I do introduce one in my system, it shouldn't be before quite some time. <Correct> I'll wait until my system has matured and it shall be my last addition. <Very good... I do wish you were out here with me, diving in Hawai'i, seeing this fish, going out with collector friends... feeling how soft-bodied this Acanthurus is... how easily damaged... Perhaps only time, personal experience will bring to your awareness the fragility of this species> And on the Anthias, these were the two species I retained. I might go with the Bartlett's. <Ahh, a good choice... do look for some "freshly arrived" grouping... 3,5,7 individuals...> Again, thank you very much and keep up the good work, Regards, Marc. <Welcome my friend. Am trying. BobF>

Mixing Surgeons and Butterflies   3/15/07 Hi Guys (and/or Girls)! <Hi Deb.> I love your site and you guys provide a real service to aquarium enthusiasts and hobbyists! <Thank you.> I am so thankful that I stumbled across your site and I use it to research information all of the time. <Great, thanks again.> I have read a lot about Tangs not getting a long with other Tangs, but I have a slightly different question. <Okay.> I have a Copperband Butterfly in my 80 gallon reef tank along with a Coral Beauty.  The Copperband doesn't much care for flake or frozen food, but it will eat mussels/clams and it will also eat Mr. Fenner's seafood recipe (from his book), but for some reason she prefers to be hand-fed and doesn't like to eat food already floating in the water. <Well I for one am pleased to here it's eating period. As I'm sure you are well aware most have a dismal survival rate, captivity wise.> Perhaps I have created a monster!  LOL! Anyway, I would like to add a Tang to my tank, if possible. <If the butterfly and angel are the only specimens I don't see any space issues short-term, the long-term is a slightly different issue, 80 gallons is pushing it for an adult Copperband and some surgeons/tangs get significantly larger. Psychological crowding is another issue...I would avoid conspecifics (tangs that look alike/similar shaped) such as those in the Zebrasoma genus.  Ctenochaetus tangs may be a possibility (the Kole tang) though due the key with these is securing a healthy specimen.  Many are damaged in the mouth area during shipping.  Again compatibility wise other tangs could work, such as a few in the Naso genus and Acanthurus genus but there are space issue to address...some of these (Acanthurus Sohal & Naso lituratus) will reach over a foot...well over a foot in some cases.> I am concerned about one getting along with my Copperband and the fact that they get ick (I have a 10 gallon quarantine tank).  Can you suggest a docile Tang?  I really like the Atlantic Blue Tang (coloring) and even the Yellow-Eyed Kole Tang. <See above regarding the tang, as for Ich/crypt, yes tangs are more prone to this, quarantine 6-8 weeks.> Thanks for you help! <Of course.> Debbie Terry <Adam J.>

Marine Aquarium Additions...size issues   2/14/07 Can a regal tang, yellow tang, bi-color angel, and a couple of damsels all live in a 55 gallon setup? <No, too small...furthermore the bi-color is not really a great choice, not a great track record in captivity.>   I have Plenty of live rock, a few live plants and plenty of hiding spots for the guys I already have.   <It's not a care issue (except for the one mentioned above) it's a space, size, issue.> I would like to add the regal tang.   If not is there a nice looking specimen that you could recommend, my wife is getting tired of seeing another yellow fish added to the setup.   <If you're going for "blue" I would suggest a hamlet or Chromis...as for the angel, there are many suitable Centropyge angels that could make just as nice an addition (not the bi-color) as the surgeon in my opinion.>   thanks in advance for your help <No prob, Adam J.>

Stocking My 150 Reef - 09/07/06 Good Afternoon..... <<Good evening>> I have 150 gallon reef tank , 4' x 2', and a 35 gallon sump. <<Neat!>> I now have a royal Gramma , zebra goby , and a coral beauty in it, and want to add 3 yellow tangs and a Pacific sailfin, all at the same time. <<Mmm, I don't recommend this.  This tank is too small for three yellow tangs...in my opinion>> Two dealers have told me that this will work. <<I don't doubt>> Your thoughts on this, and what other kinds of fish could I add at a later date... i.e.  flame angel , jeweled damsel, hippo tang? <<My recommendation...skip the Hippo (gets very large) and two of the yellow tangs...the flame angel, damsel, and hippo tang will likely be fine>> Also, should I have a cleaner fish in this mix as well, like the neon gobies? <<A worthwhile addition>> And, lastly do you like the dragon wrasse, and any type of blennies? <<Not for reef tanks>> Thank you so much for your time..... Ted Stasso <<Quite welcome, Eric Russell>>

<Not so> Weird Death of Achilles Tang   7/26/06 Hey Crew, <Jeremy> About a week ago, I decided to purchase an Achilles Tang (3.5"-4").  I researched the species for about 3-5 months reading whatever I could find on it.  Well, my LFS owner and I worked on a shipment of them for about two weeks in the store's medic tanks because they had an ick infection. <Common> Mine had what looked to be a secondary infection of fungus around the mouth area when it was in my tank.   <Not fungal... bacterial> I didn't QT him for my system as I had him QT'd in the LFS <Not usually a good practice to rely on anyone else...> and I thought the ick was over. Like I said, I checked in on him at the LFS, so I saw first hand that he was being taken care of and was well. I thought so anyway. <Very easy for "cross-contamination" to occur in commercial settings... nets, other gear, water, livestock getting mixed...> The tank was small for the species (55g), but a much bigger tank is scheduled to be setup in the house around the end of September (130g). The tank had a good amount of current and had a heavy amount of dissolved Oxygen in the water.  I have had a blue tang (hippo) for a little over a year so I would think I would know how to take care of a tang...  Especially since I nursed the blue one back after feeling sorry for the pathetic look it had in a bad LFS.  I did read how hard the Achilles could be and I knew I was up for a challenge to say the least. The water parameters were spg:1.025, ph:8.4, temp:78F, Amm:0, Nitrite:0 and Nitrate:10.   I set my medic tank up (29g) using water mostly from my main tank (about 75%) and some newly made water that set for about 36 hours.  The Achilles tang was doing ok and I was just starting to get him to eat prepared foods that the other fishes ate.  Meanwhile, he was making quick work of my Live Rock.  Not that I cared, I was happy to see him eat anything.  He was full bodied, almost all black with vibrant, bright orange markings, swam around normally, even sociable to me and others. Not near the schizo that the blue one is. I would imagine everything sounds ok up to this point doesn't it?  Despite the tank size...   The only thing wrong that I saw was the little bit of mouth fungus.  I went back to the LFS and he said Maracyn was probably the best idea.  I read that on the FAQ's too.  I noticed the remaining Achilles Tang's looked ok (in the mouth area) and that I wasn't overreacting.  I figured I would have a tough time getting him to eat if his mouth was hurting him so I wanted to get his mouth healed ASAP. I waited until it was dark (less stress) to move the fish into the QT. I gave him a FW dip and then into the QT.  At first he swam around a little, and then he was laying on his side breathing heavily.  My blue tang does this when stressed (mostly during water changes) and I decided best to just leave it alone and let it recover.  I got up early the next morning to check on him and he was dead as a doornail.   Any thoughts?  Could a fish go from doing "ok" to dead in a matter of hours with little change in the biological environment? <Can/does happen... "just stress"...> Was it doomed from the beginning?  An anomaly? I don't know what to think. Thanks again, Jeremy <A percentage risk... Your reactions, plans were not "off"... I would likely have done what you state. Bob Fenner>

Fish and star question, Marine Snow food opinion   7/22/06 Hello,          Great site!!!!! I have a 100g reef tank with mushrooms, a torch coral, a frogspawn coral, two devils hands and tons of clean-up crew. I have a purple and yellow tang, one powder blue Chromis and a clown goby. I want to add another fish that is cool looking and beautiful. I don't know what to add. Any angel fish? <A few possibilities... likely a Centropyge... or Genicanthus species> any other cool tangs. <Mmm, not likely a good idea> I would love an achilles tang or sohal tang. <Not good choices here... see WWM re temperament, hardiness, size...> Also, what is a cool starfish that would be reef safe? <These genera, species are listed on WWM> What do you think of "marine snow" by two little fishes? <It's "The Emperor's New Fish Food" (like the story of the emperor's new clothes)... A scam... non-nutritious, a waste of time. Don't know why Danny and Jules of Two Li'l Fishies are involved in this gimmick> I would love your opinion. You guys have been a great help in the past.      Thanks,      Jeromy <Glad to proffer them.

Temporary Tang home   7/22/06 Hello! <Hi there> Long time reader, first time writer.  I had a lunch question for you (as I'm at lunch). <Wish I was... instead am "out to lunch" as usual...> I currently have a 4 year old 58 gallon tank with a ~4" Foxface (Lo vulpinus), a bi-color blenny (Ecsenius bicolor?), <Likely so> a number of various corals (some SPS colonies, a few LPS colonies, Zoanthids), and 2 clams.  I don't know if it changes the matter, but the tank is substrate-free (or bare-bottom, if you prefer). <We'll see... can be done w/o> I have strong flow (combination of power-heads and return pump in excess of 4k gal/hour), <Wowzah! Brisk!> about 70 pounds of live rock, 30 gallon sump, auto top-off, perform a 10 gallon water change a week (had problems about a year ago with algae, and I just can't seem to kick the habit!), and keep a clean water column {0 detectible phosphate, 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, ~.5ppm nitrate, 500 ppm calc, 7.5 dKH alk, ph 8.2, temp 78 (with a chiller), sg 1.0255, all steady for the last six months}.  I've enjoyed this tank so much over the years, I've gotten spouse's permission to start an upgrade to a 150 (5' x 2' x 2'). <Wow! Congrats!> I've drawn up plans and began work for a stand, sought out a tank builder, and set aside the funding with an intent to have the upgrade complete around February of 2006 (my point for telling you this is to prove that it's a reality, and not a pipe dream). <Mmm, maybe 2007...>   My current tank, however, seems a little lonely, and I would like to get some more fish in the mean time.  While I know nothing is guaranteed, my hope is to stay with more docile fish in both this tank and the upgrade.  Also, because I enjoy corals as much as fish, I LEAN towards getting fish that have a better history of being reef-safe (which, to me, is defined as doesn't pick at clams/corals), <Or at least is highly unlikely to...> but again, nothing is guaranteed. <Bingo> So, now that I've gotten a half hour of tank history and hopes behind us, the quandary;  My desire is to purchase 2 tangs within the month, the "Powder Brown" (Acanthurus japonicus) and a Kole (Ctenochaetus strigosus) around 3 inches in size, and introduce them at the same time. <Mmm... can/could be done, but I encourage you to really only place one or the other> After researching, my thought was that they are of different genus <Genera> and may coexist peacefully.  The store which orders fish for me will QT them for 3 weeks prior to my purchase, as I have not the means to do so at home. <I do hope they are diligent/dependable> Will these fish be relatively happy (not merely survive) for the 5-7 months in a 3 foot long tank? <Too unlikely not to> I also very much enjoy the Scribbled Rabbitfish (Siganus doliatus), <Best to stick with one Siganid species per system... one specimen, unless it's hundreds of gallons> the Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus), and some gobies (such as Stonogobiops nematodes).  Would you hesitate adding any of these fish (taking into account all the others) after the 150 gallon tank is running? <Just the Rabbitfish> Thanks in advance for your time. Your services are invaluable! Chris   <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Stocking a 55 7/22/06 I first want to say thank you for all the great help you provide. <Thanks for using it.> My question is a simple stocking question regarding a Kole Tang.  I followed my stocking guide from a certain book that is highly useful however the author apparently Way overstocks,  and it didn't work out.  (2 Hippo Tangs + 55 Gallons = Death) <Yep> After the first attempt I altered the list to include the following: 2 Clown Fish 3 Chromis 1 Royal Gramma 1 Six Lined Wrasse 1 Coral Beauty.   Would a Kole Tang work in this system or do you think that would be pushing it? <I wouldn't add any tang.  Otherwise the list looks good, although pretty heavy by the time you're done.  Just make sure to go slow with stocking, maybe one species every 2 months or so.> Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you so much for all you do <Anytime> <Chris>

Re: Tangs Tangs Tangs - How many per tank?   7/12/06 Hi there WWM again, <Hello Angela Okay after I last spoke to you my puffer is now doing great (after inflating himself daily for a week he got Ich, has now gotten rid of it so this was obviously the problem as he is fine now) the Maroon Clown and Neon Velvet Damsel (previously they had nipped fins) are doing great also - no white spot. <Good to hear.> <<Is still there... just sub-clinical in expression... Like Arnie Schwarzenegger, it'll be baaaaaaack. RMF>> On to my real question, I have been cycling a 180 US gal tank for about 2 weeks now, Deltec skimmer & AquaMedic pump in the sump, Tunze power head have been assured that I am purchasing the best equipment for my tank, 3 MH & 2 blue T5's, basically what I want to know is if the fish I want to purchase can all live in this tank, how many tangs can I have and which order to add them in.  I looked in all the FAQ's and found loads on Regal Tangs but not much on other tangs in relation to how many? what order?  I am proposing to move the Porcupine Puffer, Maroon Clown and Damsel over next week (Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 0, PH 8.2, loads of live rock and corals) I then want to add (in this order) 2 Yellow Tangs, <Better to only one of each type to minimize aggression.> 2 inches each (they come together from LFS), Yellow Tailed Purple Tang 5 inches, Cleaner Wrasse, Queen Angel or other potentially large Angelfish <In looking at your lighting set-up, I'm thinking you are going to be keeping corals.  If so, the Queen Angel and/or similar are not reef compatible.> and a Powder Blue Tang (med size). <This fish is very prone to Ich.  If your experience level is low, I'd stay away from the Power Blue.> Okay the answer I am expecting from you is OMG, are you nuts as there is no way I am going to have selected my favourite fish and its going to be as easy as 'yes, no problem Angela, they will all live in harmony with one another' I wish lol. <When adding tangs, do add all at the same time.> Other question, if the above number of tangs is totally unacceptable, <Your selection sounds OK> my partner likes a Nigger Trigger in the LFS (personally I think he's gross) anyway, he has already killed 4 fish that the Fishman has told us about and I think he is a liability and a huge risk on the fish I already have and I am very attached to.  Do you think if this fish was last in it would be ok? <With the fish you are choosing, I'd stay away from any triggerfish, just don't fit in.> or the next fish we should get?   <Your fish choice will be your choosing.  Do research before buying as to compatibility, needs, etc.> If the Queen Angel is a definite 'no' can you suggest some other stunning Angels available in UK? <Angela, I have no idea what is available in the UK.  Pygmy Angels are generally well behaved in a community system.> Am I maxed out at 9 fish in this size of tank or is even 9 too many? <All depends on the size they will attain, another research item.  I would safely say 36 inches of total fish length would be fine in your tank.> I have snails, hermits and a Boxer Shrimp as the clean up crew.  I also considered a clam, gentleman at Fish store has advised 'do so at own risk' as far as Puffer goes, what do you think? <Forget the clam.>   I  was also keen on a Sea Hare, I know that they ink for defense but are they too a no no with the Puffer? <Require a very good chemical filter in the event the dye is released, before it can lead to problems.  They also graze on Caulerpa and other algae types. If you cannot provide this, I'd stay away from the Sea Hare. I think that's quite enough questions for now, please try to answer as many as possible - many thanks for all your help and keep up the good advice. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Angela, Scotland UK.

- Tang for algae 6/24/06 - Bob, <JasonC here today.> Could you advise what would be a good choice of Tang/Surgeon for eating mainly hair type/filamentous algae? Don't really want a Yellow Tang (Z. Flavescens) as my local aquarist gives accounts of them sometimes being highly territorial. (I have - at present - a fairly "peaceful" set up). <It is my observation that this territoriality comes from these fish often being the first fish in the tank. If you add one to this existing community, I don't think it would be that big of a deal.> Aka :     1 X Emperor Angel (Pomacanthus  Imperator) 1 X  Coral Beauty Angel (Centropyge bispinosus) 1 X  Three Spot Angel (Apolemichthys Trimaculatus) 1 X  Golden Headed Sleeper Goby (Valenciennea Strigata) 1 x  Orange Spotted Sleeper Goby (Valenciennea puellaris) 2 X  Purple Firefish (Nemateleotris Decora) 1 X  Royal Gramma (Gramma Loreto) 2 X  Long-Fin Bannerfish (Heniochus Acuminatus) 4 X  Green Chromis (Chromis Caerulea) 4 X  Blue Damsels (2 each- exact species unknown) 1 X  Big Long-Nosed Butterflyfish (Forcipiger Longirostris) 1 X  Rainford's Goby (Amblygobius Rainfordi) Tank is 84" X 21" X 21" with around 45Kg Live Rock, 12 Super Turbo  Snails, 4 Turbo Snails, 3 Red Legged Hermit Crabs, 12 Blue Legged Hermit  Crabs and 3 Mithrax Crabs. Filtration is 2 X Tetratec 1200 External canisters, TMC V2 600 Protein  Skimmer, and added circulation with 3 X Rio 2100 power heads. RO water used at all times, TMC Pro-Reef Salts. NH3/NH4 - Nil, NO2 - Nil, NO3 - less than 12.5mg/l, PH buffered at  8.3, SG1022,Temp 25.7c, ORP @ 300-325 (ORP. ph & temp digitally  continuously monitored). Weekly 50 Imperial Gallon water changes. Fully fitted 32"X16"X12"  "Hospital/Quarantine/Refugium" tank. Eventually (in some years to come) I want to graduate to "fish and hardy invertebrate" system and then eventually on to a full "reef" system (obviously with far fewer fish).   My considerations are:      A. Japonicus (White faced tang), A. Coeruleus (Blue Tang),     A. Achilles (Achilles Surgeonfish), Z. Veliferum (Sailfin Tang), Z. Desjardinii (Indian Ocean Sailfin Tang). Finally, can I say your book has been of really great help, and is  frequently referred to by myself for guidance. Kind Regards, Andy B. Preston, Lancashire, UK. <Andy, I'm not certain I saw an actual question in there... any of those Tangs would be a good choice in my opinion, including the Z. Flavescens. Cheers, J -- >

Something about tangs, not reading   6/17/06   Hello again back to bother you. <Where's the previous correspondence?> I was wondering what would be easier to care for a powder brown tang or a purple tang (mean).   <The latter is hardier by far> I currently have a 90 gallon tank with only 2 fish a Kole tang and a clown fish.  I have had bouts of ick in this tank but after a few weeks the fish got over it <...> and I haven't seen it since (but probably still there). <"It's" still there...>   I don't really like the idea of a purple tang because there so aggressive but they look nice and the powder brown is more difficult to keep so that is my dilemma.  My water quality is excellent the only thing that shows up on tests is .2 phosphate.  I work at a saltwater fish store so I can get pretty much any tang I want (the ick scares me) and if you could suggest one of these or even another type for a 90 gallon tank I would really appreciate it.  Thanks, constant email er Ryan Nienhuis. <Please read... Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm and the linked files above, particularly the coverage of all Tang genera, their Selection, Compatibility... Bob Fenner>

SW Stocking ... Re: Another stocking question! =P  - 5/5/2006 I've got another question for you! <OK!> I have a 30 gallon aquarium with 192 watt power compact lighting, 150 watt heater, 400 gph bio-wheel, protein skimmer (worthy of cycling a 100 gallon aquarium)<Skimmers don't cycle the tank, they filter it>, 35-40 lbs of Fiji live rock, 40 lbs live sand, and a 190 gph power head. <Sounds good> Tell me this, can I put 2 ocellaris clownfish,<OK> 1 hippo tang <Nope>, and 1 flame angelfish <Nope> in this aquarium? They will all be tank-bred <Hippos are not currently tank bred, and the angels are rare> and 1 inch when added <tangs that size have an awful survival rate>. I also have plenty of caves for the fish to hide in created by the live rock. What order do you insist I add them in? <Should not be done in any order> They will also all be put into QT before put into the main aquarium. <Good procedure> Do you think the fish will be "ok" if I wait for 2-3 years until I upgrade to a bigger aquarium? <No> If not tell me how long I should wait (e.g. When the fish get a certain size). <I can't recommend trying at all> Please answer these questions even though you may disagree with what I'm doing. <My answer is its a recipe for disaster and I can't recommend doing it unfortunately >I will also have 1 small bubble tip anemone, 2 feather dusters, 5 dwarf blue hermit crabs, 1 super Tongan Nassarius snail, and 1 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp.   Sincerely,   Aqua Man <Unfortunately I can't recommend your stocking plan, I suggest starting with the clowns and finding more appropriate fish that tickle your fancy.  I think you will be much happier in the long run> <Chris>

Tang Frenzy - 05/07/2006 Hi crew, <Chad> I am starting a 250 gallon 10 ft. long FOWLR tank. Do you think these are good stocking plans in this order? 1 Blue Hippo tang 1 Naso tang 1 Sohal tang <Too big and mean, the Naso and Sohal are not very friendly with other tangs> 1 Powder Blue tang 1 Achilles Tang (LFS sadly keeps them in stock regularly) <Do not survive long and are hard to get healthy specimens, do be careful here in getting a good healthy one.> 1 Imperator Angel <will try to rule the tank, may fight with the bigger tangs.> 1 Brown Band Bamboo shark <Too big, and wrong type system for this fish.> 1 Australian Harlequin Tuskfish 1 Yellow Tang You think this Is going to be way to much fish for this size tank? I am only thirteen years old and am fairly new to salt water but am already obsessed with it. <Yes you have quite a wish list.  Most tangs DO NOT get along well with each other in smaller systems (a 250gallon is a small system for this many tangs), and will probably not do well.  pick one or two that you really want, and research here on WWM to see if they are compatible in diet and aggression.> Thanks, I live off your Site. Great job . Chad <Try when stocking to find one fish you really want as the main fish in the display, then find fish that are compatible with it.  Mixing too many fish that do not get along can be very bad for all the fish.  -Justin (Jager)>
-Tang Frenzy part 2-   5/9/06
Thanks for reply     Do you think I would be able to get away with a Naso, Blue hippo, Powder blue and a Yellow as for tangs? <Don't add the Naso and sure these should work in a 250.  the Naso though can be very aggressive.> Would a  Zebra Moray work in this size system? <Yes it should be ok with your list if feed properly.> I would want the Naso tang and Imperator angel to be my show fish. This is the biggest size tank my parents will allow me to have or else I would of gone way bigger. Do these fish need special lighting? <No special lighting needed.> <Justin (Jager)>

Lipstick tang health, sel.   3/15/06 Hi I would like to know if you have any ideas on why our lipstick tang died. We've had the tank 5ft- 380litres) for 3 months. We have a blue damsel, 2 coral banded shrimp, Fijian damsel, 2 clownfish and a coral beauty (all small specimens). We test regularly, everything stays relatively the same, and I tested again after the tang died. Ph-8.4, ammonia 0.1, <Should be zip> nitrate 20ppm. <Borderline high> We had the tang 9 days, when we first got it there was a small amount of tail fighting with the coral beauty, but after this all seemed harmonious. The tang ate well each feed either brine shrimp or vege cubes and we also added seaweed which it grazed on. The night before it fed well and seemed happy. Dead as a door nail the next morning! Shop said maybe stress but that it would have white spots if this was the case. I examines the tang, there were no marks at all, it looked perfectly healthy, other than being dead obviously. Any ideas would be appreciated Cheers Megan <Naso species do often "just die" shortly after arrival/collection from the wild. Likely "cumulative stress" could sum up the "cause" here. Buying a specimen that has been "on hand" for a few weeks will likely assure its survival in your setting. Bob Fenner>

Too Much Tang Flesh? - 03/11/06 Just a quick question. <<Ok>> Am I overstocked? <<Short answer...yes.>> I have 4 tangs- A powder blue, scopas, large 5-inch sailfin and a blue tang, also have a 4-inch checkerboard wrasse, coral beauty, royal Gramma, 2 clowns, Longnose Hawkfish and a sixline wrasse.  To me this sounds like a lot of fish. <<It is...and some get big.>> They are all happy with no fighting in my 135 gallon.  I have a 55 gallon refugium and a 40 gallon sump all connected.  There's about 200 pounds of live rock and various clams and inverts?  What do you think? <<Easy for me to say I know...but you should find other/better homes for the Sailfin, Powder blue, and Blue tangs.  The Sailfin can reach 18" in length, and depending on which "Blue" tang you have...Paracanthurus hepatus can grow to a very "beefy" 14-inches while Acanthurus coeruleus can reach about 17-inches...as for the Powder blue, potential is 24-inches.  But, it is very likely none of these fish will ever reach maturity/these sizes before succumbing to social/psychological/developmental retardation issues from being kept/grown in a "too small" system.  Mature sizes aside, it's my opinion that tangs as a whole need much more space than most any other commonly available aquarium fish of comparable dimension.>> I was hoping to add a couple of bottom dwelling gobies. <<Remove the tangs and all sorts of options open up.  I think tangs are beautiful and amazing fish and I understand their attraction, but I feel many, if not most, are unsuitable for the average home aquarium.>> thanks a lot tb <<Very welcome.  Regards, EricR>>

Naso Tang ... selection? - 2/11/2006 I bought a Blonde Naso Tang last week.  I bought him because the "expert" at the LFS said these were hardy fish and not particularly disease prone. <He's also a comedian too?> He also tested my water and told me it was fine, but I didn't ask the specific parameters.  He told me that he had been quarantining using a UV sterilizer for approximately 1 month. The Naso has been in my tank for 4.5 days.  I noticed two days ago that he has white spots on his fins.  The same "expert" at the LFS advised me to give him a bath in 2.5 gals of fresh water and 11 drops of formalin with an antibiotic in the water.  Is this the way to treat that? <I'd like to ask you a question first.  Why didn't you quarantine the fish before placing it in your tank?  This makes an effective treatment much easier.  Freshwater dips are usually the first stage in treatment.  Do Google search our Wet Web site, keyword "freshwater dip".  You will find your info there.  I'm also hoping you have at least a 70 gallon tank for that guy for starters as they can attain a length of up to 8 inches and do require plenty of swimming room.  James (Salty Dog)> Donna  
Re: Naso Tang   2/13/06
Thank you so much for your help.  <You're welcome.> I am fairly new to the saltwater hobby <Naso tangs are not a fish for newbies for sure.> though I've been keeping freshwater fish for a few years.  I don't have a quarantine tank set up.  How many gallons should a quarantine tank be? And how long should I quarantine fish? <Do read here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Tang Acanthurus addn. Question  02/12/06 Hello,        Love the site!!! I have a quick question for you. I have a 100 gallon reef system with 2 powder blue Chromis, a yellow tang, a purple tang (they get along great!!) Mandarin goby, and two Percula clown fish that live in my bubble tip!! I was wondering if I could add an Achilles Tang to the mix. <Doubtful> I know tangs can get nasty, but I just love the way the fish looks and would love one. Please let me know if this would work, or if not, what other "show" fish I could put in with the "gang"     Thanks,      Jeromy      P.S.-Keep up the good work <Thanks. Not a hardy species... not good in this setting. Bob Fenner>

Poorly Atlantic Blue Tang....    2/3/06 Hi All, We have a 55 UK gallon tank, with 30 kilos of Live Rock, MC500 Deltec, 2 power heads, 250 halide and two blue arcadias. Fish stock includes Mandarin Yellow tang Atlantic blue tang 2 Green Chromis 2 percula clowns Brownbarred goby Six lined Wrasse 9 red hermits 6 turbo snails 1 cleaner shrimp. Our problem is our Atlantic blue tang, it seems to have what I can only described a bubbly skin and there are a couple of white spots on it. <Unfortunately... quite prone to such troubles... as are most Atlantic Surgeonfishes> We are guessing its Ich but we're not getting much help from our LFS who have told us the just leave him  and he will get over it?!? <Not if it were indeed crypt/Ich... but I doubt this is what you are observing... otherwise your other fishes would be mal-affected as well> We are concerned as we are relatively new to this and would like to do what is right! I've read a lot of articles on this site with regards to freshwater dips, garlic copper and so on and from this have deduced freshwater dips are the way to go. Would you think this was advisable? <Not w/o knowing what is going on here> He is still eating well but does seem a little irritable. Many thanks for any help and advice you can give to us Brits as I haven't found a website as useful as yours in the UK. Emma and Simon, Lake District, UK <Mmm, need more information re the chemical make-up of this system. Were your fishes quarantined ahead of placement? I would be leery re "adding something" here in the way of "medicine"... Is there an aquarist friend, stockist who might come by and take a look at your set-up, livestock? Bob Fenner>
Re: Poorly Atlantic Blue Tang....   2/6/06
Thanks to Bob Fenner for is prompt reply, The tang seems to have deteriorated overnight, he now have a number of visible white spots and his skin is very bumpy and has developed two 5mm white patches which looks like the loss of pigment. All the chemicals are fine all tests have come back as spot on. No fish have been quarantined prior to putting in the tank as we "assumed" this was done by the place we've been buying them from. <Not a good assumption> Unfortunately there isn't anyone local to come and check out our system we're a little in the middle of nowhere the most local person originally advised us to us water out of the stream which runs through our back garden at first (!!!) so wouldn't trust anything he had to say. That's why we have to travel over an hour to the best one in the area. No other fish are affected at all which makes me wonder if it is Ich as I would have thought maybe the clowns would have got it by now. <As stated, this fish (Acanthurus coeruleus likely) and other TWA tangs just don't "cut it" in captivity... for whatever reason/s> We have a cleaner wrasse but the tang won't let him near and just chases him away. <Labroides are not found in the Atlantic...> The fish store is posting out some bacterial type to put into the system but I'm hesitant to use it, especially due to the loss of pigment on his skin. Many thanks if there is any help you can give me, Emma, UK. <Not much more to say unfortunately. Bob Fenner>

Stocking  Choices, Skip the Surgeons   1/31/06 Hello crew, <Hi!> I currently have a 55 gallon FOWLR and invertebrates (polyps, mushrooms) tank. <Sounds like a budding mini-reef to me.> It is two years old and doing fine. I currently have 2 clownfish (about 2 inches each) and 1 bi-color blenny. <Nice stocking level.> I want to add only 2 more fish to the tank. <Okay.> I was thinking of adding a Yellow Tang <I would skip most if not all surgeons in this tank.> and then after a few months, a Flame Angel. <Could be a good addition to your tank, very attractive fish.> I know these fish will all be compatible with one another but will the tank be big enough for these last two fish additions? <No not for the tang I would make another choice. The angel should be fine providing you can secure a healthy specimen, not always easy as this is a popular fish. Be sure to do your research on WWM re: Centropyge angels.> Thanks for your help! <Anytime, Adam J.>

Tangled Up Over Tang Choices!   1/26/06 Dear Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. your Crew Member today!> I have a 120 gallon reef tank. I lost all my livestock during Hurricane Katrina because my power was out for over a week. I couldn't even get to my house for three days! <Yuck! Sorry to hear that.> Anyway, I am in the process of restocking, and probably will be for some time. It took me a while to get all the stuff I had. Amazingly enough, most of the small polyps, some Derasa, Mushrooms, and a Leather Coral the size of a dinner plate survived the ordeal. I put them in a big Rubbermaid with some rock while I cleaned the tank and got it back going. <Good procedure> I had 3 Yellow Tangs that perished. I'm ready to get some more fish now and I know I want some Tangs. Aside from looking good, they work wonders with algae. They were neat to watch because they schooled around the tank, ate together and so on..... <Yep, very cool fish!> My main question is would Kole Tangs do as well in a group of three to five as Yellow Tangs? <They can be kept successfully in small groups, but you'd need to give them a large amount of space. In a 120, I'd really recommend keeping only one of them.> Secondarily, which of the two are better hair algae eaters? <For hair-type algae, hands-down I'd choose the Yellow Tang. Zebrasoma species are better "equipped" to deal with these types of algae. For diatoms, detritus, and other "tougher" algae, I would highly recommend the Kole, as it's mouth is designed to rasp these types of algae off of hard substrates.> Thanks, John Jordan <My pleasure John. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Replaced The Tangs - 01/10/06 Selection, Labroides... Dear Eric <<Hi Akila!>> I'm still waiting for your feedback on my earlier email.  Anyway just reply me whenever you are free. Thanks <<Mmm, I have replied to all I have received.>> I returned the Powder Blue Tang and the huge Clown Wrasse (Red Coris Wrasse) I bought earlier and replaced them with one Banner Fish (5") and a Threadfin Butterfly (5").  How is my choice this time? <<Much better...though you still have the Clown Tang...trouble down the road I fear.>> I read many articles that said they are easy to maintain. <<Easier/more suitable than the Powder Blue...agreed.>> Also they look amazingly pictorial. <<Agreed again>> I also bought a small 1-1/2 inch Cleaner Wrasse cuz I read on the net that they are very good for removing parasites from other animals in the tank.  Is this true? <<I wish you had dug a bit deeper Akila.  While it is true the Cleaner Wrasses (Labroides sp.) are good at what they do, they make poor aquarium choices due to their preferred/specified diet.  Most will accept no other source of food other than what they can pick off the fish, and your aquarium fish won't be able to provide enough nourishment...not to mention the constant harassment/stress incurred by the fish from the starving attentions of the Cleaner Wrasse.  If you want a "cleaner" fish, better to go with a Cleaner "Goby" like Gobiosoma oceanops.>> Anyway let me know about the Seaweed also. Please refer to my earlier email. <<Hmm, thought I did...but here it is again...(Hmm, having not traveled (yet) that part of the world I have no idea what might be available to you.  See if you can get some dried Nori from a market/specialty food store, else order some algae flake foods from the from etailers on the internet.)>> Appreciate your response Thanks Best regards Akila <<Be chatting...EricR>>

Tangs and Microfauna 12/1/2005 Hi <Hello.> I have two quick questions first what kind of tang if any could I keep in a 45 gallon aquarium with two clownfish 4 cleaner shrimp and a few hermit crabs and snails. <Honestly, none long term.> Second when I turned the lights off last night and looked in with a flashlight and saw 100s of little shrimp like things swimming in the water, would that mean that most likely there amphipods because they can be seen. <Probably pods or maybe even other microfauna such as Mysis and Mysid shrimp.> Thanks <Welcome.> --Sbatiste <Adam J.> 

Tang Compatibility and Odd Notions  11/20/05 Hello, I need expert advice on tang additions. I have a 135gal, 6 ft. reef, up for 1 year. I am ready to add tangs.  Current inhabitants are:  1 Bluespotted Jawfish 2 false Perc. clowns 1 Firefish 1 Midas blenny 1 mandarin 2 Banggai cardinals 1 bar goby 1 flame angel various corals My favorite tangs are, in order Naso, Powder Blue, Purple, Yellow, Hippo. I'd like to add three (as I've heard odd numbers minimize aggression). My main concern is to make a wise decision not to regret later. My LFS is holding a healthy Naso for me.  <Keep in mind the Powder Blues are very difficult to keep and the Naso's not far behind them.>  They advise I add 3 at once.  <It helps>  My other question is, should I quarantine, since my LFS quarantines for 2 weeks?  <Two weeks is not enough time to be sure disease isn't present. More like 28 days.>  How do you quarantine 3?  <With a suitable size tank with dividers. Maybe your dealer has a large enough area he could devote to quarantine your tangs for you.>  I've read that PBT's and Purples should be the only tangs in a system.  <Where did you hear this from?>  Are there exceptions? and, thanks for answering all these questions! What should be the sizes of the 3 I add in relation to each other? Thanks so much.  <I recommend the three tangs selected not be the same color or type, as is two yellow tangs or two purple tangs. My choices based on hardiness would be the hippo, yellow or purple. Two hippos and another species of tang could be placed together in a system as large as yours. In my opinion/experience the hippos are the least aggressive. I would choose tangs about three inches in length. Do read tang FAQ's on compatibility. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangcompfaq2.htm  James (Salty Dog)>

Torn Between two tangs 10-12-05 Dear Crew, <<Hello>> I have a 180 g FOWLR that had been a closed system for quite some time until this summer when after a 4 wk quarantine I added an adult emperor angel. <<QT should always be a minimum of 4 weeks and I personally suggest a minimum of 6 weeks on tangs and angels as they like to harbor "nasties".>> The 180 had a powder blue and a Naso tang, both beautiful fish. A purple tang and Foxface that I have had for 8-9 years were looking like they were on their last  leg ( probably old age , I guess ) and I decided to open the system to new inhabitants. Unfortunately, despite using a QT the tangs look like they came down with crypt. I pulled all fish from the system, treated then in QT's with copper for 3 weeks and let the display lie fallow for 5 weeks. <<Again as a general rule, a tank should be left fallow for 6-8 weeks and temp. should be raised as high as tolerable for current inhabitants to increase the rate of the parasite life cycle.>> I have since re-introduced all of the fish except for the tangs. For 4 weeks since the 180 has been with fish the system looks great. My tangs are also doing well while still in the QT except for some HLLE that they acquired while copper treated.  The Naso has a few scattered papules on the face and head and body that copper had no effect on ( ? HLLE ) but is otherwise doing great. The Naso and powder blue are in a 55 g tank together. The papules on the Naso are whitish and  much 4-5 times larger than what is seen with crypt, this has been a chronic condition for this fish but it has not been that noticeable nor has it affected the fish's activity eating etc. Now I am faced with a dilemma : Should I dare re-introduce the tangs into the display. I fear that tangs are very "parasite prone" Currently the 180 has an adult emperor 6". a majestic 4-5" Foxface 5" Heniochus 4" a couple of clowns and one damsel, 250lbs of LR with plenty of hiding places. Probably no good answer to this question, but I thought I would try asking. <<The best answer I can give is; if you don't feel comfortable doing it, then don't do it. You are correct in your thinking that tangs are prone to infection. My advice would be to pick one and give the other to a friend or set up the 55 for the outsider.>> Jimmy <<TravisM>><<<I actually am going to make a comment... both species listed here are unsuitable for a four foot long system (should be in six foot minimum)... the mucus marks on the Naso are likely "just" resultant from stress... RMF>>>

Yellow Tang Blues? (Selecting and Caring For Z. flavescens) 8/24/05 Good Day! <Hello there! Scott F. at your service today!> I have a small (45 gallon) reef set-up. It's been up and running very successfully for 3 years now. I have a question - I have several fish that have lived very peacefully and apparently healthy for most of the 3 years. I vary the food given, since some of the fish are herbivores (Yellow Tang/Zebrasoma flavescens & Hippo Tang/Paracanthurus hepatus) and some are carnivores (Percula Clownfish/Amphiprion ocellaris). I feed dried Omega One flake, frozen brine, Emerald Entrée? & Mysis shrimp (not all at once...lol) All of the fish seem healthy but I've lost several Zebrasoma flavescens over the past few years. The Hippo tang is doing well as are all of the other fish. The Yellow tang appears healthy until I find it dead or almost dead. I figure it must be the diet since I can see no parasitic clues and all of the other fish are doing well. I feed sparingly once to twice per day and all of the fish seem to eat voraciously. I say sparingly since I know the uneaten food will feed all of the unwanted items in my tank. Any clues to what I'm doing/not doing? Thanks for the assistance. J.T. Craddock <Well, before we look at the possible causes of your bad luck with the Yellow Tangs, I have to get up on the soapbox for a minute. I'm sure that you are aware, but the P. hepatus Tang will require much larger quarters in the very near future if it is to live anything close to a natural lifespan. These fish can and will get quite large, and they require very large amounts of physical space to live a long, healthy life. I'm sure that a larger tank is in the future, right? Anyways...off the soapbox and on to the problem! I think that there are a few potential issues here. First, these fishes are often subject to shipping traumas. The majority of the Yellow Tangs collected for the trade come from the best source, Hawaii, and are collected well and shipped quickly. Yellow Tangs from other sources don't always fare as well. These fishes need to eat constantly, and typically, by the time they reach the LFS, they are already quite deprived of food. When selecting specimens from the LFS, be sure to choose fish that are not showing signs of malnutrition, pinched-in stomachs, faded color, red marks on the fins, etc. Additionally, make sure that you employ a quarantine regimen for all new fish, particularly Tangs. Not only does the quarantine period give you the opportunity to observe the fishes for signs of infections and to treat them before introduction to your display-it gives your new fish the chance to eat and recover from their journey to the LFS. These fishes are voracious consumers of algae, and should have a regular "supply" of algal-based foods available constantly. You should utilize fresh macroalgae, such as Gracilaria parvispora ("Ogo"). You can order Gracilaria from e-tailers such as my favorite, IndoPacific Sea Farms (www.ipsf.com). Last, but not least, make sure that you maintain very high water quality at all times. Employ aggressive protein skimming, regular, frequent water changes, and common sense husbandry practices. Hopefully, these tips will point you in the right direction. It really sounds like you're doing things right...just consider a larger tank down the line! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Yellow Tang With Blonde Naso Tang (Too Much!) - 07/17/05 Hi there! <<Howdy!>> I have been reading a lot of articles on your web site and   definitely got some insight into Tang behavior. <<Really?>> We have recently sold our 55 gallon tank and moved everything into a 40 gallon stretch hex tank, with no losses I might add, yea!  We did this about a week ago and even rearranged about 75 pounds of live rock along with a variety of small corals, a Condy, a bubble tip anemone, along with a few snails shrimp and hermit crabs.  We also have a maroon clownfish and a strawberry Basslet, along with a 3-4 inch yellow tang. <<This tank is too small for tangs.>> We added a 5" Blonde Naso Tang today <<sigh!>>, figuring the rearrangement of rock would alleviate any territoriality issues. <<Not in a tank this small...no tang should be in this tank, especially one (the Naso) that grows to a foot and a half!>> Almost immediately the Yellow Tang began tail banging the larger Naso.  This did taper off and they were eventually feeding together, although you could tell the Yellow Tang would posture next to the Naso but not swipe at it.  Tonight the Naso is hanging out behind some rock.  It does not appear stressed as it is not breathing fast and appears calm.  It this new tank mate syndrome? What are your suggestions for this arrangement? <<I'm afraid my suggestion is one you don't want to hear...If you care about the long-term health of these fish, remove/replace the tangs with fish more suitable for this tank.>> Thanks!!!!! <<Regards, Eric R.>>
Yellow Tang with Blonde Naso Tang 7/18/05
Thank you for your insightful feedback, we had NO IDEA the Naso Tang could   get 1 to 1 1/2 feet long! <Yes> I guess we need to do some internet research going forward, since the  sales people at our local fish store never suggested the mix of fish we  currently have would be troublesome, or that our tank was too small for these  fish. Many thanks once again. Jennifer & Blair <Glad for the Net, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Powder Brown Low-Down (Tang Quarantine) 7/14/05 I have a 75gal FOWLR, and I am thinking of adding a Powder Brown (White Faced) Tang. <Just keep thinking, but please don't add this fish to your tank, unless a much larger tank is in the very near future. Your tank really is too small to support this fish for anything close to a natural life span, IMO. You need a tank that is at least 6 feet long, to provide "physical space" for the fish, as well as large water capacity to help dilute metabolic waste...> I have a  20gal hospital tank setup and I know how to perform a freshwater dip. <A good practice> Should I run copper in the hospital for the whole 21 days or just wait and see if anything pops up. <I would not use copper, or any other medicine, on a prophylactic basis.> I'm pretty sure with a Powder Brown it is going to have Ich (even if I don't see it) and I don't want to kill it the copper treatment but I also don't want the Ich in my main. What to do? Thanks Daryl <Well, Daryl- if you were going to get this fish, you'd be well advised to do a full 30 day quarantine, without copper or other medication. Only medicate if the fish shows signs of illness. Just make sure that you run the full 30 day quarantine. Regards, Scott F.>

- Stocking Questions - Thank you for keeping your site up and running and so full of useful advice. It is great to read all the emails and comments.  Also, it is great to have expert advice as close as an email away - thank you. I have a 75-gallon tank with a wet/dry, large Excalibur protein skimmer, roughly 45 lbs live rock, 4 inch sand bed (plenum), Coralife Power Compact Dual Strip Light with 10,000K and Actinic.  I've had the tank up and running for about a year. Current stocking: 2 percula clowns 8 Green Chromis (love to watch them school) 1 yellow watchman goby 2 cleaner shrimp 4 Nassarius Snails 10 blue leg crabs I wanted to ask your advise on adding a tang (think Kole or Yellow, but open for suggestions) and Dwarf Angel (leaning towards Flame, open here also).  That would complete my stocking.  My main focus is on Hardy, peaceful community fish.  Hopefully that would add some color that I do not already have and as a bonus keep the algae trimmed.  Please let me know your thoughts on the above or alternative suggestions. <If you're looking for peaceful, I'd go with the Yellow tang over the Kole... and as dwarf angels go, the flame is a real winner so I think you'd be all set with those.> Any chance that you would rank in your opinion the top 5 least aggressive tangs and Dwarf Angels. <Not in this email - please do read through our articles on the same. Tangs and dwarf angels are both well covered on WWM.> Thank you in advance. <Cheers, J -- >

Tangs and Reefs, Part 2 (5/3/05) Steve,  <Hi Scott> I hope you're doing even better than "well enough" today... but, I suppose it was a Monday yesterday!  <Indeed. I am fine today, tomorrow is hump day and I get to fly home on Friday.>  Thanks so much for your quick response.  <You're welcome.>  I'll certainly do the 180G if I can... you don't have to tell me twice. ;) BTW, are you a fan of glass or acrylic?  <I'm a glass man myself.>  I live in Tucson (where are you at?),  <SLC>  so better thermal insulation is great, but I've always seen scratches on the acrylic in stores, and hated it for that.  <The main problem with acrylic.>  Then again, I've never actually had an acrylic tank... and Bob made a good case for acrylic in the CMA, so I'm wondering if maybe I should give it a shot. I just shudder at the thought of accidentally scraping live rock on the side and scratching the inside, since I don't imagine you could repair a scratch like that without draining the tank!  <I've seen some horrible-looking acrylic tanks in my day, but many people swear by them. I'd be too nervous about scratching it. In the big tanks, there is also a big weight advantage to acrylic. It took six of us to get my 180 glass down to the basement through a narrow stairwell. If you have some big bucks, you might want to have a look at Starphire glass, which is much more clear. You can Google it to learn more.> Thanks for the book suggestions! I currently have Calfo/Fenner's invert book (I'm to the chapter on Sponges; I did read all about the refugiums/algae, just wasn't clear on mixing),  <Perhaps that did not make it into the book, but not mixing is what they advise on this site.>  and Borneman's Aquarium Corals (haven't had time for that one yet, still digesting the basics), Dakin's Complete Encyclopedia of the Saltwater Aquarium, and recently bought and started reading the CMA. I don't have a reference for just fish, so I'll get Michael's "Marine Fishes" as soon as I can. BTW, any word on when the next installment of the "Natural Marine Aquarium Series" is coming out?  <I'm not in that loop, but last I heard it was late this year, maybe early next.>  I wonder if it's on fish or corals...  <Corals. Fish is volume 3.>  There's so much information, I sometimes feel I'll never be ready to make my tank/equipment/setup/livestock decisions and finally embark on creating this "real" tank I have in mind (with QT, of course :)!  <Well, you're wise to avoid impulsiveness.>  I guess it's one of those things that after preparing, reading, and learning all you can, you have to dive in and get wet! (Sorry, lousy pun. :)  <Snicker, snicker. Yes, eventually one has to go for it, but with a reasonable plan.> I'll be sure to stick with just one Tang -- no point in putting in more if they wouldn't be happy, since I'm happy when my fish are happy! I always thought Yellow Tangs were good reef fish, but then I read the following on WWM (at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm in the "Habitat" section) and became disheartened:  "Regarding inclusion of this and other tangs in 'reef tanks'; I don't suggest it. Though these fishes will nibble away at pesky undesirable algae, they do not stop there and have been recorded consuming corals and more. If you must, try a small subject in a large system and keep your eye on them. There are other marine "algae eaters" (gobies, snails, etc.) to augment prevention methods."  <Well, opinions vary, but plenty of people keep this species in reef tanks without problems. Keep them well-fed with Gracilaria and they won't mess with things you don't want them to.>  Thanks for your reassurance; my wife (and I) will be thrilled. You did mention a flame angel as a possible tankmate, but that they're a "a bit risky". Flame angels *are* beautiful, and I'd love to have one, but just how risky are they?  <Some do nibble on corals at times. You might want to read some more. You also might consider joining our forum and asking others for their experience. Here: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/index.jsp >  Would you personally put one in, or leave it out?  <Lucky for me, I have a FOWLR and a reef, so I keep mine in the FOWLR. I do have a Coral Beauty in my reef and it leaves my Blastomussas, Euphyllias and mushrooms alone.> So, if macroalgae chemically competes, could you be okay by growing Chaetomorpha in one refugium, Gracilaria in another, and plumb them so they are indirectly connected through the sump, or is it not space proximity but being in the same water volume that's the problem? (I.e., do they compete at a local, or broad-scale level, or both?)  <More locally, and even more in the sense of one over-running the other. I have both, but separated in two refugiums. If you do this sort of thing, the plumbing can be complicated and you must think it out very carefully to avoid overflowing somewhere in the loop. I had great luck getting my Gracilaria to grow in and AquaFuge HOT refugium with 65W power compacts over it 12 hrs/day. The Chaeto is in the sump.> Thanks again, sorry as always for the length... you can always push mine to the bottom and answer when you're bored... Mmm... but I suppose then I'd never get an answer, would I? :) Well, I'll save my (many) other questions for another day... and perhaps I will find some answers I'm confident of on my own before then.  <Do consider joining the forum. There are lots of helpful, experienced posters there.>  Keep up the great work, and have a great day! Scott Baker  <Thanks, you to.>

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)>

-To Tang Or Not To Tang- Afternoon, <Morning> 75G FOWLR (but for a couple of mushrooms and some polyps), 40lb LR, currently a Purple Tang (had for 2years+, about 3.5-4"), 2 Ocellaris Clowns with a word into the LFS for a Sleeper Gold Head Goby (Valenciennea strigata). <Good, Please note the tang will need a bigger home (90 gallon)> Hating to bother the crew with a question, when I already have a feel for the answer (a DON'T) and seen similar already in the FAQ's, but the answers have been rather conflicting. Looking to get some colour and activity into the tank and considering adding a Yellow Tang, should I?  <Your dead on, please do not> Mark <Sorry, please upgrade the tank, then look into that extra tang.> <Justin (Jager)> 

Unsuitability of powder blue tang Dear WWM, <Frank> I would like to reiterate to all readers that they should fully research all potential purchases through WWM or other reliable sources!! I bought a small (mistake), thin (bigger mistake) but beautiful Powder Blue Surgeonfish from my local fish store on impulse as it was such a striking specimen. Upon returning home I decided to do some post- purchase research and found out that the tang was not suitable for my setup or in truth not really suitable for any modest home aquarium. The upshot of this story is the tang seemed in perfect health for a week, but would ONLY eat brine shrimp no matter what other more suitable foods were offered. He never the less appeared happy and hungry until the eighth day, when he suddenly (and I mean suddenly) got covered with what appeared to be visible signs of Ich, over the space of two to three hours, and was dead within 12 hours. I must stress that many publications advise against taking this fish from its natural habitat including articles by Mr. Fenner and I am left in the situation where I wish I had researched and heeded the advice given by said articles!!!! Thanks for all the help you give when I read advice before making stupid purchases. Yours, Frank from Glasgow <Thank you for relating your experience. You have likely saved many others several specimens of this and many other organisms. Bob Fenner> 

Tangling With Tangs! I'd like to start off by saying that I have looked around on WetWebMedia and other places and haven't found an answer to my question that feels solid. I hate writing you guys because I feel I'm stealing you away from more important things! <Hey- nothing is more important than sharing and helping our fellow hobbyists- not a problem at all! That's our "Prime Directive" here! Scott F. with you today!> So... I try to keep my questions to a minimal.  However, that being said... I need some help. My friend and I have a 350 gallon aquarium that is 2 feet tall, 6 feet long, and 4 feet deep. We have researching what fish to add and are looking at tangs right now. Currently, there is only Yellow tang. We are not stuck on keeping him, but if we can, that would be great. We will be adding whatever tangs we decide on as the last fish. At that point in time we will take the Yellow Tang out for awhile, and put him into a 75 gallon aquarium. Then down the road a little ways, we will add him again (being that he is more aggressive than most other tangs). Correct me if this doesn't sound right to you.  <Well, this species in general doesn't strike me as one of the "aggressive" varieties, but they ARE tangs, and tangs can be aggressive under a variety of circumstances.> If you don't think he would work out well with other tangs we do have a good home we can send him to if need be. <Well, a tank of the size you mention should be fine for several tangs, IMO. Perhaps a small group of Yellow Tangs would provide a nice way to display the fish and diffuse some of the aggression that you are noticing.> The aquarium is a reef setup and has about 200 pounds of LR and about 30-40 pounds of dead rock (that's on it's way to become LR). We would like to add some tangs, but we don't want them to feel to crowded or aggressive towards each other. I've heard that a Naso tang CAN be a problem in a reef tank. Is this something to worry about or not? <I have heard of the potential for nipping at inverts, but my larger concern with Nasos is that they are simply HUGE fishes, requiring a lot of room to live long healthy lives. And, they can be quite "Chippy" with other fishes...> We would also like to add a Sailfin Tang and maybe a Blue Tang.  Would this be too many tangs in this setup? <Well, the Sailfin can reach over 15 inches, and needs a ton of space. It's one of my favorite fishes, but it really needs a huge tank, IMO. The Blue Tang can also reach an impressive size, but may be better suited to this sized system. I'd still consider a small grouping of Yellow Tangs, and maybe a Ctenochaetus species as a "contrast" (perhaps a Kole Tang or a Chevron Tang).> If so, what is a good mix in a tank of this size? If you have some other suggestions as to what tangs (if more than one is even appropriate) would work that would be great. As always, thanks for your time and help.  Steve <Well, Steve- do look into the Ctenochaetus species, as mentioned above. They are cool fish and stay a bit smaller than some of the other guys out there. They may not be quite as colorful, but they have great personalities and are fun to watch. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> 

Re: Starting again Mike, Took your advice and added some hermits etc. (no Kole yet ... mixed views in my LFS, some people say no, they are very aggressive with other tangs, other people say the opposite!). Pulled out loads of Caulerpa, tank looks good. Signs of it beginning to grow back but I'm cutting the food down to see if the tangs etc will have a go at the fronds as they start to emerge. Thanks for the advice ... good stuff as ever. Brian <Brian, I am glad to hear that everything is starting to work out.  Kole tangs can be aggressive sometimes but, I have found that generally they are not.  Remember, there is more than one way to keep a reef tank and that there are many different opinions out there.  Happy to hear all is getting better. MikeB>

Yet another Tang and Stocking Question Sorry to bother,<no bother, that is what we are here for> but I have heard many opinions on my questions both good and bad and I would like to know your insights.<O.K.> I am thinking of getting a tang and I would like to know which one is the most PEACEFUL community fish for a 65 Gallon FOWLR tank: Blue Hippo Tang or Purple Tang.<My opinion is that the Blue Hippo Tang is more peaceful than the Purple Tang> If I were to get a hippo (about 3"-4") would it do good in the tank? I have known people to keep this fish in a 60 Gallon FOWLR with a very good long term success.<All tangs love to swim and the more space you can give them the better.>  Also, I need to know what order to add these fish in...I am thinking: 1st- Ocellaris Clownfish 2nd- Royal Gramma 3rd- Kaudern's Cardinalfish 4th- Firefish 5th- Flame Angelfish 6th- any 1 of the tangs listed above 7th- Humbug Damselfish Is this a good introduction order? what do you recommend? Thank You Very Much,                          John <I think your order sounds good.  Make sure that those are the only fish for the tank.  That is a lot of fish for the tank but as long as you have enough filtration you should be O.K.  Make sure you do not over feed the tank and your fish should be happy.  MikeB>

Powder Blue Surgeons... best for species tanks? 10/9/04 Thanks for the help, but sad to say that he died later that day. :( <very sorry to hear it, my friend... but it is a notoriously difficult fish to import and keep. Some people do well with them, but most have troubles stemming from some common problems/mistakes (lack of proper quarantine... even if clean, the fish is more easily stressed when thrown into an established tank of fishes than others... truly needs  quiet month or more in isolation to acclimate to captivity and fatten up).. also lack of adequate housing... these surgeons need especially large/long tanks (6 feet minimum IMO for long term success) and very high water flow (20X turnover minimum... else you'll notice pacing behavior). I share your admiration for this fish, but I do not recommend it often to aquarists. Too many die and become a statistic. To better days, Anthony>

Tangs For A 120 Hi crew <Hi! Mike D here> Just starting my aquarium and wondered if there are any tangs suitable for a life in a 4 foot 120 gallon<Sure, any of the smaller species of Acanthurus and Zebrasoma. All Nasos get too large eventually>, this is for future reference just planning my fish list for fowler and some inverts<Understood. This is often a hotly debated issue that I try to stay out of, as it's based on the adult size vs. juvenile size. As a rule tangs tend to grow slowly compared to many other families, but this is offset by the fact that they are often energetic swimmers that like traveling room. While some may tolerate others as small juvenile the vast majority get antagonistic with other tangs as they grow and reach sexual maturity>

What tang will eat Bryopsis? Will any tangs of the genus Zebrasoma eat Bryopsis? << Doubtful.  But possible. >> My tank now looks like a rain forest, where you literally cannot see through the tank ( I was on vacation for a few days). << That is how I like my tank to look.... but the wife sees otherwise. >> I don't want to boil the rock I paid $700 for, and I've wanted a tang anyways. << Don't boil it!  That is bad.  I would rather see you add a bunch of hermits/snails and manually remove the algae.  Or, just learn to love it and live with it. >> I'm looking at either a Z. xanthurum or Z. desjardinii preferably. Any thoughts? << Between the two, I would think the Z. desjardinii would be a better choice, but still not likely.  You could try a rabbit fish, or a Combtooth tang like a Chevron. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Tangs for Smaller Tanks (6/29/04) Which of the tangs would you recommend for a 65-gallon cuz my cousin had a yellow tang in a 30- gallon and it live for about 5-6 years. <Yes, and it probably wasn't a happy camper in there. Plus it only lived 1/2 of a lifetime. Yellow Tangs belong in an absolute minimum 75 gallons.> (Paracanthurus Hepatus) how  much time would I have until I need it to be in a bigger tank? <I'd recommend 120 Gallons in a year.> I have heard of Paracanthurus h. living in a 70-gallon for many years. <And I have heard of children living in closets for years. Sorry, it is wrong to put a fish in a tank that is too small for it.> Can you help me pick a Tang for now and helping me get 1 for another 65 gallon and moving it into a 150 in the future. <Any medium-size Tang will eventually fit in a 150. However, your life circumstances could change before you have a chance to buy a 150. Better to buy fish that will fit in 65G for a lifetime and add the Tang when you get the 150. This is the conscientious, responsible thing to do. I Really love the purple, yellow, and regal since I learned about fish. <Yes, so do I, but just because we find them attractive does not mean we should keep them in improper conditions. Purple Tangs are quite aggressive as tangs go. I would not recommend putting these three together in a 150--I'd suggest 240 or more. Also, bear in mind that Tangs are quite prone to Ich. Read a lot more before you choose. Start with Michael Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium" and Scott W. Michael's "Marine Fishes."> Help me pick 1. <A Kole Tang could go in the 65, but even that is a bit of a pinch. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.> Jahner

YTB Pacific Tang in a small box? Hi, MikeD here again> Thank you for answering my question all the fish u suggested I shouldn't put in I will put in a bigger tank in another point in my life . You didn't answer me about the Paracanthurus hepatus which I read in your site that can grow to 6" in the aquarium but longer in the wild. It was my favorite fish since  I was about 4 years old and I would like to have it in my aquarium even if that means that would be my only fish <You're not going to like this answer either, Sorry. These are beautiful fish but need at least 100 gals IF they make it, and here it's a BIG if as they get ick VERY easily, plus usually do best in seasoned well established tanks (as in running over a year), otherwise it's usually illness after illness with death as the final result. This definitely isn't a beginner's fish> Jahner

Purple tang in a small box? <MikeD here again> sorry for writing too many e-mails but you also forgot to reply about the purple tang.<Don't be sorry about writing the e-mails, as you can't feel as bad as I do having to give you these answers> The dimensions of my tank are 48"x14"x23"<Yep, that's a 65. There really ARE lots of wonderful fish for a tank that size, but most are much smaller, and even there you have to be careful about territoriality. There are many fish that would love a tank that size...all to themselves, and anybody else either dies or gets chased out.  My suggestion is to keep reading and concentrate on smaller fish, and I bet you WILL end up with a grouping you'll be happy with, just don't get depressed.>

Hi I got a saltwater fish stocking question I am going to start a 65 gallon saltwater tank and I need to know which of these fish I list would be the best to choose for the tank: Purple Tang, <I would be cautious of this unless you plan on buying a bigger tank in the future> Yellow Tang <This may work> Regal Tang <I would be cautious of adding this fish unless you plan on buying a bigger tank in the future. For a 65 gallon tank, I would stick with only one tang.> , Powder Blue Tang, <No, this would not be a good choice to add.> Percula Clownfish, <These would be fine, just make sure no other fish can consume them.> Clown Trigger <No, this would not be a good choice to add.> , Black and White Heniochus, <These are very delicate fish. I would hesitate to add them unless you have a very mature aquarium (over 7 months old) with excellent water quality. Make sure you also have good filtration and liverock.> or  a Volitans Lion. <This may be a good addition to add, although watch out for the percula clownfish.> I hope you can help me choose some nice fish for my tank. <The yellow tang, Percula clownfish, Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus), Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto), Kaudern's Cardinal (Pterapogon kauderni), and Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhitus armatus) would all be excellent fish to have for your aquarium. May I ask what the dimensions of the tank are?> Thank You, <No problem. Take Care, Graham.> John

Canister filters and tang choices 6/20/04 Hey guys, just me again, <Hi Jim, Adam here this time.> I appreciate the insights. My system will include a canister (NuClear with just an "air filter" type insert which I will clean every four weeks by trading out a spare and soaking in a chlorine/H2O mixture and air drying out until the next change). When you say adding a canister, what do you mean? <I think that whoever replied before mistyped and meant to say skimmer rather than canister.  I would strongly agree.  You will be much happier and things will be much more stable with a skimmer present.  Although the Remora Pro is an excellent skimmer, it would be much to small for this tank.  Consider one of the EV series (180 perhaps?).  There isn't a hang on on the market that I would consider up to the job of a 129 gallon tank.  Do consider cleaning the canister much more often than monthly.  I generally advise against them because of the maintenance chore they create for what, in my opinion is minimal benefit.> As for a substitute for the Naso, I had a list of alternates in case there was an issue with this guy: Sailfin Tang - (Z. Desjardinii or Z. Veliferum) Scopas Tang (Z. Scopas) Kole's Tang (Yellow eye Tang) Any other suggestions would be appreciated!! <All of the Zebrasomas and Ctenochaetus tangs are generally very invert safe and quite hardy.  Any of them can be recommended, but please do quarantine!> Thanks again and nothing but the best for you and yours,  Jim <Thanks Jim, you too!  Adam>

Tang Stocking 6/17/04 Hello. I love your website and I have another question.  I know you get a lot of emails about tang compatibility and stocking but I have another one. (Sorry.)  I am cycling a 180 right now and I am planning the fish I want to put in. <Thanks and no worries.  We'll let you slide since you get bonus points for planning ahead! Ask away!> The majority of the fish would be tangs because I love tangs. The tangs I am planning to have are yellow tang, Hippo Tang, Naso Tang, powder blue tang, and a Achilles tang. Can these species be put together successfully and what would be the stocking order. <You really will be asking for trouble.  Powder Blue and Achilles tangs are both quite difficult to keep, and when they do thrive, they are very aggressive.> I was thinking the Naso then the hippo, yellow tang, Achilles tang, and then the powder blue. The biggest thing I am worried about is the powder and the Achilles because they are the same genus. <I would not even consider a Powder Blue or Achilles until the tank has been up and running without major problems for at least six months or a year.  Although tank maturity is sort of a vague concept, it really does matter when it comes to sensitive fishes.  At that time, I would choose on or the other, and be prepared to remove any other fish that it is particularly aggressive towards.> But I have always read with large aquariums it is not something to worry about. Is this correct? <It is, but 180 gallons barely qualifies as a large aquarium, especially when it comes to tangs.  To comfortably house all of the fish you want for the long term, think 300+ gallons.> They would be housed with a Volitans lion, Maroon clown, Copper banded butterfly, Yellow long nose butterfly, Picasso trigger, and then added last a queen angel. <Yowza!  That's a lot of fish in a 180!  The butterflies would be at great risk from so many, so very aggressive fish (both from physical attack and feeding competition).  The clown would have to be quite large not to be eaten by the lion.  In general, this is simply too many fish for the size of the tank.> I was also thinking of putting a couple of large LT anemones. Would this be ok? <Probably a very bad idea.  Anemones require bright light (metal halide highly recommended) and butterfly fishes are anemone predators.> Please give me some of you input. And let me no if there is any problem with the fish I am planning of putting in. Thank You Very Much for the Info.  Louis <Sorry for such a negative reply, but I really do want to save you from a lot of heartache.  Please do consider which fish or fishes are your highest priority and build around that.  The Marine section on WWM includes vast amounts of info on almost every popular marine fish.  The FAQ's are full of questions and replies about compatibility.  Please also keep in mind that patience is the absolute most important factor in success and happiness in this hobby!  Best Regards.  Adam>

Tang wanted Hi Robert, <Hi Mark, Graham at your service.> Thanks for writing such a fantastic book (the Conscientious Marine Aquarist). It's helped me no end in setting up my tank. I have one question though, which I am receiving TOTALLY different answers to:- Yellow tang. I hope to keep one in my 38 gallon tank, with my 2 Ocellaris Clowns, Coral Beauty, Wimplefish, and 2 Cleaner Shrimps. My filtration is Eheim 2327 external canister wet/dry, and I have 2 MaxiJet 1200 powerheads. I've heard the Tang is very aggressive and may kill my other fish, and also that it won't live for long at all in my 38 gallon tank. Is this true, or can I have a tang? <I really wouldn't recommend housing a tang in any tank smaller than 48" in length. Tangs are grazing fish which need ample amounts of room to roam. Yes, you can put a tang in a 38 gallon aquarium. But, it would do much better (and most likely healthier) in a bigger aquarium. Instead, you may want to consider other smaller fish which will not outgrow your tank -- Cardinal's, Chromis, Grammas, Basslets, etc. will all do fine in your size aquarium.> Regards, <Take Care, Graham.> Mark Ward

Tangled...(Tang Selection) Hi everyone, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I am trying to re-stock my 135 reef since my Ich disaster last December.  I'm looking to add a couple of tangs.  I added a Kole Tang about a month ago, and  I am looking for another mellow tang that doesn't get huge.  I was thinking about a Powder Brown.  Any thoughts?  Thanks. <Well, about the only other tang that I'd consider in this situation would be the good old Yellow Tang. Not the most exotic fish on the block, but a reliable, hardy, and relatively peaceful addition to your tank! Powder Browns are a bit on the "touchy" side, and I'd be a bit concerned about the difficulty in acclimating this fish to captivity. Yep- I'd go for the Yellow, myself. Hope this helps. Regards, Scott F>

Aggressive Tang in Aggressive Tank What type of Tang would you recommend (if any at all) for a 150 gallon tank that I would like to stock with the following: a Queen Angel a Niger Trigger and a Thalassoma wrasse I like the lituratus (Naso) a lot, but let me know if it's not aggressive enough and another might be better.  Thanks >>You're just about hitting your stocking limit, but I think you could swing a tang alright.  There are many MORE tangs that are aggressive than not.  A Naso would be fine, as would a Sailfin or a Desjardin.  I'd suggest something pretty like a vlamingii, but I think a 150 would actually be a bit slim for this fish.  A couple of real knockouts would be an Acanthurus lineatus (clown) or A. sohal (warning, Sohals are definitely known for the mm.. "d*ckhead factor").  Last, but not least, I think a purple tang could actually hold its own well enough in a setup like this, but would make it among the first additions.  Oh yes, the Thalassoma got the same factor going as the sohal. ;)  Best of luck!  And here's to hoping you don't get one of those wussy Nigers (yes, they do exist).  Marina Brendgol Majewski

Tang Choices For A Medium Sized Tank Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 75 gallon (somewhat reef i.e. mushrooms, polyps) tank. I was wondering which tangs are least prone to Ich as I have seen so many yellows and purples with Ich in aquariums that have ideal filtration and "top notch" food. I have a Scooter Blenny, some damsels, a Coral Beauty, a Maroon Clown and a Sixline Wrasse. As far as coral goes I'm going to stick with mushrooms and polyps. What tang, if any, would be appropriate and least prone to Ich? Thanks, Chris <Well, Chris, in my opinion, almost any tang seems somewhat more susceptible to Ich than other types of fish...I would definitely go with a smaller species, such as the Kole (Ctenochaetus sp.) or  the ever-popular Yellow Tang (Z. flavescens). Both do require their fare share of room, so no more fish in this tank after the tang, and consider the possibility that you might need to move your tang to a larger tank for the long run. Lots of fresh macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, is a plus! Regards, Scott F>

Adding Another Tang (3/13/04) Hello, <Hi. Steve Allen here>   Sorry to have to ask another question.  I have a 75 gallon tank, coming up 9 months old, UV sterilizer, ASU skimmer, Penguin BioWheel filter. Fish: 1 Six-line Wrasse 1- Purple Tang 2- True Percula Clownfish 1- Banggai Cardinalfish (temporary) 1 or 2- Blue Tailed Damsels Live Rock/Live Sand: 80 pounds of Fiji Pink Arag Alive 55 pounds of live rock   I was wondering if I could add 1 Powder Brown Tang ( the hardy kind).   Thanks. Scott. P.S.  I know the Tangs will quarrel. <And you're okay with that?? Why? The short answer is no, not just because the Purple (a rather aggressive fish) might kill it, but also because your tank is a bit too small for a Powder Brown anyway. Putting the two Tangs in this size tank is a recipe for problems. How about a Centropyge angel instead. I'd suggest a smaller butterfly as an alternative, but it really should go in before the Purple Tang.>

Look before you leap...please research before (!) you buy! 2/17/04 Hey there, <howdy> I have to tell you, I love this site. There is an almost unlimited amount of information here and I've definitely put it to use. <good to hear> I do have one question though.  I bought this tang at the LFS for $14 but the catch was they didn't know what it was. There invoice had it listed as assorted tangs. And I've been all over the web looking for a positive id with no luck, please help. Scott Ballantyne 125 g reef <Scott... this story may very well have a sad ending. You have your work cut out for you if nothing else. This is exactly why one should research an animal before they buy it. Your fish is a Vlamingi Naso (juvenile) and reaches 2 feet long as an adult. Some people feel that this fish should not even be imported for private aquarium use. Even if it only gets half of its adult size in time... your 125 gallon aquarium is cramped if not cruel in my opinion as housing for it. I see you state that you've been all over the net looking, but I must say... where? From our site or most any other archive/database you can see that your tang's body shape is unique to the Naso genus. Our archives are filled with advice and occasional pleads with aquarists to use fishbase.org as a research tool to browse for fish IDs. There you will find the following info: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=6024&genusname=Naso&speciesname=vlamingii juv pic: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/PicturesSummary.cfm?StartRow=5&ID=6024&what=species please do be more resourceful and thorough in your searches and above all... do not buy any animal that you do not know how to feed, house or even name. My advice is to see if you can find a better home for this fish (300 gallon plus) in the next year to spare it from stunting or dying prematurely. To you/our future success. Anthony>

Look before you leap...please research before you buy II 2/17/04 Thanks for the quick response.  (Anthony) I feel the need to defend my self though. <no offence intended... but it is what it is. A fish purchased without a name or any concept of adult size/needs> I'm usually very cautious with what I put in my tanks. And I know what the feeding requirements for all my fish are. <very good to hear> I have mostly tangs in the tank. <Ughhh! Mostly tangs?! Not good to hear. Assuming you have one than one of the likely following: Sailfin, blue hepatus, another Naso species like lipstick/lituratus, etc... then you have what is or will be a crowded tank and no proper regard for the cumulative adult sizes of these fishes. Its simply not true that fishes grow to their tanks size. The "wait and see" or "ill get a bigger tank later" approach always ends up abbreviating the life of such crowded fishes. Yet aquarists commonly disregard this because a fish that will grow to 2 feet long but only grows to 6" and dies at 5 years old seems like success. The truth of the matter is that the fish should have lived well over 10 years (actually.... many are on record over 30 yrs old... see the Nancy or Shedd Aquarium longevity records, for example) and I have personally seen a P. hepatus blue tang 26 years old! These fishes can/do stunt and die prematurely> Also I did look at the Vlamingi as a possible match to my fish but I could never find a picture of one that looked like mine. <Hmmm... do use fishbase.org in the future> The other possible match I found on a online retailer (saltwaterfish.com) they had a Lopezi that looked close too. <understood... yet you did recognize it as a Naso, my friend... and any fish atlas or website will show you that the adult size of the majority of Naso species is still 60-100 cm (24 - 40' long) and the few species that are only 12-16" as adults clearly do not look like your  Vlamingi. I'm sorry if this offends you, but frankly... ask yourself if in part you are not defensive for making the wrong/impulsive call? Case in point... you didn't feel the need to share with me that you thought it might be a Lopezi or Vlamingi in your first e-mail.. but you were sure to mention it was only $14. That was an impulse purchase and it now affects the quality of this fishes life and your response to my chagrin over your choice> Then I recently moved , so I had the LFS hold my fish till I could set up the tank and the owner thought it was a Blue spot tang and I cant find any thing but Lopezi under that name. But I am trying really hard to keep the animals I have. <I'm grateful for it... and realize that your response here is out of concern> And at any point I feel that he/she is unhappy I can trade with my buddy at the LFS he has two 300+ gal displays that I'm sure could accommodate. <you cannot gage "happiness" in any fish any more than you can gage developmental (growth) anomalies that will lead to premature death in an improperly stocked aquarium. If the fish is under 7" long in 2-3 years, then it will not see even half of its potential natural lifespan IMO. I'm not trying to irritate you, Scott... but I am disheartened and frankly a bit miffed myself to see aquarists that should know better forget that these are living creatures. For perspective, do us both a favor before you write in next and visit fishbase.org... a bonafide accurate reference... and add up the cumulative potential adult sizes of the fish in your tank... then even cut that number in half, and ask yourself if you'd keep say 3 foot long puppy dog in a 6 foot long cage for life? The ASPCA would not allow it if your sense of ethics did. And so... a blue tang (31 cm), Naso lituratus (45 cm) and Sailfin tang (40cm) added to this Vlamingi now (60 cm) total of 35" of fish at only half-grown/potential. And that's not even counting the yellow tang, etc you have ;) And these fishes have longer swimming ranges than dogs run. They need room to grow and swim dude. This is all about being a conscientious aquarist all the time... even when pretty fish are only $14> Thank you so much for your time, Scott Ballantyne <and I appreciate your concern to reply. You are not the first person to have this conversation with me or others here on the WWM crew. View the FAQs in the archives on this subject and you will see other responses and positions from folks that have made the mistake you have. Lets live and learn. To every day, a better way. Anthony>

Un-Tangled!  Hi again,  <Hey there! Scott F here today!>  Thanks guys for all the great help you have provided me since I am so new at this. The scenario I have right now is this:  55 gallon fish only tank  CPR wet/dry unit with built-in protein skimmer  bag of activated charcoal in sump  bag of phosphate-x in sump  Rio return pump  1 Maroon Clownfish  1 damsel (the blue one with a golden tail)  10 gallon water changes weekly  My question is this: I want to add a tang of some sort. And I read that tangs need a lot of circulation and pristine water conditions.  <They sure do. Keep the water as clean and well-oxygenated as possible>  Is my current CPR wet/dry sump adequate?  <It's a fine system, once the skimmer is dialed in>  I want to keep equipment (tubes, etc.) to a minimum inside my aquarium. I do have an Eheim canister sitting on the side that I have never used (bought it and then was convinced to go with the wet/dry), should I, and/or do I really need to put it in use as well?  <If well maintained, supplemental mechanical/chemical filtration is very helpful in maintaining good water quality>  Also, aside from the yellow tang, what other tang would you recommend?  <To tell you the truth, if it were me, I would not keep a tang in this sized tank. Sure, you could start one in this tank, if you have a larger tank to move it into in the near future. Unfortunately, few people seem to have that larger tank when it's needed, so I encourage most people to shy away from tangs if they have anything less than a 75-90 gallon tank. These fish require a lot of physical "space" in order to be truly comfortable in captivity. If you've seen their range in the wild, you'll understand what I mean. This may go against popular thinking, but you asked my opinion, and I will give it to you! Tangs are great fish, but we need to think of their long-term needs when planning on housing them>  Something that is not blue or gray since that is the background of my aquarium.  <If you were starting a tang in this tank (notice I said "starting"?), I'd go for the Yellow Tang. Just a great fish!>  Or any other nice flat fish that is bright (i.e. red, orange, yellow)? I also enjoy the triggers but so far I have not found any that would be suitable for my relatively small aquarium.  <Correct...Good restraint. You may be able to accommodate one of the smaller and less aggressive filefishes (like one from the Paraluteres family), or perhaps a small puffer, like the Canthigaster papuensis). Just some thoughts here...>  Thanks a bunch again! You guys are great! J.C.  <Thanks for the kind words, J.C. Best of luck with your search! Regards, Scott F> 

More Tang Anyone?  >Hi, crew!  >>Hello!  >I currently have 6 fish and I want one more -- a Red Sea Sailfin tang. Do you think my system (200 gallon display and 100 g sump and fuge) can handle it?  >>Yes.  >And is it compatible with my existing tangs living happily together. My current list:  Purple tang  Blue hippo tang  Potter's angel  Pygmy angel  clownfish  Foxface Rabbitfish  Aryeh B.  >>The other two tangs, most notably the Purple tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum), may be aggressive with the Desjardin. Your best chances of success are if you can utilize their tendency to not quarrel if there is a significant disparity in size. In a perfect world one or the other will be much smaller than the other, preferably the established animal. You may need to remove the Purple for the first week or two upon introduction of the Desjardin (after proper quarantine, of course) to allow it to settle in. Barring this, keep a very close eye the first few days, as long as they can settle their differences within that time, there should be few in the future. Marina 

Indian Ocean v. Red Sea Sailfin 11/7/03  I think this link answers the question below:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm  <Okey-dokey>  Desjardin's tang is both from the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.  <yes... and more importantly, is no longer a valid species but rather a synonym (same species) with Z. veliferum (common Sailfin)>  Yet the LFS sells the Red Sea for more than the Indian Ocean.  <correct... extra cost of shipping - the most significant part of the cost of any fish>  I want it to eat bubble algae. Does one do a better job than the other?  <it is possible that a race of fishes (same species...different locale) is evolved or predisposed to eating some prey over another. There is a strong belief in aquaristics that this is the case with the Red Sea Sailfin>  I also don't want it to get too big. Does one stay smaller than the other?  <nope... they are all too big and too aggressive for most aquariums (under 100 gallons or larger if mixed with other tangs). TO control bubble algae, treat the problem (nutrients, lack of QT, etc) and not the symptom (the bubbles) for best results. Anthony>

Tangs Hi, <Hello there>   How long do regal/ yellow tangs live for? <Regal Tangs, Acanthurus lineatus, (Mis-id... common name problem... the writer meant Paracanthurus hepatus here... aka the Palette, Yellow-Tail Blue... a much hardier species) have a dismal survival history. Most only live a few months in captivity. Yellow Tangs, Zebrasoma flavescens are much more sturdy, can live a few to several years in captivity. You can look up their length, age data by their common or scientific names on fishbase.org, and more information on natural life spans if you'd like. Bob Fenner>

You've been misquoted! Hello guys... specifically Bob.  Are you in any way affiliated with marine depot live? <The owner, Ken Wong, his girlfriend/fiancé Amy and others there (esp. Alvin) are friends, associates in the trade>   The reason I ask is that several of their fish descriptions are copied literally word for word from the pages of your website.  Many of the photographs are the same as well.  Of particular concern to me is the fact that they have misquoted your description of the powder blue tang.  Below is your description of the fish, and in caps is the part they chose to include on their site: ACANTHURUS LEUCOSTERNON (BENNETT 1833), THE POWDER BLUE TANG;  besides being notorious carriers of parasitic diseases, most specimens don't even make it through the capture and shipping stages. But'? some of you are screaming, "this isn't a difficult fish! a'? I'VE KNOWN PEOPLE TO KEEP THE POWDER BLUE FOR YEARS! THOSE HEALTHY FEW THAT ARE WELL RECEIVED AND CARED FOR - WITH LOTS OF LIVE ROCK AND ALGAE IN LARGE, WELL-ESTABLISHED REEFS - DO occasionally LIVE FOR EXTENDED PERIODS. Needless to say, the omission of the first section, along with their cleverly leaving out the word "occasionally," completely changes the meaning of your words.  You would think if they were going to lie about the ease of caring for this fish, they could at least write it themselves and not take your words and mess them up.  Also, you are not cited anywhere on the site that I could see, so I guess they are guilty of plagiarism as well (is that spelled right?) In conclusion... sue the pants off these guys.  They must be loaded, right?  Well, maybe I'm going a bit far, but it upset me to see them repeatedly copying you word for word and in this one instance (and maybe others) completely altering the context and meaning of your advice.  You've been a big help to me and my tank in the past, and I thank you all. keep up the good work! -Mario <The company did buy a bunch of images from us for internet use, but not our "spiels"... will bring this to Ken's attention. Thank you for the head's up. Bob Fenner>

YELLOW TANG I have been wanting to get a yellow tang for quite some time now, but am reluctant because of their being prone to Ich.<most tangs, angels and b/f get Ich...they should be Quarantined as should all fish>  If a tang is properly quarantined and does well, are the odds still good that it will get Ich somewhere down the road;<well it depends... there are many factors involved here, stress, other fish, etc> even with good tank maintenance and water quality? <well if you qt this fish for a period of a month and you do regular maintenance and you only keep "one tang" in the aquarium, I give you good odds that this fish does not get Ich. IanB>  thanks, James

- Tang Switcheroo - Hey guys, I recently bought a A. japonicus from Marine Depot. Well it turns out they sent me A. nigricans  because mine has only the little white mark under the eye and no orange on the tail. My question is since the one they sent me is much harder to keep what can I do to ensure its health? <Well... I'd go as far as either shipping it back or refusing payment... this type of livestock switch while possibly just human error, is not in your best interest.> It has been eating a lot of algae from my live rock but I am having trouble getting it to eat anything else. I have tried Mysis shrimp, brine, and chopped krill. It has ignored the first two and just kept spitting out the krill. What else can I try?? <I'd stick with the algae for now... you can get it in sheets - Nori, for rolling Sushi, etc. - is an excellent choice.> One weird thing I noticed is when I go near the tank it will come up, look at me and swim near the glass, but when I put food in the tank it turns almost white with black stripes and races from one side of the tank to the other!! What does this mean?? <The color change is just a fright pattern - most fish take a couple of weeks to get used to their new surrounds. No worries.> Thanks for all your help!  Derrick <Cheers, J -- >

Tangs and thangs cheers and beers, <Cheers! Ryan with you> I have been wanting a tang for a long time now. <Wonderful addition if you have the facilities> I have a 150 gal reef tank with excellent water quality and enough live rock to choke a donkey. <Sounds good> I have many soft and stony corals that are all thriving very well and .......... wait.... I should just get to the damn question.... <No hurry!> I love tangs but have read that a lot of them are prone to Ich. <With a proper quarantine tank available, you should be fine.  Some tangs are much more vulnerable than others.>  I would of course quarantine him but what would be a good choice for this tank. It is hard to decide because most of them get huge. <Good point, but in a 150 you still have lots of potential.  I really like Purple Tangs, Zebrasoma xanthurum.  Stunning in a reef aquarium.>  I love the regal tangs and the Naso's, would either be a consideration of my tank..... if not could you give me some good choices????? <Regal is a possibility, but I'd say no to a Naso.  It would fit, but likely would be cramped in adulthood.  Tangs of a smaller nature will be a good fit: Kole, Regal Blue, Brown Scopas all good choices.  Best of luck! Ryan B.> aloha, Ryan

Sohal Tang Feeding >I have kept a 5 inch Sohal Tang for about 3 weeks now in my 180 gallon (FOWLR - w/ plenty of different types of algae). Thus far, the sohal has only eaten the algae off the back of the tank and some Nori Seaweed soaked with ZOE, tied to a rock (3 times a day). I have tried feeding just about everything, from Brine Flakes, Formula 2, Formula 1, Angel Formula, Split Peas and broccoli ...but he will not accept any of these other foods, just algae. How do I get the Sohal to start eating foods (meaty stuff) from the water column? >>You can't, because.  Even though they're considered more "omnivorous" than other tangs, they're still primarily vegetarians.  You're doing the best thing you can by *offering* these other foods (the Formula foods will be better for him than the carnivorous feeds).  Also, props for using the Zoe (we also really like Selcon) for his Nori.  However!  PLEASE do not continue the practice of introducing animals into your display that have not gone through quarantine (30 days is usual protocol). >I also tried Brine Shrimp but he ignores that too.  I would imagine he will develop some deficiencies if he does not get some other types of foods. He does have a few blotches on him from time to time but no parasites. I figured that must be because of diet. Thanks. >>Diet and water quality, but if you make good use of quarantine the day you catch it before it enters your display is the day you'll be glad.  It may be that the fish is still acclimating to captivity, I would give him time, and continue to provide as much Nori and other algal sources for him as possible.  I would not use broccoli, but I would use romaine lettuce for free feed.  Do expect him to become a poop machine when free feeding, however, it's really best for these truly horse like animals, both physiologically and psychologically.  Best of luck!  Marina

- Re: Powder Blue Tang - What is a more resilient tang to own, I don't think he make it, I took your advice, but he looks pretty much on the other side already... I'm totally bummed! <I'm sorry to hear...> I also lost the strawberry, the royal Gramma disappeared also, and the dragonet floated today,  do dead urchin become poisonous? <A possibility... no other signs/spots?> I now feel clueless and helpless and irresponsible! <It's an honest and frequent mistake. Here's another link for you with some of the better Acanthurus tangs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm > Ryan <Chin up. Cheers, J -- >

The First Tang! Hello Crew, Before I ask my question I would like to thank you for all of your patience in answering all of my questions up until now. It is great to have a place to go to get answers! <Thanks for turning to us! We're all learning every day- that's what this site is all about! Scott F. at your service today> I have a 75 gallon fish only tank (no fish yet).  Before I even decided to try salt water fishkeeping I had always wanted to have a tang; but after doing some research I have found that they are susceptible to Ich.  I've even read stories about some getting Ich just because their tank was cleaned! <Well, unfortunately, these are not unusual stories. Tangs require stable water conditions, lots of oxygen, and plenty of space.> I don't want to start out my tank with problems if I can help it.  Are there any tangs you would recommend that are less prone to Ich than others, and that are fairly easy for a beginner to keep?  Thank You. James Hall <Well, James- As you realized, tangs can be rather touchy fishes, and require optimum conditions to thrive. I suppose the most reliable and durable of the tangs we keep has to be the Yellow Tang (Z. flavescens). Since the majority of the aquarium specimens come from Hawaii, where only ethical collection practices are permitted, you'll be virtually assured of receiving a specimen that has not been subjected to cyanide or other chemicals. Also, because of the Islands proximity to the mainland, these guys tend to arrive at retailers in better condition than most imported fishes do, thus subjected to less stress before you purchase them! It is susceptible to Ich and other illnesses, just like any of the tangs kept in aquaria. However, if provided with the proper diet (rich in vegetable matter, such as Gracilaria macroalgae, sushi Nori, etc.), steady temperature, lots of room, and good water quality, they can do very, very well for many years. Also, care in selection of your specimen, and full quarantine of your new fish will be critical to your success. Read up on this species on the WWM site. Have fun selecting your new tang! Regards, Scott F.>

Naso lituratus Hello Bob <Sanjay> I know nearly everyone who contacts you starts off by stating they have your book TCMA.  I am no exception. Anyway I'm looking for some advice regarding the above species. <Okay> My history  Has a Naso for 10 months, wife and I named it lipstick. <Good name>   I noticed one day he was fat, the next he went skinny, esp. lower front where the intestines are located.  He would not eat, even though he had a willingness to do so. <Not uncommon> He died within five days.  I was told by LFS it was intestinal worms. (this was not confirmed). <Possibly> After vowing never to keep this species again, and especially after reading the info on your website, I decided to have another go.  This was six weeks ago. I saw a lovely Naso at LFS( fell in love with it) and bought it. was feeding well a fish store nice and fat. Got him home fed on meaty foods like brine but did not touch algae Nori etc.  it seems he preferred the brown algae in the tank. <Yes... a key kind of ingredient in this species diet. I have seen them stick their heads out of the water in Hawai'i (where I am now) to gain access to brown kelp> after all brown algae had been exhausted he took to Nori etc.  Then flake foods with relish. <Good> due to my previous experience with a Naso I was paranoid that the same would happen to this fish.  however I gave it special attention ensuring if feed several times a day with Nori by hand.  This fish was spectacular it would not even get frightened when I put a net into the tank. after six weeks one morning I noticed he had got thin.  I whipped him out of the tank and into the quarantine tank.  Feed him some food soaked in Piperazine. <A good choice again. Either this or di-N-butyl tin oxide... or other Anthelminthics> Next day getting worse and not eating.  third day it was suggested that he had an intestinal blockage therefore used Epsom salts in water and as bath.  Still not eating.  the next day I could see worms in the water. I took the Naso and the worms to the vet who confirmed roundworm and administered some deworming treatment by mouth. Next day seemed okay, still not eating but I added glucose to the water and this helped colour him up. <Yes... a very good "trick"... one company's welfare is based entirely on it> By the end of the day he was dead.  He got sucked up into a power head and this finished him off. anyway to my questions  Although it is stated that Naso are difficult to keep.  I can help thinking If they weren't so prone to intestinal worms.  then it would be easier to look after them, especially after they start feeding like mine did. <Agreed. This is a situation of many factors, co-factors... including the stress/damage of collection, holding, shipping, confinement in generally way-too-small systems, low oxygen (commonly), starvation... all conspire to result in losses> Other questions apart from veterinary preps for worms are there any specialist aquatic ones? <There are a few... but mostly inappropriate (too dangerous, expensive) or unavailable to hobbyists. If you can get to a large (college) library, look for the works of Edward Noga re fish diseases.> Over here in the UK  there are tougher regulations regarding medications, I believe in the states it is easier to buy medications like anti-biotics etc. <Perhaps, but still not simple> I am over in the states in October therefore will try to buy some things the USA have that we don't in the UK. <Okay... will restate that products with or of Piperazine are likely your  best bet.> I am hell bent on getting another Naso, but will de-worm it before it goes into the main display.  I wanted to know if you have had any success in de-worming and what's the best thing to use. <I mostly encourage folks on the supply end to do what they can to avoid damage/stress> I really love Nasos as I've seen them in the wild in the Maldives while on honeymoon.  My wife adores them also. <A gorgeous species> Any help would be greatly appreciated . Regards Mr. Sanjay Patel. <A request: that you "write up" and send in your observations, notes on success and trials to "Aquarist and Pondkeeper" or other hobbyist publication for others edification. Bob Fenner>

TANGS, TANGS, TANGS CREW: It seems as though sometimes the dailies are filled with Tang questions, or maybe that is in my head. Most all I've ever heard as far as stocking is: "not for that size tank".  So, in the spirit of the Centropyge Angels, are there ANY Tangs that can go into a 55 gallon FOWLR?  Thanks, Rich. <Really only the smaller Zebrasomas IMO> PS: when discussing FOWLR, do you pronounce it like "foul-er", "bowler" or neither?  I told my LFS guy I had a "foul-er" and he said: "what?". <Don't know that this acronym is actually "spoken" (other than just written). If anything I guess it would be pronounced as its individual letters: "F-O-W-L-R" Bob Fenner>

Any More Tangs? Hello WWM Crew!! <Hello Andrew> I was looking over the sight and thought this would be a perfect place to ask my question.  I have a 125 gallon SW setup with about 30lbs of live rock (which I am adding very slowly) in a Fish Tank (that will eventually be a reef tank).  I have a Sailfin Tang 6" and a Powder Blue Tang 4" and they get along great.  I also have a 4" Zebra Angel, 3 damsels (small), 2 clowns (small), 2 flame fish (small), small sleeper, and cleaner shrimp.  I want to know if I could add 1 more Tang (Clown, Naso, Lipstick, Regal, etc.) to the tank.  If not, what would you recommend? <None of these... the Acanthurus and Naso's get too big for the "room" you have left. If any tang species, I would look to the genus Ctenochaetus here. Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ctenocha.htm Bob Fenner> Andrew Gieselmann

- Blue Spot Tang - Yes, that's the right fish.  I have searched the net for a photo of this and found various ones but they have different names against this fish. I bought the fish from the local marine stockist, who claimed it was either a mimic tang or a blue spot tang.  I hadn't seen it anywhere else before. As far as I was aware, a mimic tang is yellow (from what i have seen in the books and on the web) The shop had it in a tank of approx 2ft. with the usual lighting, but the fish had no rocks to hide behind, was gasping and in shock, by the look of the colour.  I finally managed to talk the guy into letting me have him for ?20.  The fish is approx 6" in length and I have put him in a 4ft tank, on his own, with rocks and low lighting, his breathing is now normal and his colour is a darker brown with blue spotting on the face and blue around the mouth (exactly like the fish in the photograph).  He/She is eating well and will take frozen brine shrimp, but is not too keen on larger bits of fish like cockles etc. I would like to have a bit more information on this fish if possible, and how much greens etc he should be fed. <My friend, I gave you all the information I had - these are not often available in the trade. I would think it is a safe bet to treat it like other Naso tangs which are documented here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Naso. htm > Will the fish be suitable for a reef tank, I have a 5ft x 2ft x 2.5 reef tank with plenty of swimming room and plenty of living rock fro grazing, for a fish his size. <Just recall that they top out at almost two feet!> There are a few corals, but mainly xenia covered rocks.  Will he be suitable for a tank which also houses a couple of yellow tangs? <Probably, but there's no way for me to say for certain. Please read that link I included.> regards Amir Morsi <Cheers, J -- >

Which Tang? I have a 72 gallon tank and I would like to keep a Tang. I was thinking of a yellow, a Naso, a Kole or a regal (1 of these - not all four). Any thought on which will be the best? <All tangs need a tank of at least 75 gallons or more. The Naso needs much larger tank. If your tank isn't huge, skip the Naso> I already have a coral beauty, 2 Firefish, a clown and a scooter blenny. Also, I know tangs are prone to getting ick. <You want to know the "secret" to having healthy fish? Spend a lot of time in the store watching your prospective purchase swim and interact with other fish. I never buy a fish without spending at least 2 hours watching it in the store...never buy a fish that arrived at the store two or three days ago. Any flashing, shaking, scratching, lethargic behavior, unusual aggressiveness etc. can be determined from observation before purchase. Spots, discolorations, lumps, etc. will also exclude a potential purchase. Develop high standards BEFORE you buy. Quarantining after purchase is helpful>. Besides reducing stress and maintaining water quality, <Keep your tank temp absolutely stable 24/7, use top-off water of the same temp, changing water should be of same temp, PH, and salinity. Grow some algae in the tank for natural foraging> are there any preventative measures that can be taken? <Listed above...> Thanks for your help, <You're more than welcome! David Dowless> Jerome

Re: mustard tang Saw on the web you have a mustard tang or white spotted tang.  I am receiving 1 today; any advice? Thanks, Lee Larson <Hi Lee, Surf over to WetWebMedia.com and check out Tangs and their cultural requirements.  Make sure you have enough room, proper food and environment for the type of fish you wish to keep. It is best to research each fish before you buy!  Craig>

Tangs In A Box? Hi there, <HI! Scott F. here tonight!> I'm wondering if you can give me your opinion on housing a yellow tang and regal tang in the same 55 gallon aquarium that measures 4 feet long with 50 lbs of LR? Advisable? Silly? Thank you :) <Well, I wouldn't call it silly, but I would not recommend more than one tang in this sized aquarium. Tangs need a tremendous amount of space, high quality water conditions, and frequent feedings. When you factor in the room taken up by live rock, and the presence of other possible tankmates, and a 55 simply is not large enough for more  than one tang. Quite honestly, I wouldn't even think of housing the regal tang in anything less than a 6 foot tank. They can reach almost a foot in the wild, and to try to confine them in a small aquarium is inhumane, IMO. I'm really glad that you are investigating the issue before purchasing these fish! You're doing the hobby and your animals a great service! I don't want to discourage people from keeping tangs, but most people don't realize the responsibility that goes with keeping this unique family of fishes. Good luck in your future efforts!

Tangs Do you think a Powder Blue Tang and an Achilles tang could get along together in a 200 gallon tank?  It is 7 feet long, and has two separate rock structures; one on each side.  Please be blunt with your answer because I do not want to chance it too much! <Well, I give you better then fifty percent odds... more important to your potential success is first finding/selecting initially healthy specimens... then doing your best to quarantine, harden them before introduction into this system... You're likely aware that these are not easily kept disease-free species... Good luck. Bob Fenner> Thanks! D

Tank of tangling tangs? I really appreciate your time and helpfulness. <our pleasure... and thanks to you for caring to help yourself and your charges> I have a few more questions and some info for you if you don't mind. You wanted to know the source of the fishes/fibs. The regal was bought 2 yrs. ago according to my wife who had the receipt. We purchased it at The Fish Store and More in Buckhead. It's probably listed as Atlanta though. They had colorful writing on the tank that said "tank raised" and they were all very small. We paid $50 for him. Looks like we got ripped. <wow... ya. It seems quite possible that this LFS exploited the appearance of tiny tangs and marketed them inappropriately. At one point some years ago... folks in Puerto Rico were growing out larval caught fishes too... but again, not tank-bred.. although in the loosest definition of the word I guess you could say "tank-raised". The bottom line is that you currently have  healthy tang at any rate. Lets enjoy it> The Naso came from the store we usually go to that is all marine called Marine and Tropical in Marietta. If you link to the Ecosystem site and click on dealers they are listed there as one of the dealers in Ga. They told us the Naso was tank raised, <it certainly is recent enough that they may have got this tang from ERI... it may be "tank-raised" by the same definition above> they also knew what else was in my tank and said that the three tangs would get along. <no worries... but we do disagree on these point. It is an unnatural mix (they would never congregate so closely in the wild). And my argument would be that there are so many beautiful fish available to us that DO get along naturally (from different and non-competitive families), why should any of us bother to stress a gaggle of angels, butterflies or tangs to live together? Higher incidences of disease (Ich), poor growth, etc for it> They do for now, hopefully it will stay that way. Do you think they will be okay until and after I get the new tank? <I do believe that you have a very good chance (likely in fact) of these fishes to continue to live peacefully together. The blue tang can be a bully if it outgrows the others in time (at pace)... but the situation is not so worrisome as having a Sohal, Sailfin, Clown or Purple tang... they are just plain mean as they get older> This store has recently changed ownership and I'm not sure the new owners know much about the hobby. I hope this helps you. Now on to my last few queries.  You say I should be doing weekly water changes. Do these need to be 20-25% or because of the frequency should they be less? <depends on water quality of course... can be smaller while the fishes are still small. Larger ones will support you if your goal is growth (by diluting noxious elements to the fishes health/growth)> Do the water changes need to be done weekly just until things straighten out in the tank, and then go back to my tri-weekly schedule? Or, do the water changes need to be done weekly until I get a new skimmer, and then go back to my schedule? <there is no hard and fast rule here. In any aquarium (fresh, salt, pond or brackish)... small weekly water changes are always better than large monthly water changes. Its just good husbandry. No worries about the 3-4 week schedule though. Do the best you can> Could you please recommend a better skimmer? <tons of info in our archives on feedback about various skimmers. Many under $200 are complete junk. Some are good but require daily adjustments to produce daily skimmate. I favor saving up for a better skimmer that requires little or no adjustments. Euroreef tops my list. Aqua C, Klaes, Tunze all rank high. AquaMedic and Turboflotor aren't too far behind but require some modifications (see 'Net).  However... I would not want or take any of the following for free (too much hassle, unreliable, a lot of negative feedback heard, etc): SeaClone, Prism, Red sea/Berlin or Kent> I will start using Kalkwasser and plan on making my own doser out of a gallon water jug. I'm sure all the changes for the better will do wonders for my tank. Thank you so much for your time. Mark. <excellent... and best regards>

Acanthurus japonicus and Zebrasoma xanthurum compatibility! Hey Craig, It's me again with another question (hopefully not another problem). I got an Acanthurus japonicus today as an early Christmas present from a friend (according to him, he saw the tang and it was on sale so he bought it for me). I have the tang in my 10 gal QT right now. Now here's the problem, I ordered a Zebrasoma xanthurum  yesterday and it is going to be delivered next week. Are they going to be fine in a 10 gal for 3 weeks during quarantine. I ordered a small purple tang (1-1.5 in) and the powder brown is about 2.5 in. I'm hoping that it's not going to be a problem. I really like the powder brown tang and it's a gift. They are going to be housed in my 90 gal tank 3 weeks after the purple tang's quarantine. I've decided that I'm only going to have these 2 tangs and 1 yellow wrasse for my 90 gal reef. Is this going to be a problem? thanks again.........Jun <Hi Jun! It all depends on the individuals. They may do alright in tight quarters or.....maybe not. I would time the QT from the addition of the latest fish. So, at least two weeks after the last fish added to QT.  Give them some plastic plants and some PVC pipe fittings to hide/hangout in, this may help.  Move a few things around when you add the purple so they are both off-balance a bit. Be ready to buy another small QT.  Let us know how it goes.  Craig>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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