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FAQs about the Feeding Tangs 2

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

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

Most Tangs are largely herbivorous and should be offered appropriate greens daily. Barry Neigut of Clams Direct here with "Oscar".

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Caulerpa in a DT with tangs?       12/21/16
I have always loved the look of Caribbean reefs and would like to include vegetation in my 220 gallon mixed LPS/soft coral display tank. I also love watching the antics of tangs and am planning on including a few in this build. I have read several posts noting that tangs have kept Caulerpa (C. mexicana and C. prolifera, specifically) growth in check. However, most articles don't mention biological/herbivore controls and simply say "Don't do it". Do you have any thoughts on this?
<Some species, individual Tangs will eat "some" Caulerpas; but not all of either>
Are there similarly hardy and palatable plants I should be considering instead?
<Ah yes; for looks there are MANY choices, for function, Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha species are faves. These are gone over quite a bit on WWM if you care to delve into the subject>
Thank you for your time?
<Welcome? Bob Fenner>
Re: Caulerpa in a DT with tangs?       12/21/16

Bob! Thank you for the quick response and my apologies for the errant question mark.
<Heee! Figured it was an error>
I have searched through the WWM faqs and articles (for which I am eternally grateful) and haven't noticed/understood the answers so I apologize if I missed the appropriate posts.
<No worries; let's see if we can get you the information you're looking for here>
I was looking into the gracilaria in the DT but I'm a bit concerned the tangs would over-graze it.
<Yes to this. Need to raise elsewhere... like an illuminated sump, refugium, and only add to the main/display tank what you want consumed>
Assuming moderately high LED lighting for corals in a 72 x 24 x 30 tank, how much established Gracilaria would be recommended to persist, assuming 3-5 tangs (Likely candidates are Hippo, Yellow, Sailfin, & Convict)...
<As stated, raise macrophytes that are palatable elsewhere. NOT in the main tank>
and am I correct in assuming live is usually preferred (by the fish) over freeze-dried?
<Generally yes; though algae consuming fishes will learn to, eat dried algae with gusto>
I've also looked at Chaeto but are there forms that wouldn't trap detritus or which grow more...leaf like?
<Not so much as "spaghetti" like>
What about rooted Sargassum or anchored Halymenia?
<These and other purposeful algaes can be grown, used for a range of ornament to food... The browns/Phaeophytes, like Sargassum are a bit harder (than reds, most greens) to culture... Need/use quite a bit of iodine (ide-ate actually)>
There seems to be too little applied information available...or I'm just not finding it.
<Useful data, intelligent anecdotal info. is about; but not easily found. There are some good books, specialty websites like Advanced Aquarist, Reefs.com, ReefBuilders... to ask at (bb's) and read archives. Do send along specific questions!>
Thank you, again, for all your input!
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Gracilaria for feeding Tangs  10/15/13
Greetings Bob & Crew!
 <Hey Joe, where you goin' with that fish net in your hand, dun dah dah dah dah>
Hope that this email finds you in good spirits and health!
 <Ah yes; thank you>
Just a quick question today. I've had great success with growing red Gracilaria sp. algae in my 2 refugiums connected to the 155 gallon display.
The tank is only 2 months old and has no corals or fish yet, only snails to battle the diatoms. In the future I will be adding at least 2 tangs to the display and just wanted to pick your brain as to which would be the most suitable to dine on Gracilaria. From reading my beloved copy of "Reef Invertebrates",
<Oh! Recently found a case in the garage... New copies are being offered on Amazon.com for a low starting price of 84 US!>
I've learned that Tangs are often specific with the type of algae they consume.
<Ah yes>
Bob did an awesome job specifying which Tang eats turf, bubble, hair, and other algaes. However, I didn't find information in regards to which species often consumes Gracilaria. From my reading, most Tangs are likely to accept it, especially live, but I would like to go beyond this and purchase one that likely specifically eats this algae in nature.
 <Yes to this as well. The genus is quite large (a few hundred described species) w/ some being more palatable than others... "the" Ogo is often taken readily by most all...>
Taking advantage of nutrient recycling is a great concept and I'm hoping to indefinitely continue the cycle with this system.
Thanks so much for everything you've done for the hobby!
Joe Westwood
<Ah, welcome. My first choices in tangs in general are members of the genera Ctenochaetus and smaller sized Zebrasomas... there are others; gone over in articles, FAQs files archived on/as WWM. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Gracilaria for feeding Tangs  10/15/13

Thank you Bob!
 <Welcome Joe>
I will check out the WWM articles more carefully. Definitely adding a Ctenochaetus sp. to the tank for diatom control. I'm hoping for a Chevron but the pocketbook is leaning towards a Kole!
 <Both fine choices>
Any idea on how the Paracanthurus sp. would take to Gracilaria?
<Yes; eat with gusto>
 I was hoping to add one of these guys despite their reputation for getting sick more often.
<Better than a few others...>
However, I have read that they feed more on Zoo-plankton as compared to other Tang species.
 <Mmm, not really... only one species of Surgeon is mostly carnivorous, and that species of Acanthurus doesn't make it into the trade>
Thank you!!
<Cheers, BobF>

Sesame Seed / Olive Oil for Tangs  9/3/13
Hey WWM Crew,
<Hey Ryan>
I picked up some dried seaweed (roasted laver) for my Desjardini Sailfin Tang and realized after opening it that it has sesame seed oil and olive oil on it. Is this ok for the fish to eat? Can I bake it off and have it be
ok? Or maybe towel dry it? The sheets have quite a bit of oil on them.
<Unfortunately such oils are NOT okay to put in our tanks; and can't be "baked away". The real issue is that they coat the surface (air water interface) greatly discounting gaseous exchange. I'd eat them myself instead (I live in SD as well, and buy a good deal of my sushi supplies at Restaurant Depot if you can get in>
I appreciate the help, thanks!
Ryan W
San Diego, CA
<There's a bit of an interesting story of how human-intended processed algae got into the trade... Some friends in LA (Tideline, Marty and Dennis...) and friend Chris Turk (w/ his wife started, ran Ocean Nutrition), met up w/ a bunch of untreated (non-flavoured) Nori/Porphyra...
Later (as usual) Julian and Danny (2 li'l squishies) copied the idea, better packaging. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

The Stubborn Tang; not fdg. post Cu exposure      7/4/12
Hello crew!  i have an interesting predicament, so I'm hoping you will be able to help!
<Me too>
Here's the story:  i have a 5'' yellow tang in my 90g DT (150g total system) tank, and he wont eat for me recently.  I've had him since February this year, and until about 2 weeks ago, he's been acting....off.  When i first got him he had some mild HLLE which with lots of seaweeds, soaked in Selcon and Mysis and formula 2, he had a great recovery, almost complete turn around of the HLLE.  About 3 months ago the tank was hit with Ich, and then promptly treated by moving all fish to a QT and followed with copper treatment and a fallow tank for 7 weeks.
<The Cu exposure will very commonly affect tangs as you describe... make them anosmotic, and worse, kill off necessary intestinal fauna... Need to replenish... By adding a Tang species that does have such in its gut. Or moving the Yellow Tang into a system w/ such "critters" living there>
 After full recoveries and such.
all fish were returned and everything has been fine up until now.
I noticed the tang acting more lethargic than normal at lights on for a few days to start, and him bumping into the rock work occasionally, so i was worried his eyes were possibly blinded by the lights for some reason, so i lowed the lighting levels and that didn't change it.  then a few days later i noticed faint red mark, mostly around his tail and dorsal fin- at this point he was eating, but not as vigorously.  a few days later he stopped eating completely and as almost completely receded into the cave network in my rocks. there was a period of about 5 days, a week ago that he seemed to have some problems staying upright while not swimming, turning completely on 90 degrees on his 'side' and once and a while to nearly 120 and then quickly righting him self - this symptom has gone away recently.
now, almost 2 weeks since seeing him last eat, his HLLE is back with almost full force, if not worse, and i cannot get him to eat anything, even doused in garlic / Selcon.  Im quite worried.
<You should be>
Param.s: 0amm/nitrite, 5-10 nitrate, 80 F, .028 salinity (a little high, evaporation is...being difficult, slowly lowering to .026)
<1.    >
I would remove him to QT but I'm afraid moving him may do more harm then good, and all the other tankmates are looking fine and dandy ( 3'' hippo Tang, 3 teal Chromis, 1 blue damsel, 1 fire-fish, 2 peppermint shrimp, and a serpent-star).
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, like Rabbits (lagomorphs), Termites... and many other examples, Acanthuroids have live G.I. symbionts... that are too-easily killed off w/ copper exposure... You need to put the fish in a situation where they can become reinoculated... The Tang will "pick up" these from the substrate.
Bob Fenner>

Feeding Marine Fish, Tangs, Spectrum brand     1/30/12
Hello All,
Hope everyone is well. 
I usually like to get fish that are smaller (hopefully younger?)
 and watching them grow.  I've had good success with this in the freshwater arena, but struggle with this in certain saltwater fish.  For example I've got a Hippo Tang that I've had for over a year.  I probably bought it at about 2½ and now I'd say it's about 3½ tops.  It's been this size for a while and doesn't look like it's going to grow much more. 
<Mmm, it can...>
 I also have a Purple Tang that I've had for over 3 years.  It grew a few inches but it's probably only about 4 or 5� now.  Both seem extremely healthy and eat vigorously every day.  Problem is I don't think they're growing anymore and neither is the sizes I often see.  I must be doing something wrong (I've had this issue with other marine fish as well (come to think of it, they're mostly Tangs).
<Do supplement or switch your main/base food to Spectrum pelleted>
I've got a 135G reef tank with only about 8 fish in it so I don't think it's space or overcrowding.  I feed them a nice sized sheet of seaweed (Mostly Green, but also red & Brown) every day. 
<Almost zip nutritive value... akin to you and I living on iceberg lettuce>
I also give them some other type of
food, usually frozen (Brine Shrimp, Mysis Shrimp or a combo cube with Spirulina in it).  Occasionally instead of the frozen cubes I'll feed them pellets.  I certainly don't think I'm under feeding them.  They're often fat with food.
<Mmm, the Spectrum>
Any thoughts?  Is this the wrong diet?
<Just not very nutritious>
 Is there something I'm missing in the diet?  Also, is it too late for them to grow more or are they most likely going to stay this size considering the amount of time I've had them?
Thanks for your help.
<Do read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/basicfdarttepoot.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SpectrumFoodsF.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Feeding Marine Fish    1/30/12

Thanks for the quick response and the advice!  The links attached were very informative.  I will start using pellets as the main diet immediately (I assume it's OK to mix in frozen a couple of times a week?)
 I will get some Spectrum pellets ASAP.  Right now the pellets I use are Ocean Nutrition Formula 1 & 2 (although they're probably about 4 years old and I'm not sure if they go bad).  I also should mention that I do add Vita Chem Marine Formula and garlic when I feed pellets.  Is this even necessary?
<Mmm, not so much w/ a complete staple like Spectrum... akin to high quality all-in-one dog and cat foods of value>
Also, Is there any you'd specific pellet from Spectrum you would recommend?
<Their "standard" of a few millimeter size>
  Besides the Hippo and Purple Tang, I've got a Flame Angel, Clownfish and a White Faced Tang (Was marked as a Brown Tang, but I'm pretty sure from you description in your book I got the much hardier White Faced Tang). 
<A. japonicus... very likely. Acanthurus glaucopareius (nee nigricans) is far less hardy, and far more prone to disease>
Thanks again!
<Welcome! BobF>

Need Help (No Info; Need To Read) 06/13/10
I need help...
My tang is looking skinny
Can you tell me what I need to do?
<<Not from the lack of info supplied The issue may be a matter of water quality, parasitic infestation/protozoan infectionor a matter of starvation You need to read here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Tangdisease.htm ) and among ALL of the related links in blue at the top of the pages>>
Also what is the best food to feed all kind of fish in tank...is there a kind of food that will be good for all fish?
<<If the fish will accept it (most do), New Life Spectrum pelleted food is a palatable and nutritious all round fish food. Your Tang(s) will also benefit from the addition of some vegetable matter I like the Sea Veggies offering from Two Little Fishies>>
Now I have to put in a lot of different food is there one that has a mix for all?
<<See above>>
Thank you
<<Happy to share EricR>>

Slow Tang Growth (Feeding) 02/12/10
I was wondering if Tangs grow slow or is it because water quality?
<<Water quality/other environmental conditions can/do have a marked effect on a fish's health/growth>>
I feed them Mysis, brine, krill (cubes), squid with Selcon, Vita-Chem, Vitamin C, Zoecon, and Nori/seaweed 3 times a week... I had my purple tang for 2 1/2 years now.
<<A nice variety, but Aside from any other factors that may be present, the fact that you only feed three times a week is key. Tangs are not exceedingly fast growers in my experience, but limiting their nutritional uptake is certainly going to slow growth. I recommend you feed sparingly three times a day versus three times a week. If this proves to be too much re water quality then the system is likely undersized/overstocked; address this as needed, but not at the expense of your fishes nutritional well being. Cheers EricR>> 

Naso Not Eating 05/15/08 Hi crew, <<Hi Gilbert, I apologize for the delay a lot of the crew including Bob is out, as they say, “life happens.”>> I have a Naso Tang that I bought about three weeks ago, everything was fine until now. He was eating fine, but all of the sudden he stopped. <<Though Naso sp. do have quick metabolisms and graze constantly, food strikes are not unheard of, especially in captive life.>> Now he doesn't seem interested in none of the food I feed, I tried mysis shrimp, greens, <<What type?>> pellets and even copepods. I really need your help, the water perimeters are fine, <<For future queries we ask that you are more specific.>> and all my other fish are eating well. The Naso tang is swimming fine and seems ok, no body signs of ich or any other disease, but now that I recall he does have some white dots in his mouth that makes it look almost like if it had teeth, but it goes and comes, I really need your help, can you guide me on what to feed? <<I would offer a high quality frozen food and flake that has Spirulina listed as the first ingredient (OSI or Spectrum are good brands…Ocean Nutrition too). Also keep something in the tank in which the fish can graze on in his or her leisure, whether it be Nori or Gracilaria. If you have a refugium consider growing your own food for your tang. You could soak the other foods in a vitamin supplement like Selcon or Zoecon as well.>> Or what steps to take? <<Use the above approach with a wait and see attitude for now.>> Thank you. <<Welcome.>> Gilbert Gomez <<Adam J.>>

Atlantic Blue Tang stopped eating 03/19/2008 Hi WetWebMedia Crew, <<Morning, Andrew today>> A few months ago I upgraded from a reef 90 to a 215 gallon with a 65 gallon sump that had Caulerpa growing in it. All water parameters were normal. The aquarium had been crystal clear until 4 nights ago when the lights went out in the main display tank, and the lights cycled on in the sump. About a half an hour later, I noticed the tank was muddy dirty. Alarmed, I looked everywhere in the tank to see what could have caused it. I looked down in the sump and noticed that the Caulerpa was looking pretty pale so I pulled it all out. I also observed a spider and a lady bug in the sump water. I immediately went to your website to read up on Caulerpa, and started to get worried. I didn't have any salt water available because we had just performed a water change. I already had a PolyFilter in place, and immediately added activated carbon. The protein skimmer was skimming like crazy and had an odor to it. I even turned the ozonizer on. I observed the tank all night long hoping everything would be fine. The tank cleared up completely after a few hours. So far, everything seems fine except my Atlantic Blue tang (who use to eat like a pig) suddenly doesn't want to eat anymore. She has two other tang tankmates; a Sailfin tang and a Yellow tang. The other two tangs still eat like pigs. All the other fish are doing fine. <<Continue to provide greens, maybe add some garlic or Selcon to attract the tang to eating again. Probably been spooked from the tank water issue. Very delicate species of tang>> The Atlantic Blue tang will swim up to the algae clip as though she is going to eat from it, but them swims away and doesn't eat a single bite. When I feed in the morning, she swims up to the food as though she is going to eat it, and then swims away not grabbing a single bite. She does, however, graze on the live rocks and sand. I have also noticed that she doesn't appear to be the dominant tang anymore. She is somewhat passive now. <<As the tang is still picking from the rock and sand, i don't think its anything to be overly concerned about. Try feeding as i mentioned above>> Today I ordered some Red Tang Heaven from Indo-Pacific, hoping she might eat that. I read about this stuff on your website and ordered it several months ago. My tangs absolutely love the stuff. <<Good deal>> Do you think the Caulerpa crashed and caused the tank to go dirty? I don't think it was from the liverock because it had been in the 90 gallon for almost a year, with the exception of a few pieces that I bought from the LFS, already cured. <<Its possible it did cause the water issue yes>> Any suggestions as to what might be wrong with the tang? Is there anything I can do to save her? This is my favorite fish and I would feel really sad if something were to happen to her. <<See above, also read more here including linked articles and FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Nancy <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>
Re: Atlantic Blue Tang stopped eating 03/26/2008
Hi Andrew, <<Hello Nancy>> I just want to thank you for your hopeful response. My Atlantic Blue Tang loves to eat the Red Tang Heaven purchased from Indo Pacific Sea Farms. She decided to pose for me so I took her picture (see attachment). I hope you post it on your website so others may see what an awesome fish she is (maybe picture of the day?). <<Really glad I could help. The photograph is a real nice picture, captures the Tangs face really well.. Thank you for submitting this, lets hope it finds it's way to the picture of the day slot ;o) >> Thanks again, Nancy <<Thanks and good day. A Nixon>>

Re: Finicky Tang Advice 2/18/08 Hi Bob, <Dan-O, am out in HI> Just wanted to do a quick follow-up on this. I moved both fishes the next night and, WOW!, the tang is a voracious eater in the main display! <Ahhh!> He spends his days sucking on live rock, tank walls, sand and everything else he can get to. It's weird though, he still hasn't eaten ANY prepared foods. I'm a little worried about running out of algae in the tank for him, but, he's really getting fat now. <Ah good... as the saying goes, "A fish that eats is a fish that lives"> Anyway, thanks for the advice to move him. I'd have never considered taking him out of QT before at least two weeks were up, but, in this case, it seems to have turned out fine and he's settling in well. <There are quite a few species, groups, conditions/circumstances in which quarantine/isolation is not recommended or only conditionally...> Just wanted to say thanks and let you know how it went. Dan <Thank you my friend. Life to you, BobF>

Tangs/Acclimation/Feeding 1/30/08 Hello Folks, <Hi Robert, Mmm, I know someone by that name.> I am in need of assistance and am unable to find the specific answer I am looking for. I recently purchased a Convict Tang and a Clown Tang. I have not seen either of them eat any of the various prepared foods I have presented. I feed Spectrum pellets, <A good choice here.> Formula 2 flakes, Sweetwater zooplankton, Nori sheets, tried some iceberg lettuce, frozen Mysis and Brine, and a mix of several things that I use for corals. This mix includes the zooplankton, vitamins, Cyclop-Eeze, and some seafood plus flakes to thicken it a bit more. <Sounds like a good diet to me.> My tank is a 225G mixed reef. I have NH3=0, NO2=0, NO3= <20, and ND on PO4. Temp runs between 75 - 78. I have several other tangs in the tank and all are eating quite well. Purple, Sailfin, Yellow, and a Foxface (practically should be a tang). The Clown is about 3.5-4 inches and looks very healthy. He swims fairly actively and picks at the glass and occasionally the rocks but never see him take any prepared food. The Convict is only 2", <Doesn't acclimate too easily at this size.> very skinny and also is at least picking at the glass but again, I never see it eat any of the prepped foods. Can you please give me some advice on how to trigger a better feeding response in these fish? I really want them to eat so I can be more certain they will survive. I have seen no heavy aggression since initial introduction and no one has any signs of real stress or illness. No ich is visible on ANY of the fish. <Rob, two poor choices for your system. The Convict Tang is one of the more timid tangs, and in time, if not now, will be harassed by the other tangs in your system. The Clown Tang, Acanthurus lineatus, is extremely difficult to maintain and acclimate. All I can suggest is to keep offering a variety of foods such as you are doing now, and hopefully you may get lucky. Do insure your water quality is at it's peak and well oxygenated. If you are using a trickle filter or sump, this should take care of that problem. The use of chemical media such as Chemi Pure will go a long way in providing the proper water quality required by tangs. A 10% water change at this time would not be a bad idea.> Thank you very much for doing what you do to help folks out there. <You're welcome, and good luck with the tangs. Do read here and linked articles/FAQ's on tangs and feeding. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm James (Salty Dog)><<Try Spectrum... RMF>> Sincerely,
Rob Brandon

Tang ID/Tang Food...Do They Need Terrestrial Greens? – 12/05/07 Hi Crew, <<Hello James>> Time to turn to you guys when I'm not sure. Some people are saying I should be feeding my Tangs broccoli and Brussels sprouts. <<You can feed these “terrestrial greens” if you like...if first frozen or blanched to “breakdown” the cellulose...something the fishes can’t do. But I wouldn’t consider them a necessary supplement, and definitely not a replacement, for alga matter of a “marine” source>> I already give them plenty of Ocean Nutrition algae/seaweed plus Formula 2, etc. <<This should be sufficient in my opinion...no need for the terrestrial vegetables>> I wouldn't have thought broccoli was available in the sea. <<Ha...indeed! Though the broccoli is of some benefit to the fishes, I prefer to feed marine algae>> Any tips? <<Assuming your fishes are getting enough/are healthy...I would continue as you have been. The occasional soak of their foods in a dietary supplement just before feeding, such as Selcon or Vita-Chem, is a good idea too>> I have a Vlamingi Tang that could be a Lopezi Tang. I have searched the net but a lot of sites get them confused as well. He does have the spots and the stripes lower down and I'm sure I can see a bump forming. I have attached a small pic. <<Yes, I see... I’ll ask Bob to chime-in if he wishes, but based on the depth of the body in relation to its length, the shape of the tail, and the bluntness of the head, this is not Naso lopezi but is indeed Naso vlamingii. Have a look at the pics on this page and see what you think: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/naso.htm >> My tank is an under stocked 900 gallons so don't worry, I have room for him. <<Ah, very nice>> It won't look so under stocked when my fishes grow. <<Indeed...and all will be so much healthier/more socially adjusted for not “growing-up” in an over-cramped environment>> Last question. I set up a DSB for nitrate removal in a 75 gallon tank as per your instructions in your DSB article. My Picasso trigger after 4 years together started bullying my larger clown trigger. <<Really? Would have expected it to be the other way around>> So I removed the Picasso to the DSB. My nice and flat DSB now has big sand dunes in it. He picks the sand up in his mouth and drops it somewhere else. <<Mmm, yes...though not abnormal for Triggerfishes to rearrange their surroundings to their liking, this Picasso is likely very “bored”>> This is bad right? <<Only in the sense that it disrupts the function of the DSB...otherwise, it will have no deleterious effect on your system>> Should I take out the sand, wash it and reuse it in the main tank? <<Not necessary to remove it...or to “wash it” if you do decide to move it>> Thank you so much, Kind regards, James Barclay
<<Happy to assist. Eric Russell>>

Not enough greens for tang = death? Tang loss – 07/25/07 Is it possible/likely that my purple tang died from a diet that was too high in protein/meaty substance and not enough algae/plant matter? <Tangs naturally are grazers and eat a substantial amount of greenery. So it is a definite possibility.> I had the little guy for about 2 years and it has always looked fat and healthy and was very active. It mysteriously died last night and this is the only reason for the death I can think of. I have a 55 gallon mixed reef tank. All sps, LPSs, and soft coral are doing great, as are my other fish (false percula, Firefish goby, and yasha goby) and two cleaner shrimp. I would daily feed pellets (New Life Spectrum Marine Formula) and a mash composed of various frozen marine organisms (shrimp, clams, oysters, squid, mysis) to my other fish, LPSs corals, and shrimp. The tang would always go for this first and would often be quite full by the time I would put a small (1"X1") piece of Nori sheet in the tank. <That's a lot of food for a 55 gallon tank.> Sometimes it would just tear the Nori up and not eat all that much so I would remove the pieces that came loose from the clip. I do have approximately 75 pounds of liverock that the tang constantly grazed on, but it kept the rocks very closely cropped and there is little algae on them that I can see. Is it possible that the bacteria in it's system that needs the green roughage starved while the fish appeared healthy because of all the pellets and meat-based foods it was eating? My temp is approximately 80F, pH 8.1 (day), 0 phosphate, and 0 nitrate (tested with Salifert test kits). As mentioned before all other fish appear healthy, fat, and happy. Thank you for your input <Jon, I've seen this happen with all kinds of tangs. It usually happens after a couple of years, from 2 to 7 generally and the tang just dies for no reason. I do think that they need the greenery in their diet and there are supplements you can add to assist in the diet. But I think its more a general condition of tangs. I think they need swimming and growing room and that in a tank they reach (for lack of a better word) their "limit" and then if not moved to a larger tank they simply pass away for no good reason. Good luck, MacL> Jon

Stocking Opinion   3/31/07 Hi Crew, <Jason> Thank you for all your effort in providing this forum.  My tank is pretty much all stocked up, but I am considering whether or not to add another fish (tang) or small school of Chromis (four) to the tank.  I apologize if this is too much information, <No such thing> but here is what I've got: This tank was up for 14 months before I tore it down and started again due to a massive green hair algae problem.  I think this was brought on by my lack of a chiller last summer and temperature spikes into the mid-eighties.  Current set up running for seven months and appears stable, but I remain paranoid about algae & bioload. 200+ gallon custom "show" configuration - 54" x 24" x 40" (tall), <Wow! Hope you've got basketball player-length arms!> maybe 240 g total volume w/ sump less rock. 2 x 250 MH lighting (10.5 hours/day/offset a bit) + 90W actinic (14 hours/day) Several hundred pounds of live rock, & 4" live DSB Sump filtration w/ sock, protein skimmer, activated carbon, UV sterilizer Four water returns w/wave-maker and 3000 gph pump - nice variable flow. Automatic water top off system and bi-weekly water changes between 10-25% A chiller.  Water temp quite stable @ 79F. Calcium reactor on order. No refugium as there is simply nowhere to put it. I can't figure out how to add macro-algae to the sump w/o fouling the pump. <Screening, partitioning likely... to have water spill over... leave the algae behind... or divert main flow around the algal culture area...> Water parameters checked weekly.  Calcium a bit high at 500ppm <Yes...> (Salifert), Alk ~ 11. pH 8.1-8.2, Nitrates/Nitrites = 0 I have numerous soft corals: Two sizable toadstools Large, growing leather coral Purple frilly (I think) gorgonian- 18" tall Five Zoanthid colonies. One frogspawn, one purple xenia Two green polyp colonies. Two other soft colonies I can't identify. 3 LPS colonies I can't identify 5 SPS (Acropora) frags.  I started these about two months ago, and they are mounted at water depths less then 12", four of them within 6" of surface.  They seem to be growing well and I've constructed a coral skeleton high in the tank to mount some more if all goes well.  For now, I am waiting on Anthony Calfo's book on coral propagation before spending any more money. <A good investment> The fish: 1 yellow tang - 4" long 1 hippo tang - 2.5" 1 pair false percula clowns - 2"-3" 1 pair Longnose hawkish - 3" 1 pair (male/female) watchman gobies- 3"-4" 1 six line wrasse (2") 1 unknown wrasse - 4" long (primarily purple body, wide yellow horizontal stripe down each side, blue tail) 1 orchid Dottyback - 2" 1 pair cleaner shrimp 10 blue leg hermits 10 scarlet hermits 1 sally lightfoot crab. (The one with the yellow bands on its legs, not the one identified as sally lightfoot on WWM crab page.) 6 turbo snails, many Astrea 1 narcissus snail & two sand sifter stars.  (I think you disapprove of these but I got tired of cleaning the brown scum off my sand and these guys keep it pretty clean but not spotless, so they are hopefully not starving.) <Likely fine here> I have to admit, the fish are happy as is, so I am reticent to add.  The only problem is the male goby does not like the female, but I think there is enough room for them to avoid each other. <Okay> I feed 1 cube frozen mysis daily, sometimes 2 cubes.  Also feed a playing card worth of Nori most days, as in my experience the tangs starve without it and all the fish enjoy it except the Hawkfish.  (I should emphasize my experience with this.  I had ridiculous amounts of every kind of unwanted algae and my tangs still went skinny.  After I began feeding the Nori sheets in a clip, they remained healthier and pick more algae off the rocks.) <Thank you for this> I also use a light dose of plankton or DT oyster eggs most days with skimmer off for 3 hours, primarily for the corals. (Also a drop of Lugol's a day in the sump, although not exactly "food"). So...hopefully that is all the info you could ever want to offer an informed opinion. Would you recommend that I refrain from adding either an Atlantic Blue Tang (an Acanthurus in addition to my Paracanthurus and Zebrasoma) OR four green or blue Chromis to this party?   <Mmm, all should go fine... I would make the Chromis number odd... 3 or 5 let's say... tend to stay in a school more...> Separately, should I be concerned about too many corals as it relates to bio-load? <Mmm, no... but do want to mention that if you were going to add more, you should do so... soon, and otherwise let what you have "grow up" by itself> Thank you so much for this and all your other efforts.  For what its worth, I've bought two books by Anthony/Bob as a testament to the value of your knowledge. Jason <Well okay! Thanks for writing/sharing. Bob Fenner>

Tang, fdg.  2/18/07     1.  I just bought a yellow  tang yesterday.   He isn't eating at all .   Do you have any  suggestions i bought him at PetCo. their pricey.  Well i bought him alga  sheets and he isn't eating .  And it is extremely shy     2.  and hides behind the live rocks . i have a 45 gallon tank  and loads of live rocks.  Today in the morning i  noticed him eating alga from the live rocks.   HELP?              <<Renejustoren:  It often takes a new fish a few days to acclimate to your tank.  That is one reason why it's always a good idea to use a Quarantine Tank (QT).  Having a fish in QT makes it easier to train it to eat your prepared foods.  Most Tangs will eat seaweed.  The Japanese use Nori to wrap sushi.  Some tangs will also eat flake food that has a lot of algae in it (usually the food is a green color).  The fact that he is picking algae off the rocks is a good sign.  If you can get it, clip a piece of Nori to the side of the tank, or use a rubber band to wrap it around a rock.  That way, the Tang will have extra food.  Best of luck, Roy>> Lettuce not feed lettuce. While many Tangs will eat lettuce, it will be much better for the Tang if you could provide it seaweed.  The Japanese use Nori sheets to wrap sushi.  If you can buy Nori, it will work the best.  Best of luck, Roy

Tangs/Feeding...Not Enough Info...A Detective With No Clues 10/6/06 HELP!! My Large (8-9 in.) Black Tang Won't Eat!!  I've tried: 1.                   Live brine; 2.                   Frozen Mysid; 3.                   Frozen brine; 4.                   Macro algae (sea lettuce, red algae); 5.                   Spirulina flakes; 6.                   Zooplankton; 7.                   Freeze dried plankton; 8.                   Marine pellets; 9.                   Sea Weed-various brands; 10.               Fresh shrimp; 11.               Fresh Squid; Out of all this, he/she ate seaweed for a few days but no won't even eat that.  Seems to be digging around for something in the live sand bed, but this cannot/is not sufficient.  Any help would be appreciated. <Bill, not enough info here to even suggest something.  How long have you had the tang, water parameters, size of tank, other inhabitants, etc. James (Salty Dog)>

Feeding tangs/angels   9/16/06 Hey.  I have a quick question about properly feeding tangs and angels.  I have a 55 gallon reef with lots of Caulerpa (three different types from what I can tell), covering close to 100 lbs of live rock.  I have a flame angel and purple tang that feed off the rock constantly.  Other than providing some protein in their diet such as Mysis shrimp, do I still need to supplementally feed them? <Though they don't appear malnourished... I still would...> I occasionally give them sea veggies dried seaweed.  They seem to like it a lot more than the Caulerpa growing on the rocks, but is it necessary?   <Might be... Caulerpaceans aren't palatable to all...> Can they get all their nutritional requirements from the 3 types of Caulerpa growing in my tank or should I continue feeding them the dried seaweed as well?  Thank you Jon <I would. Bob Fenner>

Tang diarrhea??   9/16/06 Hi Crew, I've tried looking in the forums and the FAQ's but can't find anything to help me. I have a 250 gallon reef with 30 gallon Miracle Mud sump, a few 100 pounds of live rock, numerous corals and critters all lit with 2 x 250W metal halides on for 7 hours a day.  Fish wise I have: 1 x 8" Acanthurus grammoptilus 1 x 3" Centropyge loricula 4 x 3" Pseudanthias squamipinnis 4 x 2" Chromis viridis 1 x 4" Blue cheek goby 1 x 4" Lawnmower Blenny 2 x 2" Australian black perculas I feed the tank 3 times a day with a mixture of Mysis, Krill and Cyclop-eeze. I feed the tang 1 sheet of dried Nori daily. Today when I fed the tang, he came up to the lettuce clip with the Nori on it and ate well. However, shortly after eating his first helping, i noticed he was already passing feces. The feces looked just like the Nori and almost as if he has diarrhea. Is it possible he could have a stomach or bowel upset? His behaviour is normal otherwise. His weight seem normal also. He does like to take krill and Mysis that I put in for the other fishes, would this affect him at all? Water parameters are as follows: Amm - 0ppm Nitrate - 0ppm Nitrite - 0ppm Phos - 1ppm (I know a lil high!) Temp - 23 - 24 C SG 1.022 Any ideas would be gratefully received, Thanks and keep up the good work! Martin Sutcliffe (UK) <<Martin:  As long as your tang is eating and its belly is full, don't worry about it's bowel movements.  Mine, have interesting movements.  They are fat and happy.  Best of luck, Roy>>

Gassy Tang   8/31/06 Hi crew!   First let me thank you guys for the response I got last time it was a big help for a worried hobbyist.  I just had a question about my tang,  I looked in the archives and any reference that I found to gas was on gas bubble disease which doesn't seem to me to match up with the difficulty my little guy is having.  When he defecates often it is accompanied by gas.  Is this normal? <Mmm, no... but have seen>   He eats a lot of dried seaweed, I also feed him formula one but he prefers the seaweed.  I am working on getting some live rock I know that will be beneficial to his general health.  Could it be that the water has to high of a saturation level? <Not likely... I think you're right to point to the dried seaweed diet here> In this tank, which is a 110, I have two Skilters which are each rated for supplementary filtration of a hundred gallon, two powerheads one for seventy five gallons one for forty five, a UV filter for up to one hundred and twenty five gallons, and a wet-dry for one hundred and twenty five. There doesn't appear to be too many bubbles in the tank but I am relatively new to the keeping of marine systems.  Also the tang seems as though he feels good he swims around looking happy, appetite is voracious, and he relieves himself quite often.  I love him so much, I don't want anything to happen to him.  Any advice will be much appreciated.  Thanks for everything, I don't know what I would do without your site. <I would try the live rock, maybe culturing some live macro-algae... but otherwise not worry here. Bob Fenner>

Powder Blue Tang/Feeding...Growth  6/5/06 Hey guys and gals, <Hello Ross> Thanks for the great site, there's always something new to learn every day (whenever I'm bored at work and start browsing the FAQs!). I thought I'd share my experiences with feeding my powder blue tang. When I first got him he was painfully thin and was almost a compassion buy, I really wanted to try and bring him around. At first he wasn't eating at all, and didn't know what the heck seaweed on a clip was, so I started off with small sheets of Nori wedged in between the rocks in the tank. Eventually he seemed to get the idea that this tasted better than all the other stuff! Through time and patience he eventually realized that hey, this stuff on the clip is the same as that stuff down there, and hey presto, he started feeding from a clip. I guess all told the process of getting him to feed from a clip took around a month, there was a lot of finger crossing and hair pulling in the mean time, and it was very much trial and error. I'm a year on now, and he's grown about another two inches in length and looks downright porky, with not a hint of Whitespot. <Great to hear.> Hope my experiences with leaving little bits of Nori in between rocks helps someone else wean their PB onto veggies... <Will post your experience.> My question is (he's about six inches in length now) how long can I expect him to take to grow fully? I've had him for about a year, and now he's in a 6ftx2ft2ft tank so has a bit of room to grow in. He gets an unlimited supply of seaweed from his clip as well. Just wondering what to expect in the future! <All depends on nutrition, water quality, etc.  Difficult to predict. James (Salty Dog)> Many thanks, Ross.

Sohal Food  - 5/5/2006 Hi, Bob! <Richard> First, let me say what a pleasure it was to meet and talk with you at IMAC. I appreciate the time you spent with me. <And I yours> While I'm sure our conversation was but one of hundreds you had that weekend, and you can not have anything but a vague recollection of it, you suggested I E-Mail my question to you and you would confirm your answers. <Yes, thank you> OK; Here Goes....I have a 180 Gallon Reef tank, and recently took delivery of a Sohal Tang.  He is definitely KING of the tank, and I'm OK with that (my Chevron also seems to be OK with being subservient to him).  My question is what to feed him.  You gave me 2 options, the first was to go to an international food store and buy...something (lost my notes of your answer). The second option was to find a source of (Ogo. sp.)?  Any idea where to find this, and what is its real name? <Yes... Ogo is one of a few species of Gracilaria... red algae... Indo-Pacific Sea Farms, Inland Aquatics (.coms), hobbyists, stores, clubs...> He does not seem to be happy with "Nori", or "Julian's" (don't hold it against me, it's what I have on-hand) dried sea weed. <Good stuff... just expensive compared to store-bought human consumption algae> It would appear to me I need an answer quick, as he seems to be slowing down and losing girth.  He is only 5", and I don't think he can put up with not having the food he wants for very long. Any input would be appreciated. Oh, and by the way your lecture pitch was GREAT!  It was as fun as it was informative. Hope you enjoy Atlanta. <Thank you. Do look into Pablo Tepoot's "Spectrum" pelleted foods as well... Have you seen this piece on the Sohal: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Asohal.htm and the linked files at top? Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance: Richard Schmidt

Fishes/Tangs/Feeding - 05/05/2006 In keeping tangs, it says they graze on live rock.  With a FOWLR I use 40 lbs. Utah bowl rock for 5 years.  Does the growth on this rock count?  It appears to be algae.  Do I need to buy live rock? <Not necessary to buy the rock for feeding purposes.  In closed systems the algae present on the rock isn't going to be enough to support tangs.  Tangs need algae for their diet but do eat other foods.  Your selection below will be fine.> I'm purchasing a Sohal Tang.  Would Nori, Mysis, and angel formula suffice?  240 gallon tank, two fish-crown trigger, miniatus grouper,4 inches. <Are you of oriental descent or did you mean Clown Trigger?  I do want to point out that a tang is not very compatible with a Clown Trigger and may be attacked.> Thank you, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dale

Fish/Tangs/Feeding - II - 05/05/2006 I am of Japanese descent....my palents (HAH) are. You should know that by my last name. I recently had a stroke and paralyzed my favored right side so clowns sometime get confused with crown....actually I don't know what I meant. In an article by your company it was stated that Sohals habit the bottom.  Therefore, clown triggers should not bother Sohals? <Dale, if your tank is the size of a reef, no problems, as in nature.  But since we are confining this cohabitation to a 72" x 24" area, it is an all new ball game.> Thank you,  Dale <Your welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Tangs/Feeding/Acclimation ......... James, Re:  5/9/06 THANK YOU! <You're welcome.> We bought the Sohal Saturday. The clown trigger didn't pay attention to him. No aggression. <So far, so good.> The Sohal started to scratch its sides. Due to past experiences, we immediately medicated Copper Power. Turned the UV and protein skimmer off for 21 days for ich.  <Mmm, no quarantining, correct?  Not a good idea to treat healthy fish.> The Sohal is nibbling Nori but not Mysis or krill. All of which is enriched with Selcon and Zo? Is slow eating part of acclimation? <Yes, can be.> He was at the distributor 7 days. Also, I received no answer  e-mail from Joyce Wilkerson. Do you have another number? <I haven't.  Mr. Fenner may have one.  James (Salty Dog)> <... I don't give out other folks contact info., unless they specifically request such. Will Bcc her here. RMF> Dale

Tangs/Disease   5/9/06 No quarantine. Fish seem to be more stressed when move around and in small quarters. His scratching is not a healthy fish to me. <I'm under the impression you are treating the entire tank, not just the tang.  James (Salty Dog)> Dale

Abused, Starving Tang/Lousy LFS - 04/30/06 Dear Crew, <<Good Morning>> About 3 weeks ago, I received from LFS a 10" tang. <<Big>> I think it is from the Naso Family. <<Think?  Mmm, a bad way to start mate...you should be doing your research "before" you bring the critters home>> It was labeled Vermingii (I know that's not spelled right Sorry). <<Likely is a Naso vlamingii, also known as a Bignose Unicorn fish>> It looks like a type of Naso Unicorn fish. <<Indeed>> It has a bump and is gray with blue streaks in it. <<Yep>> It is extremely under weight. <<Uh oh>> They said it has not ate in a month. <<This is not good>> A large Angel fish was pounding the crap out of it. <<The Naso genus does seem to be the more "gentle" of the tang species, thus more susceptible to bullying...though there's probably not much (maybe a like-sized Clown Trigger) that can go toe-to-toe with a large mature angel.>> The LFS gave it too me because they said it was going to die. <<It's disconcerting that the LFS left the tang in this situation as long as they did, to be starved (they were aware it hadn't eaten in a month!) and eventually killed by the angel.  They don't deserve to be in business in my opinion>> I have it in a 55 gal hospital tank. <<A wise move>> I have treated it for ICH, and infections. <<Be careful here, tangs don't react well to most common Ich medications (copper)...I would only treat if there are visible signs of infestation.  A prophylactic freshwater dip (temperature and pH adjusted) may be all that is necessary>> I noticed it has a gash on the side near its nose and mouth.  I am thinking it will not eat because it can't. <<Mmm, hard to say...may just be a reaction to the stress of being bullied by the afore mentioned angel>> I noticed it is starting to move its mouth more.  Now this might sound pathetic on my part, but I have been force feeding it.  I hold it in my hand, he lets me (not sure why) and I put the syringe in his mouth (No needle, just opening). He wraps his mouth over it and I gentle squeeze out Brine (Enriched with Zoe). Sometimes he spits it back out other times he takes it. <<Interesting (and dangerous to you re the fishes caudal spines)...normally I would advise against "handling" the fish as the stress induced thus would be counterproductive, but perhaps this fish is too weakened to feed on its own.  Do try to get the fish to eat by itself...and I also strongly urge you to switch the brine shrimp for Mysis shrimp...is much better nutritionally>> I do not want to hurt him by shoving stuff down his throat. <<Agreed>> He has to be getting some nutrition, I can not believe he has went this long with out eating (would be 2 months now). <<Yes, I would think it is gaining "some" nutrition from your feedings>> You can see he is way under weight though. <<Will likely take some time to recover...if ever.  But "Kudos" to you for your efforts!  Many folks would not go to the extent you have>> I thought about humanly disposing of him but he seems to want to live so bad.  He has fought off 2 major infections. <<I think at this point there is no further harm in keeping the tang in the QT and continuing to induce it to feed>> One night he jumped out of the tank. <<Yikes!>> I did not know it.  The dog was barking and for a good 5 minutes I could not figure out why.  Here the fish was behind the cabinet laying totally still.  I thought he was a goner and put him back in the tank.  He was sideways at the bottom for a few minutes, and started moving.  That was a week ago and he is swimming okay now. <<Wow, and in its weakened state no less...this fish has an iron constitution...perhaps all is not lost after all>> Any thought on this, what should I do. <<Continue with your good care...try to get the fish eating on its own (the sooner you can stop "handling" it the better)>> If he makes it I have a 480 reef and a 240 all fish with a pair of clowns (never stocked it running 6 months). <<My vote is for the 480...these fish get BIG>> I do not want to keep him going for human pleasure, if he shouldn't be. <<No worries mate, I think you're doing the right thing/all you can for the moment.  Though I am concerned for your safety when handling this fish should it decide to lash out with the spines on its caudal peduncle>> I don't mind feeding him by hand. <<But best to discontinue this...>> He certainly does not mind me holding him.  He comes to me like my dog. <<neat>> I noticed for a fish that big, I do not see his barbs, just little stubs. <<Hmm...may have been "clipped" upon collection...but continue to be cautious, no matter how "docile" this fish seems>> Crew what are your thoughts? <<You have mine>> Thanks in advance.    <<Regards, EricR>>
Abused, Starving Tang/Lousy LFS II - 04/30/06
Thank You Eric for your fast response. <<Very welcome>> I am going to give him the best care I can. <<Excellent my friend>> I will switch to the Mysis. <<Very good...a much better staple than the brine shrimp>> I am not returning to that LFS. <<Mmm...don't get me started <G> >> I have 4 others in my area to choose from. <<Good to hear>> I guess I am lucky, or not. <<Life is what we make it>> Take care, <<And to you in kind.  Regards, Eric Russell>>

Weaning Fish To Prepared Food    3/2/06 Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Frequent the site and love all the help in the past......thanks. <On behalf of all of us- you're quite welcome!> Real quick, I have a very happy and healthy Achilles Tang. I have read in you site that these fish can be hard to "train" from eating flake or pellet food. He eats algae off the live rock like a pig, but when I place it in the clip, or feed them frozen formula two, he seems not to see it or eat it. Is there any suggestions you have, like a rubber band to a rock or another way I can get him to eat the seaweed or the food? Let me know ASAP. Thanks again, Jeromy <Well, Jeromy, my favorite method would be to place the food on a rock or a piece of dead coral. Given time (and a keen sense of smell) the fish will find it! It will work almost all of the time! Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>

Naso tang eating excrement  - 3/1/2006 Here's one you may have not heard before. I have a healthy thriving 90 gal fish only tank that's over a year and a half established. I have an assortment   of species which includes yellow tangs, blennies, a Picasso trigger, various clowns, a Naso tang and a green bird wrasse. One morning approximately 6 months  I noticed my Naso impatiently waiting for the bird wrasse to waken from his  sleep. To my surprise (and disgust) the reason he was waiting so anxiously was  he was waiting to devour the wrasses morning excrement. This became a ritual  every morning. My concern is can this behavior in anyway be detrimental to the  Naso tangs health. <Not likely... and is common... have seen innumerable times in the wild> Be aware that my fish are well fed 2-3 times a day with a  variety of foods which include flake, frozen and dried seaweed. Of course there  isn't much I can do to stop the Naso from having his morning "snack". (cant hit  him in the nose with a rolled up newspaper and tell him no !). Just curious to  see if you guys have heard of this before. Thanks for your anticipated  response. Eric <Amongst friends have speculated that this is part of a necessary/beneficial means of Naso et al. species acquiring "gut fauna"... many equivalents, analogous patterns in other species... ourselves included. Bob Fenner>

Shy fish not eating - Cyanobacteria woes 10.19.05 Recently I added a Chevron Tang to my FOWLR system. He is active swimming around, almost constantly picking at the live rock; however he is very shy about eating when I feed the other fish. <Hmmm... not uncommon. Although this is but one of the many benefits of using quarantine tanks faithfully. Shy fish get to establish a feeding routine in peace and quiet without competition from other/intimidating fishes. BTW - your Chevron tang is a fabulous diatom algae eater. Look for it to graze the brown film nicely off sand and glass, rocks, etc (especially sand)> I have a large 6" inch Fiji Bicolor Rabbitfish that hovers near the top of the tank when it is feeding time and given the chance will eat most of what is fed. <A bruiser indeed> I have a damsel that will become bold and get his fair share, but the Chevron doesn't seem to want to get into the mix of things.   <Yes... these active/aggressive community fishes can be intimidating even without so much as a nip. Please do check the archives for articles on QT. It is imperative that you learn the need to QT. It will save lives... and much time, stress and money for you.> Occasionally he will get a floater flake, or pellet that gets away from the other fish.  I have tried to stick a piece of Nori to the live rock but he looks at the Nori, but then as soon as the Rabbitfish sees it he eats it.  Same thing happens with the clips I use for the Nori.  Any suggestions?   <Try target feeding. Use a tube, pipette or turkey baster to blast a small amount of soaked food down to the area it is hiding near> Is the live rock enough to sustain the Chevron? <Almost certainly not. Especially with the Rabbitfish competing> I have read your FAQ sections regarding Cyanobacteria and the recommendation of refraining from using chemical treatments in lieu of addressing the root cause.   <True. It is extremely easy to rid from the tank in mere weeks with increased water flow, improved protein skimming (see the "improving protein skimming" thread stickied at the top of the All Things Salty expert forum at ReefCentral.com. It is a very thorough walk through). And also controlling feeding will help too (avoid admitting pack juice from thawed frozen food... feed smaller portions of dry food more frequently, etc> In my case I think it has to be a function of a "dead spot" where there is less aeration than other areas.   <Perhaps, yes.> I have removed it by vacuuming it out, but I am sure it will return.  I can add a power head maybe directed to this area, but I don't want to blow around the substrate (aragonite).   <Try a more diffused application of increased water flow like a closed loop manifold.> Are there any chemical treatments that are safe for the live rock and fish? <no my friend... anything that kills Cyanobacteria will surely kill other/more desirable life forms too. And this symptom is so easy to remedy. Nutrient control. Increased water flow keeps the solids/nutrients in suspension... and proper filtration/skimming process it> Thanks for your help and dedication! Regards, Steven <best of luck! Anthony>

Tangs eating Fauchea 8/29/05 Hi, I have been trying to grow Gracilaria with very limited success for our Tangs.  They are very picky (spoiled) and only really like the Red Gracilaria or Green/Red pressed seaweed selects.  Unless they are hungry, they won't touch Ulva or some of the Gracilaria.  I was given a little piece of Fauchea for the sump, and it has grown like mad (or as you say... like a plague).  Before I offered it to other reefers, I put a rock of it in the main tank just to see what the Tangs would do.  They are going crazy over it (the Yellow has already devoured 1/2 of it).  How can I find out the nutritional value - will it give them they vitamins they need and can they eat all they want without harm?  Given it's growth history, if it provides for their nutritional needs (other than the meaty foods), it will be wonderful!!! Thanks for your help! Doug <A gorgeous genus of Reds... Does have nutritional value... some references to this on Google Scholar... otherwise it's off to the large college library you go. Bob Fenner>

Tang In Trouble? (Getting Tang To Eat Post-Copper Treatment) 7/22/05 Greetings, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Help, my Yellow Tang is in grave trouble.  Three weeks ago I noticed Ich pustules on the fins of my Yellow Tang and Purple Pseudochromis in my 60gal reef.  I followed the recommendations I found on this site and quickly set-up a 20gal bare-bottom hospital tank, administered fresh water dip, and transferred all my fish to it (Yellow Tang, Purple Pseudochromis, Three-stripe Damsel, pair of Ocellaris clowns). <Good moves..> I treated the hospital tank for 2 weeks with SeaChem Cupramine (at 82F), and after that I started  biological/carbon filtration with Penguin 100 bio-wheel filter and daily 10-20% water changes using fresh RO/DI water mixed with IO.  The main tank has been running fallow at 84F.  After 3 weeks, all the fish except the Yellow Tang appear healthy and active.  The Tang looks wafer-thin and has stopped eating.  He will not touch sea-weed, and is barely moving. Just stays in the corner and looks miserable. What should I do?   <Hmm.. tough one. Although copper treatments can be used with many fishes, including Tangs, not all of them take it well. They have digestive fauna that enable them to process food which, if damaged-can result in the fish having difficulty eating. Collateral damage, if you will. In the case of this fish, I'd operate under the assumption that either copper may have affected his digestive tract, or that some sort of secondary infection has occurred. Discontinuing the copper treatment was a good call on your part. I would continue with regular water changes and increased filtration/aeration. Before returning this fish to the display, I'd make sure that he is eating. If he cannot be tempted with foods such as Nori and the conventional frozen foods, I would try to get some fresh macroalgae (my choice would be Gracilaria, aka "Ogo", which you can get from e-tailers such as Indo Pacific Sea Farms and others)-any macroalgae at this point...In fact, getting a fresh live rock with some microalgae attached would also be a good idea. Anything to stimulate him to "graze" again.> It's been 3 weeks exactly and I'm tempted to put him back in the main reef tank. He  looks like he could drop from starvation at any time.   I realize that minimum 30 days is required to keep the Ich from coming back, but I just worry that if I don't put him back into his familiar reef where he can graze on algae, he will not make it.   What should I do?   Thank you for your help - Rob <Well, Rob- as indicated above- I'd rather "bring the reef to him" by dropping in some rocks and fresh macroalgae to help nurse him through this tough period. Although the situation may be critical, these fishes can go a remarkably long time without eating. Be sure that all of the copper is removed from the water (use a good copper test kit, like Seachem's), and use copper removing media such as Poly Filter or Seachem's product (the name escapes me at the moment) if you still have residual copper readings. Also, consider the use of some liquid vitamins (such as Boyd Vita Chem) administered directly to the water (fish do drink) to provide at least a possibility of supplemental nourishment for him. Hang in there...stay with him, and don't give up. I've seen this before, and these guys CAN recover. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tangs Are Finicky Eaters Hey Gang,  <Hey, Brandon> I've got an odd question for you. I have in my tank a Z. xanthurum and an A. hepatus. Oddly enough, neither will eat green algae of any sort. For instance, I bought the dried sushi Nori, and the only ones they will eat are the purple and red algae. Green is untouched. I thought tangs loved algae of all sorts. I've even tried Ulva, and they ignore that as well. Since when did tangs get so picky that they only eat the red and purple algae?  <Healthy tangs aren't really finicky eaters, they just prefer certain types of algae.>  Theoretically, do they taste better?  <I've never tried any, but I'm sure the taste must be to their liking. Might want to soak some of the algae they are not eating in Selcon and see if that doesn't get them to eat it. James (Salty Dog)> 

Mimic Tang 5/6/05 Hello Crew, <Cheers> It has been awhile since I have had to email for help, But I do have a newly acquired mimic tang that will not eat. <Hmmm... is this fish in a QT tank? If not, please understand/learn the critical need for QT. It saves many fishes lives. And in cases like this... it gives the creature a chance to settle into captivity with minimal stress (and eat/heal sooner!) rather than being thrown into a competitive or stressful display tank. We have a lot of info (FAQs and article(s)) on Quarantine in our archives if you'll take the time to browse> I talked to the LFS where I purchased the fish and was told it was net caught not Cyano, <Agreed... they are commonly imported from areas like Fiji where collection techniques are rather proper> and the ones in his store are eating brine now and picking at flake. I have tried Cyclop-eeze, red, and green algae, Spirulina flake, Mysis, OSI flake, Vibra pellets, brine shrimp and the fish will eat nothing, it is slowly wasting away and fear it will pass on shortly. I have placed it in my refugium where I have sever types of macro growing in the hope it will pick at the algae at least and it does not appear any better. <actually... diatom (brown) algae is a natural staple> I have tried soaking several foods in garlic and offering this as well and even went as far as placing the fish in a clean pail with water from the tank and adding food so it was right in its face and will not bother with it. <Please consider adding b12 to the tank (one crushed pill per day) as well as soaking foods in B12. It cannot be overdosed easily at all... no worries (its water soluble). A B12 injection might actually save its life (consult a local vet... its not that expensive to get a B12 shot)> My tank is fine in all other aspects, I have a powder blue and regal that both eat and are in great health (other then a little ick from time to time which I have never bothered treating and they seem to get rid of it on there own). <Yikes!!!!!!!!!!! This IS the problem, my friend. Even if the other tangs did not actually nip, chase or harass the mimic... their presence was unnatural and very stressful for a newly imported fish that missed a fair chance to stabilize in QT. The lack of isolation may end up contributing to this fishes death. Please do (again) consider it for the future> Any more advice I can try or is this poor fish doomed already? Thanks, Drew <best of luck and life... Anthony>

Re: Naso Tang Post, 2.25.05 Greetings Crew! <Greetings! Ryan with you today.> I was reading the daily questions and came across this 'Naso tang' question. He states that all his water param.s are fine but the Naso just won't eat and looks stressed, and has some seaweed on a clip for the fish. I also have a tang (yellow, Hawaiian) that will exhibit the same similarities as this IF I use the blue seaweed clip.. Red clip, no problems at all.. Its almost as if they have been watching the Matrix too many times! I would have him maybe just tie some seaweed onto a smallish rock and see what that does for the tangs stress levels. <We'll post this for him to read, enjoy. Thank you for sharing. Certainly entertaining! Personally, I would recommend a grounding probe and a skimmer cleaning if you notice your tang isn't quite himself. The oxygen saturation level of your water should remain high with this type of fish. Good luck! Ryan> 

Tang food/algae? 2/11/05 I have recently purchased a Sailfin tang as soon as he was in his new home he proceed to eat a green plant that had came on the live rock which I think is Caulerpa. Could I grow this in a small tank 12 by 10 by 10, using the old water from weekly water changes and lighting with a full range Fluorescent light, <it could... but there are much easier and less noxious algae to grow. Gracilaria would be ideal tang food... sold as "tang heaven" from IPSF.com> would I need a heater or a filter maybe a little live rock? <yes... bright light too. At least 5 watts per gallon> I would like to do this as the Sailfin seemed to like it but there's not that much of it and I thought it would be a nice supplement to its diet, <a nice idea, but not necessary. Do look for "Nori" seaweed at an Asian grocery store or sushi supplier> assuming it's ok for it to eat it. If it's not is there any thing else I could grow with a similar method that would be ok? <it is somewhat to very toxic over time (Caulerpa) in large portions. Do avoid IMO> Thanks, Andy <best regards, Anthony>

Regal Tang 2 Percula Clowns Algae Blenny Yellow Watchman Goby Bi-color Pseudochromis (2.5 inches) 1 Regal Tang (small ~ inch and a half?) <Wow, that IS little> Coral Banded Shrimp Pistol Shrimp Sand Sifting Star Variety of Hermit Crabs * 2 - 4" live sand, protein skimmer, 90lbs live rock Hey guys... took a browse through your website.  There is a lot of information and perhaps some things are more simple than I think they are.  I am currently feeding my marine fish a quality flake food once every second day and frozen brine shrimp chunks the other days (i.e. daily feedings).  As well, I have dried seaweed secured to a small chunk of live rock (easier to bring in and out without disturbing the tank) available every three/four days. <Mmm, shift the brine shrimp out and sub other frozen foods, mixes>   I do also have 90 lbs liverock with some red/burgundy encrusting algae as well as some green hair algae.  First question, am I feeding my fish enough? <Do they look skinny?> My supplier says once a day is good... <For the mix of species you list, twice would be much better. Many fishes forage for most all the light of day.> the food containers say twice a day.  Should this be sufficient for my Tang?  Or should I be adding other sorts of green food?   <Try it out...>   Second question, when your website suggests adding vegetable greens as supplemental food... are we talking simply shred up some broccoli head and drop into the tank?  Is it that easy? <Read on... some terrestrial greens can be blanched/steamed, used> My Tang appeared very curious, active, and in good condition in the store.  The supplier's stock always seems healthy and his tanks well kept. <Good>   I put my Tang right into my main tank... and before you yell at me, your website suggests that Regal Tangs be introduced directly into the main display to reduce the stress on the creature. <Yes... I am likely the one who penned, and solely the person who is of this opinion here>   Anyhow, moving forward...  My clowns checked him out but to my knowledge left him alone.  I did witness my small Pseudochromis take a nip at him... but it looks like he left him alone after.  Today (second day), my small Tang has 3 tiny horizontal flesh wounds; however, my Tang is still active and curious... as well none of the fish are bothering him and he doesn't seem to shy away from any of the fish.  I will keep a close eye on him...  do you figure he more or less just got into a bit of a scrap and now has established himself in the tank?? <Likely so... most all marines are "scrappy">   My Pseudochromis had a tail wound (I am guessing from pistol shrimp) last week and has pretty much fully recovered... should I expect that Tang to do the same?  Fast healer? <Yes and yes> Last question on a different note.  My supplier collected two Scarlet Hermit Crabs for me ($7/each).  I saw red legs out of one of the shells but not the second.  He seemed offended when I asked if he was sure there was a crab in the shell.  The crabs/shells were dumped in the sand of my display but didn't move.  Are they nocturnal? <Mmm, no> Should I expect some activity when I am feeding?   <If they are hungry, yes> I think the shells are in different spots now (but not too far away from where I dumped them)... is this normal?  Did I get duped? <Happens... take back to your dealer if so> Thanks a bunch and have a great new year! <Thank you> P.S.  My Sand Sifting Star is sooo cool.  It's like it melted into the sand when I introduced him. <What a planet eh? I'm not leaving! Bob Fenner>

Re: Naso Tang Hunger Strike, Black Spot... Bob, Hope everything is going well ! I wrote you last week about my 11" Naso Tang. I was running copper on the tank and then treated him with clout (for a black spot on his fin) about the 3rd day on the clout he quit eating! <If memory serves, I mentioned NOT treating this fish... and would cease to do so NOW> The puffer and the damsels in the 130 gal. tank are fine. The water is perfect and has been through the treatment. I am pulling everything out of  the tank with carbon filters and activated carbon, all levels are much lower. <My friend... I can't tell what you mean by "perfect" or "lower"...> However, my Naso will eat very little if anything at all. It has been about a week and he is looking ok, but he has the pinched stomach. I have tried everything, live brine shrimp is the only thing he will even try to eat and very little each time if at all ! I am very concerned that he has been over medicated with the copper and clout. I have used Selcon on brine and live plants. Do you have any suggestions! <Yes... place this specimen back in the main tank if you have not already, try various algae on a "clip" near the water/air surface... Kombu, Nori, what have you, that you can get from the oriental food store or section in a main outlet> I am very worried that I am going to lose him. He is swimming around fine and breathing normal, yesterday he started staying on the bottom behind a rock (very unusual for him). <A very bad sign... Tangs rest on the bottom at night, but during the day are continuously active> If the light is on he is more active. help! <Move the fish, offer it prepared or fresh macroalgae. Bob Fenner>
Re: Naso Tang Hunger Strike
Bob, The fish that you told me NOT to treat and to move back into the main tank was the 5" saddleback clown. <Sorry re... think I've got you, your situation confused with something/someone else's that's similar> Which I did exactly what you said and he is doing great and some of the white cotton like spots have disappeared! He is doing great and eating  fine! <Ahh, good> Unfortunately, the Naso had already been treated as of my writings to you. My local Fish Store owner is the one who gave me the clout and copper treatment idea for the black splotches on the fin (I know, don't believe everything you're told!!) <I discount most all... including when I'm talking to myself!> Nonetheless, I did pick up some Kombu and Nori and will try that tonight! <This species of Naso REALLY likes macroalgae... I have seen it with its head out of water (!) in Hawai'i munching away at intertidal thallophytic material!> My water has maintained a O ammonia, O nitrite, 8.2 ph. 20 t0 40 on the nitrate( large fish only tank). Thanks for the help! <Thank you for the clarification, input. Bob Fenner>
Re: Naso Tang Hunger Strike
Bob, Just a little update! My Naso is eating very well again! Thanks for the tip on the Nori & Kombu!! He is now eating everything again! Thanks for the help !! <Good news indeed. Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Starting again Thanks. That's really useful and quite encouraging. I currently have a yellow tang and a lipstick tang ... my LFS said the lipstick would sort the problem, but it hasn't made any impact yet. (To be honest it's such a lovely fish I'm perfectly happy with it anyway). I think I'll re-arrange the tank a bit so I can get some weed out and introduce a Kole at the same time. Thanks again ... very quick response, much appreciated. I'll let you know how I get on. Brian <Brian,      Thank you for the nice words!!!!  One thing I forgot to mention is that if you supply a sufficient food source then the tangs will not graze for food (algae).  You might want to try cutting back on the food input into the tank while you continue with your battle.  Good Luck!!!! MikeB>

Feeding A Finicky Tang I just purchased an Achilles Tang, because I could not resist. <Can't blame you- they are gorgeous fish and great to have if you can meet their needs> It is about 4 inches, beautiful color, and in my quarantine tank for 4 days (will stay there for 4 weeks). <Excellent! A key to success with this fish!> It gobbles up Nori, but nothing else.  I have tried frozen brine, Mysis, and Cyclop-eeze all soaked in garlic or Selcon.  But he still only eats the Nori, should I be concerned?  Is there anything else I can do? Thanks for your help!

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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