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FAQs on Genus Acanthurus Tangs 1

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Related FAQs: Acanthurus Tangs 2Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Powder Blue Tangs, A. sohal, A. nigricans & A. japonicus, Tang ID, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems

A big Acanthurus lineatus (Oriental, Pajama) in the Maldives

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Powder blue Hi, I have a powder blue tang in a new 6 feet tank set-up. It was doing very well for the first week. I feed it seaweed, live brine shrimp, frozen brine & Mysis shrimp & dried flakes. In the second week, it developed brown blotches on its body, which sometimes appear to clear up, sometimes worsening. My system have an overflow, refugium with macroalgae & vigorous skimming. Nitrite & nitrates are very low. Lighting is moderate, using 6 compact fluorescent & it is a fish only tank. I'm really at a loss on the reason for the brown blotches. Any ideas? <Likely "just" general stress markings... perhaps simply resultant from capture, transport. Your system sounds ideal, so let's hope this fish resolves to health. You can read re others experiences with this species on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTFAQs.htm and the FAQs beyond. Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner> Rgds, Ismael

Powder Blue / Pearly Jawfish Hi Bob, Got a couple of questions to ask if you don't mind :) <<I don't think Bob minds at all, I get to answer the email... I hope YOU don't mind ;-) >> I have a 50 gallon reef, with ample filtration, great water conditions and water movement. Until last week, the only fish residents were to false Percs. When I went to the fish store last week, I saw this little 2-3 inch powder blue in a really bad tank, overcrowded by a lot of other fish, many of which were tangs and since it was so small, it was getting into really bad shape. I couldn't help it and decided to rescue the poor little guy. I know what I have isn't exactly suited for a powder blue but if it does happen to make it pass the mysterious death period of the first 2 months, I do plan to go to a bigger tank later on as it grows. <<If you do make it through this period, I would get the larger tank before it grows - large quarters are necessary to make this tang feel comfortable.>> Right now, it is doing much better than it was in that nasty tank before. Its body is rich blue and head is deep back, as compared to the pale colors it was exhibiting before. However, it only excepts very little bit of the food I offer it so far (Formula 2, Formula 1, brine shrimp soaked in vitamins, <<you should really use Mysis shrimp instead of brine - brine shrimp, regardless of gut loading and vitamin soaking are bunk.>> and rather spends his time picking off algae from the rocks, rear glass panel and the sand/crush coral. <<Yes, and you should probably try to substitute this with algae based foods, dried seaweed, Nori, etc.>> It is not showing any signs of emaciation as it is quite robust. Will he begin to eat more of what I offer him soon? Also does the powder blue eat hair filamentous algae like soft hair algae (I previously had a yellow tang and it ate all that hair algae up with a gusto). <<I would say this is different from tang to tang, but yours may find an appetite for it in time...>> In addition, sometimes it swims around the tank exhibiting the lines going down the blue part of his body (signs of aggression), I think perhaps looking for a fight? <<These color changes can mean all kinds of things, surprise, stress, aggression, depression, sleepy-time, etc.>> Is this normal for a new addition (4 days)? <<Well, most fish take weeks to adjust to a new tank so... I'd say the flashing is normal for a fish who is feeling a little out of join in a new tank.>> Lastly, I added a pearly Jawfish at the same time and this fish is quite comical. Although I hardly see it, I do enjoy watching this fish more than I thought. Its already dug itself a nice burrow with and continues to do stuff with the sand/crush coral and stirring up the sand bed. Yesterday, it ate for the first time several brine shrimps since I saw it peaking its head out from the burrow......When do you think this guy will come out a little bit more and eat a bit more? <<Well, these fish are known for staying mostly out of sight. In the burrow most of the time. Will likely only leave the hole for food if it doesn't drift by.>> Will it do okay with the powder blue in the tank? <<I think it will do fine.>> It really seems to me that the Powder Blue scares it when it swims by and it quickly zooms back in the tunnel. <<Well, the Jawfish is likewise a bit uncomfortable with the new surrounds. Give it some time.>> Does this mean that I have to get rid of one of them? <<No.>> Thanks Bob, sorry for the long e-mail and I look forward to your reply. Sincerely, Jimmy <<Cheers, J -- >>

Compatibility, Clown Tang Hallo again, <cheers> I have had the clown tang for 6 months now...actually that is how long I have had the tank (plus cycle time) the tang is a bit over 1 1/2" long, and seems okay...I do try to feed a variety of food. but will consider the refugium option... <yes, my friend... please read more about this fish on the Wet Web Media archives. And in the Conscientious Marine Aquarist book too. The prognosis for this fish and its size are not good in the long run> though it is hard without an overflow set up. (no?)  <not at all. You will want an Upstream refugium: a small tank above your display with an overflow hole... water is pumped up and flows back down.> Anyhow, Thanks for all your advice, I have a 33gal quarantine tank at the moment...so perhaps I will try it out... <excellent! It will be fine for this tiny trigger for many months> cheers again Bob <kindly, Anthony>

Powder-Blue Tang Health Hello Bob- Thanks for your time and help. I have a powder blue tang who is eating quite well. I feed him brine shrimp plus, formula two, romaine lettuce, and dried algae. <Both the Nori and Formula II are good foods, but the brine shrimp and romaine are of little value.> His body is very thin (always has been) but his stomach is growing in size in that it is bulging out. It is also very lumpy looking. Should I feed a vitamin supplement? <Yes, I like Boyd's Vita-Chem and American Marine Selcon.> What could this be? <It sounds like extreme weight loss.> Is it just malnutrition and will it heal over time? <If you can get enough of the proper foods into it.> I have only had him for about 3 months. Will he eventually fatten up? I can see his ribs and spine. Could he have an intestinal parasite? <Possible> Thank you very much, Josh <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

A few questions (Powder Blue Tangs) Hello, it has been awhile since I've written in, but that's mostly due to the others who ask questions before I know that its the question I needed to ask.  <outstanding... the FAQ system works! <smile>> Thank you guys so much for providing us all with this vast database of pet-fishing knowledge.  <our pleasure> Well, a few questions this time.. I have a 58g reef tank (80g total water volume, including sumps) with 96 watt powercompacts (36" long tank.) My current filtration is: bio balls (wet / dry) , a protein skimmer that collects about a full cup of liquid every other day, and a bit over 100 lbs of live rock. Inhabitants are: white ribbon eel, maroon clown, bubble anemone, 2 peppermint shrimp, 1 coral banded shrimp, a clam I've never identified, and as of today, a powder blue tang. I know everyone says it's a bad idea to buy one, but I've resisted the urge for over two years.. the one I purchased is about 4.5" long, and is very fat, happy and colorful.  <one great problem aside from all shipping and acclimation problems notorious with this creature is that they come from very dynamic areas of a reef (surging reef crest action, even). As such... they need very low long tanks with tremendous water flow. They will stress and suffer in time without it. Some respond so severely as to even pace the tank which many aquarists recognize from seeing in store tanks (and their own) with fish such as Powder blue tangs, Nasos, spotted tangs, etc. I honestly think it is unlikely that your new tang will fare well in a 58 gall tank... all odds are against him, sorry to say> It was the first one I had seen without shipping damage or other tell-tale signs of collection abuse. As far as my water parameters, my salinity reads about 1.024-1.025 depending on when I changed the water last. To prevent problems with disease and the powder blue, should my salinity be high or low?  <nothing out of the ordinary after a good 4 week QT to screen for major parasites. Besides, your eel and shrimp will suffer with low salinity> Different LFS' have told me different answers to that one. I know my temp should be high, and it is currently 82.. is that high enough? too high?  <too high... 78-80 is fine> Ammo/nitrite/ph are dead on, calc is 450ish, nitrate slightly visible (20-30ppm depending on when water was last changed... should I remove the media from my trickle filter? is that done all at once or slowly?) <with enough live rock, good skimming and regular water changes... your tank (medium bio-load) is a candidate for removing bio-balls to reduce nitrate production. Do so slowly... portions over an 8 week period> other than that everything has gone great.. no additives put in this tank except for food for over a year now. The tank has been established nearly two years, and never has had a disease in it to my knowledge.) So on that basis I went ahead and purchased the healthy fish.. hope he does okay.. will try and get him to feed on Mysis/krill and seaweed (any seaweed type suggestions? so many to choose from these days..)  <plain sushi Nori from an Asian grocery store is a good start (like sea veggies from fish store but cheaper)> Also, I've never figured out what kind of clam I have.. I think perhaps a Derasa.. how are clams identified? From the pictures on your site I'd say it looks like a Tridacna Derasa.. it is about 3.5" in shell width (purchased it at about 2.5") and the mantle is a deep brownish/pink color with lightened blotches (looks like camouflage done up in brownish/pink) <many good pics, references on net... also Daniel Knops great Giant Clam book. Derasa is pretty distinct with flat smooth shell and limited color mantle... if yours looks like the pics, then probably a derasa> anyways, my question regarding the clam is.. it always has spit out stringers ( I have it in a low water flow area of the tank near the overflow intake, so it isn't stagnant or anything) that seem to hang about the clam until I brush them away by moving water near the clam.. which closes it up.) What are these?  <likely mucus from this heavy filter feeder... derasa clams tolerate and favor higher particulates then most clams> should I leave them be?  <yep> (should I stop putting parenthesis inside more parenthesis?(?))) :)  <("what do you mean?" (says the voice of parenthetical levity (in soliloquy)))> Thanks so much in advance, you're always a ton of help, as is the FAQ's on the site. <you are quite welcome> Regards, Bill Hammond <kindly, Anthony>

Achilles tang I was hoping you could answer a couple question for me. I have a 75 gal reef tank with about 80lbs of LR. I have a Tomatoe clown, 3 shrimp and lots snails/hermits. I have a purple tang (3 inches) in quarantine. My local fish store told me I could add an Achilles tang. I have them both in quarantine with a tank divider. Is this going to work? <IMO, no. Your tank is too small for these two to peacefully coexist.> I thought tangs were good together as long as they were the same species (Zebrasoma). I read something on your web page about the Achilles make your other tank mates die- Could you explain further?- Thanks Anjanette <Have a nice evening. -Steven Pro>

Acanthurus leucosternon Hello at Wet Web, <Howdy> I brought in a beautiful Powder Blue (arrived 4 days ago), and to date he is not interested in any of the aquarium fare. He is housed with one roomie, a Purple Tang, who was introduced into the system at the same time as the Powder. They get along fine. I've been reefing and aquaculturing since 1990 and have many Tangs in my systems, the youngest of which I've had for almost 3 years, and they all commenced feeding within a day or so. The Powder does pick at and pay close attention to the Nori I placed in the tank, but he doesn't inhale it like all my other Tangs. I realize it takes time for certain fish to acclimate to their new surroundings, but the Purple Tang who was introduced to the system at the same time will eat anything offered, and the Powder shows no interest. <Different species... often takes a while on arrival to acclimate> Is there something special he may go for to get him started?  <Live rock with various species of algae growing on it> Unfortunately, there are no "lead" fish in this system, so he has no one to watch and "catch on." He and the Purp are it; no other fish will be added. Water quality is good. Checked all parameters (I'm anal about that!). Mr. Powder has great color--very blue and very black face--no fading, etc., does not "appear" stressed. I realize 4 days isn't all that long, but I'm not accustomed to not being able to get a fish to eat within a day or two. For the record, I've tried the following frozen foods: Spirulina Fortified Brine Shrimp, Regular Brine Shrimp (have never known a fish that wouldn't go for Brine), Formula I, Formula II, Prime Reef, and a couple others. He's not interested. I've also tried some Spirulina flake, etc., and no go. Suggestions? <Hopefully time will see a change in this specimens interest in food. Not an easy Acanthurus to keep in captive conditions by and large. Bob Fenner> Many thanks, Peggy

Bob please take a look, Clown Tang... some differences of experience, opinion Hello: I am a biologist, specializing in habitat re-creation. All Tangs school, but not year-round.  <Agreed, and some species, localities far more than others> The Clown Tang schools year-round and is one of the few Tangs that breeds gregariously.  <Acanthurus lineatus? Does not school often at any of a few dozen places I have photographed and collected them. It is almost always found singly, I assure you> According to my sources at the American Marinelife Alliance, only Tangs caught in the Philippines are usually drug-caught, and also from the Fiji Islands <What? Tangs are not targeted for the ornamental industry in Fiji by and large... and no fishes are captured there by anything other than fence and hand net techniques... In the Philippines, Acanthuroids are rarely taken with cyanide... again, I lived there and have visited on many occasions... other fishes are captured with poisons however> and the Clown Tang is rare in those waters. Call your local public aquarium, and ask them about their record of success. Bet you'll find they have a hard time with them too. <Don't know what you're referring to by a hard time... historic survival rates? I am sure you are right if this is what you mean... this species, A. lineatus does not fare well in captivity> I worked at the New England aquarium as a Grad student for a few years as part of my R.A. program at U.R.I. They couldn't keep them alive under absolutely perfect conditions in schools of 6 or more. The only way they kept them alive was to increase school size to more than 20.  <Interesting. About what size individuals were involved? Can you tell me where these originated?> Incidentally, almost all Clown Tangs (Acanthurus lineatus), are collected in Micronesian crystal-clear waters in depths of about 25 feet using nets. They do occur on reef flats and on the SEAWARD reef margin, but do not occur in shallow turbid water that I know of. I have checked six references on this and they all agree that the fish occurs in clear water only above the reef,  <Agreed. This is overwhelmingly the conditions where I've encountered the species> though they may also be found in lagoons. All references I found say they require very well-oxygenated clear water. <Again, agreed> Like most Tangs, they are rarely caught using sodium cyanide as their skin absorbs the drug directly and damages the sub dermal tissue. Drug-caught Tangs usually die on their way to the wholesalers and never even make it to market. Tangs are easy to catch with nets when they school. One diver guides the school into seine nets held by another diver. Why use drugs? <Can't think of many good reasons... am surprised you seem to state that the group IS collected with cyanide, then categorically state why it cannot be so...> Take it with a grain of salt. If you get one, let me know how you make out. <With what, a grain of salt? In our stores (gone years back) we rarely offered much of the (if memory serves) of the 32 species of Acanthurus, and almost never, A. lineatus. I don't deal with collecting this species at all, nor keep it in marine aquariums... Bob Fenner> Dave Aquariumpros.com

What do you guys think about this response on Clown Tangs? Hello: Our experience with Clown Tangs is that no matter how well they eat, they tend to last six months to a year in captivity. <Mmm, our experiences don't differ much. Acanthurus lineatus ranks low in my scale of aquarium suitability.> They are very susceptible to stress from other species, especially other Tangs, and once they get stressed, they get lateral line erosion and die. The reason it's on our list is that this species is not a solitary tang. In the ocean, they swim only in large schools, and tend to not do well unless they are kept that way. <Actually... small to large specimens are almost always encountered as individuals, NOT in groups. Don't know the reason/s why this species doesn't fare well in captivity... but suspect that it and others (e.g. A. olivaceus) are "used to" much larger territories than small fish tank confines... and overall "stress" is their undoing. Bob Fenner> Dave Aquariumpros.com

Was quoted out of context. (Acanthurus lineatus) Hi Bob: I'll start by saying we love T.C.A. at The Aquarium Professionals Group, and recommend it to all. Just wanted to let you know that on the Wet Web Media FAQ, regarding Acanthurus lineatus at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTFAQs.htm, I was quoted out of context by someone who was posting from our FAQ regarding their collection using cyanide, and after reading my FAQ on the subject, I realize I made some errors there that could have caused that confusion. I also neglected to state that the juveniles and young specimens tend to school more so than adults. and I will clarify the cyanide collection and schooling information in our FAQ at aquariumpros.com. I have no idea who posted the FAQ from our web site, but your responses seemed to indicate that you thought you were answering me. <Will take a look... thank you for addressing this. Do you prefer the item to be pulled, matched with this input? Bob Fenner> Thank you, Dave Hauser Aquariumpros.com

Atlantic Blue Tang Hi guys! I must say that it is wonderful to see people who are so willing to help others as you guys do. I read the new FAQs daily, and have gained a wealth of information from the WWM site. I can't thank you enough for this service! <We all volunteer our time here in the sincere desire to help others, but getting thanked once in a while really helps invigorate us. Thank you!> I have a 60 gallon tank, with 80 pounds of live rock, and 100 pounds of sand (40 of which is live sand). I am almost done cycling, and am in the final selection process of fish. <Bravo! I want to take this opportunity to point out how incredibly smart it is to plan out all your fish before adding any. This avoids many conflicts between species.> My ultimate goal is to have a reef tank with the main focus being blue clams and soft corals <May not be a great choice as clams are filter feeders and many of the soft corals release strong toxins.> though I know that it will be some time before I am ready to try this. I am designing my tank with these long term goals in mind. I have decided that we want 2 Percula clowns, and a royal Gramma. I am looking for one additional fish to add. I was thinking a juvenile Atlantic Blue Tang (Acanthurus coeruleus) but am getting conflicting information. Some places say that they can reach 9 inches (WWM), or that they can reach 13 inches (some other sites). <Burgess's Atlas puts them at 23 cm which is about 9 inches.> The WWM info said they can be kept in a moderate sized tank - but other sites have said that they need a minimum of 100 gallon tanks. Is a 60 gallon tank considered a moderate sized tank, or would this be too small for this type of fish? <100 gallons should be in your future with this fish, but a juvenile could start out and be happy in a 60.> Also, I can't seem to find information on juveniles vs. adults - will they both acclimate well? <In general, juveniles adapt the best, but not babies. Somewhere in between. For this fish, 3-4 inches.> I would prefer to start with a juvenile, but don't want to harm the fish by getting too small of one. I have read the WWM info on Acanthurus species, and the FAQs. I have also searched the web for other info - but it seems to conflict (as everything in this hobby seems to!) If you could help point me in a general direction, I would appreciate it! I just want to make sure that we can provide a good home for this type of fish - or start looking for a different fish if necessary. Thanks! Kate <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Clown Tang Hello there Bob: have a question: I just bought a clown tang. This will be the first and last time I buy a fish without doing research on it first! I've been fooled or suckered by the pet store!! See, The pet store told me it was just as hardy as my yellow tang!! After doing research on the clown tang I just bought, I am finding from most of the sources that it is a difficult fish to maintain. Just exactly how difficult is this particular fish?  <Not so much as a juvenile, let's say under four inches total length, but as they get larger... can become trouble behaviorally... beating up on other fishes> It gets along well with my yellow tang and all the other fish in the tank. How sensitive is this species?  <About a "four out of ten"> I've got a 75 gallon tank with plenty of live rock and plenty of hiding places. I am pretty anal about doing a water change every month. I must admit that I don't pay crucial attention to my water chemistry. I haven't had too many diseases yet. Only my yellow tang has had a bacterial infection once (fin rot). I have a wet/dry filter, protein skimmer, and a canister filter. 1 48" actinic light, 1 48" full spectrum light, and a 6" compact florescent light (with 2 bulbs). I only have a year experience with salt water tanks (16 years freshwater). Would it help if I told you I was a biology major? <All understanding "helps"> (meaning I'm familiar with chemistry, etc.). well, let me know what I should do. Thank you very much Jennifer Minnick Logan, Utah <At this point, just keep an eye on the specimen. If it becomes overly aggressive, have a stand-by plan for its removal. Bob Fenner>

Tang Recommendation <Hi, Calvin... Anthony Calfo again> Hello. I was looking into a tang for my 55g. I was thinking, will a yellow tang, or mimic tang work? <possible but allow for plenty of room. Yellow tang would be better> How about a Sailfin? I w as also considering an Atlantic blue, or a hippo.  <all three unsuitable for the long-term... they will outgrow the aquarium in 2+ years or die prematurely from the compromise> Please tell me which ones will work. Thanks. By work, I mean have enough room in the 55. <keep reading and learning, bud. Anthony>

Regal tang Hi Bob, My question is I have had a Regal Tang since 1986, and wasn't sure what their life span was?  <At least fourteen years in captivity... think yours is surpassing my/the records.> I think I have a pretty good record with him and he still seems very healthy after all these years. How much longer should I expect him to be around? When I got him he was barely the size of a quarter so I imagine he was fairly young. Thanks for your input. Pamela <Neat. I say, "keep on going". Bob F, who does "take his own advice">

Jackpot Fish? (Acanthurus Tang cross?) I have emailed you before about my Horn Shark tank still going really good after 8 months ( grown a good 4 inches! ) and he is over three feet. He eats really well shows good color.  <Ahh, glad to read of your success> I also asked you a lot of questions about my angelfish tank 800 gallons which after a long drawn out series of events was taking down and the contents were auctioned off. Its back to reef the and my other reef tank of 600 gallons is gone. All are doing great. In my sons room we have a 75 gal fish only for a total of three tanks in the house. He has three fish in there that have lived for over a year as of Dec 29. A Koran Angelfish, Huma Trigger, and Tang of some sort. All are 4 inches. The tang was sold to us as a misc. ocean tang. I thought it was a Gold Rimmed (nigricans) but it just never looked quite like my id pictures.  <Please take a look through the many images of tangs posted on WetWebMedia.com> Recently, I was searching for some fish at www.themarinecenter.com and I came across what's being sold as a cross between the Gold Rim and an Achilles hybrid. <Yes, this "happens"> The picture is exact to what I had. Like identical. Our fish was sold for $24.99, <Bargain, considering "what it takes" to collect, hold, ship... such a live animal> about how much is it worth? What exactly is it? It eats everything, big algae eater too. Any help again appreciated. <Help yourself: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: fish health appearance thanks for the info on a the gray angel but for my clown tang how do u know he is well feeding? <Look at the fish "head on"... it should appear convex, rounded outward on the sides... you don't want a skinny tang... especially one that is thin in the head region. Bob Fenner> Miguel

Re: fish health appearance It's really hard to tell for my clown tang? are you saying the body should be larger then the head? <Yes, wider in profile> if that is the case my fish I don't have that  I see no cones on the fish I can tell when his stomach is empty that mask of the fish is quite large compare to the rest of the body! <Please read through the Acanthurid fish sections where I keep sending you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm and the linked files beyond... there are examples and pictures of well-fleshed, and not high/low index of fitness tangs there> I feed the 3 time a day a salad thing for tangs and flakes what is a good food that gets them fatter ? <READ. Bob Fenner> when I first got the clown tang is was hard to feed but not now I just want him to be healthy thanks Miguel 

Achilles tang Mr. Fenner, I have a few questions about the Achilles tang and a hybrid that occurs between it and the gold rim (powder brown). I have a 150g tank with a lot of LR, probably at least 125lbs, a protein skimmer, and I have excellent water conditions. I was wondering what you would think about my adding an Achilles tang to my tank as I think they are just beautiful. I have read your book and been to your WetWebMedia site and have gathered that they are somewhat touchy fish and they don't usually survive in captivity.  <You are correct... and also tend to be "ich magnets" so to speak... Very important to get healthy specimens in good shape up front... acclimate them quickly, completely, and place them in a very well established, large, optimized system> You mention that they need very high oxygenation in the water, which can be provided by lots of water movement, correct? <Yes> Also you mention that they need or enjoy higher salinity, in the 1.023-1.025 range. Other than these requirements and obvious good water quality, why do they not make it very often. <A few things... as the genus and family goes, Achilles are "soft-bodied" and take a beating being caught, moved around... Their nature tends to a "wild side" with specimens frequently injuring themselves from swimming into tank sides et al. during the first few days/weeks of captivity... Their mouths are frequently mal-affected from the above and subsequently they may give up feeding...> Do they get ich or carry it most of the time, or do they not eat or what. I just wonder because I have happened across some other hobbyists on the internet that keep the Achilles tang and just love it. <It is a fabulous species. Just on average, not easy to keep in captivity> If I were to try to keep one, what should I do to increase the fishes chance of survival? Also, I have seen another Achilles tang that is absolutely incredible looking, it is an Achilles-powder brown (gold rim) tang hybrid that has got to be the most amazing fish I have ever seen. It has the basic Achilles colors, except the tail is bright powder blue. I have included a pic of it so you know exactly what I am talking about. I just wanted to know what you know (if anything) about the fish and if it is harder to keep than an Achilles or easier, what it might take to keep it, etc. <Should be about the same> Some guy on a fish forum says his LFS is selling them and I just wanted to know if I should try it, or stick to the regular Achilles. And one last thing about the Achilles, is there a certain locale that I should try to get it from (i.e., Hawai'i, Maldives, etc) that would produce a healthier, hardier fish? <Are you in the United States? If so, the best ones come out of Hawai'i to here> As much info as you have about the Achilles and the hybrid would be great, as I am really thinking about trying this fish. Thanks, Bob <Sounds like you're about ready. Bob Fenner>

Tangs Selection I was thinking about purchasing a male Vlamingi Tang and a Sohal Tang from MarineCenter.com for my 280 FOWLR. <Both beautiful animals, suitable for very large systems> My first question deals with the transformation of the Vlamingi tang from Juv. to adult. I know as Juv. that they are gray silver) with blue dots but will they ever reach full adult coloration like the pictures shown on wetwebmedia.com and fishbase.org? <In a two hundred eighty gallon tank? Possibly (have seen this) over a handful of years. Not "full size" (more than two feet with streamers), but color wise should transform... btw, the "real bright" coloring is not "permanent" as shown with male pix... but transitory, more of a flashing, signaling/communication to other fishes (their species and not)> The people at the marine center say that the pictures that I see are males at full adult coloration and they never have gotten them in at that stage. <No, too big, expensive to ship... would not likely survive being caught, moved at that size> Also will these two Tangs be okay in my 72x30x30 tank together? <Should be... different habitat/niches... the Sohal near bottom, Vlamingi at top> I know that both get pretty big but my tank is kind of empty now with just a 15" Dragon Eel, 6" Red Coris Wrasse and 5" Twin spot Wrasse. The only other addition after these two are made is possibly a Pink Tail Trigger. Will all these occupants get along okay? <Should do so> BTW-- Which sea should I be concerned about getting the Vlamingi Tang from? <No real difference here, for this species. Excellent from everywhere. Bob Fenner> Thanks

Going to buy a Australian Dussumieri Tang from FF Express...... Bob, I'm going to order a 7" Australian Dussumieri Tang from FF Express. $229.00 . Is this a hardy Tang? <Yes> And are the ones from Australia just as pretty as the ones in Hawaii? <More so IMHO> I'm looking in the Baensch Marine Atlas, there is a nice pic of one. Which I think its a full blown adult. I would hate to blow my money and get a drab plain looking tang. Anyhow I cant find much info on this tang. I even checked in the Wet Web Media. Anyhow any input will be greatly appreciated. <This species coverage is under the genus, Acanthurus. Bob Fenner> PS my setup is a 240 gal. FO liverock tank. + 20 gal. refugium Tankmates 10in. vlamingi tang 10 in. panther grouper 4in. emperor Angel sub adult 95% change 2in. flame hawk 6in. Miniatus grouper 5in. Naso tang 4in. majestic angel thank you, Linstun

Help for the big tank guy Hello again Bob, I have written you in the past about my large systems, 800 gallon angelfish, 500 gallon reef. Now that my house has finally finished all of the cleanup and we're fully settled my tanks finally are too. <Must be a relief!> I sold the contents of my 800 gallon angelfish, most of which funded my 400 gallon office show tank filled with Fathead Anthias, about 22 and Green Chromis about 30 or so, really a spectacular tank especially on a reef setting. <Neat... and all the Sunburst/Fatheads get along?> The Boston Aquarium was generous enough to accept my 16 inch emperor. In return I was hooked up with a deal from a neighboring fish farmer with a 1 1/2 foot horn shark. I put him in the 800 in a cold water setting with very little rock work except for a large cave at one end, mostly large beds of kelp-like grasses to provide a san Francisco bay type setting. The shark seems to be thriving and what I thought would be the biggest eye sore is non existent, him laying on the bottom like in the those undersized nurse shark tanks. Obviously being a Horn Shark he still does this but he is a very active swimmer. He eats well and enjoys the occasional urchin which gets very interesting.  <Hmm, yes... I have a pic of a Heterodontus francisci swimming about in Scott Michael's new Shark and Ray book... am quite familiar with this species> What kind of things should I mix into his diet to ensure a long life?  <Most anything will do... the name "hetero" and "don't" point up the fact that these small temperate and tropical sharks can/do eat hard-bodied organisms... like the urchins you mentioned, clams, crustaceans... as well as fish...> He thrives in the cold water but how cold is too cold?  <Below 50 F. or so. But I would keep mine at nearer 70 F. so you don't go broke chilling water, and your shark will move about more at this elevated temperature.> Its been a pleasure to do this project the right way, the fish has lots of swimming room and it really looks great. The 500 is taking on full life, it turns the corner of my living room into the hall and is longer then wider, more so than usual. I have added a lot of water flow on the branched off section that's in the hall (about 100 gallons of room there) to accommodate my final additions, 3 Jewel Tangs, (Acanthurus guttatus), thanks to the Marine Center. <Wow, have rarely seen this species kept... just not offered in the trade... congratulations> Its kinda like a surge zone with only the hardiest of my corals. Its a pretty cool effect. The Semilarvatus B'flys are growing nicely, all three are now about 6 inches. The Sohal has also maxed out at about 9 inches now. Most of the little fish have been removed except for the occasional cleaner wrasse, I think I still have two, and a group of Catalina Gobies that have really done better than expected in their own little territory near the far glass against a rock wall. What other requirements do the Jewel tangs have? <About the same as the Naso lituratus... lots of room, rock, greenery to eat, water movement> They seem to be healthy after a month of quarantine (I was extra cautious be it I never used e-fish purchasing before. They only feed really well on Nori right now though. What else do they eat? <Mostly green, brown, red algae, but will eventually take most all foods> The Majestic Angel was also removed after he suddenly went violent on my corals. Any reason for this? <Just happens at times> Thanks for all the help, you've contributed a good deal to helping my tanks get to the way they are at this point, nice and steady. Kev <Outstanding. Glad to have helped. Bob Fenner>

Looking for a Acanthurus dussumieri OR Acanthurus blochii Bob, Where can I get one of these surgeons?? Acanthurus dussumieri or blochii.. Do you know of any place where I can get one of these fish?? Thanks <Check with you local fish stores... they should be able to "special order" these fishes. And for sure the fine folks at the Marine Center can/will send you these. Their link, logo is on most the WWM pages. Bob Fenner>

Convict Tang Hello, I've read all there is to read about the convict tang and it seems to be something I'm interested in trying. <Acanthurus triostegus... a great fish> I will probably order through FFX. How are they in shipping?  <Hmm, mixed...> Relatively easy??? I have a 55 gal. reef tank with a Christmas wrasse, a pygmy angel, a false Percula clown and 2 fire fish. No algae trouble, the snails, crabs etc. take pretty good care of things so I am prepared to supplement this tang with Nori. Nothing was noted in your articles regarding disease tolerance of this species, any difference compared to the yellow tang? <Not as sturdy as the Zebrasomas... appreciate larger quarters, being in a group... Bob Fenner> thanks for any help or suggestions, Joanne Nobre

Powder blue tangs Mr. Fenner, I have been involved in a lively debate regarding the suitability of powder blue tangs for the home aquarium. I don't remember where I read the statistic, but it seems to me that I read that upwards of 90% of these fish do not survive over 3 months from time of capture. <That is my opinion, relating actually of historical survivability of this species (Acanthurus leucosternon)> Do you believe the mortality of powder blue tangs (Acanthurus leucosternon) is truly this high? What is your opinion of keeping this fish? <Please see my "rundown" on this species, genus, family.... posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com> Thanks for your advice. Brian Daniell <You're welcome my friend. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Adding new fish (Marine selection) I recently asked a question about adding new fish on Flying Fish Express. I have a purple tang and a tomato clown, I was told that I could add another tang of the genus Acanthurus.  <Hmm, the Purple tang... Zebrasoma xanthurum is not of the genus Acanthurus> I looked at a powder blue tang and an Achilles tang. If they are an acceptable addition what size should I get them. <Both very poor choices. Please read over our site: www.WetWebMedia.com re these species, other Surgeonfishes> Bigger or smaller than the purple tang. the tang is approximately 3 in. I am not looking to get big fish I would like to have more smaller fish in my tank for more activity. if I chose to add dwarf angels how many could I add and of what type would get along. I am leaning toward the flame angel but like the keyhole also. I would appreciate any help being that your info has helped me in the past. thanks <Then do read over the WWM site. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer Selection, crowded Tangs, warm water cool-water shark Hello bob, Hope all is well I would like to know if you can help me out here first by guiding me to a good skimmer for my tank what is about the most efficient for big messy eating fish my tank is 125 gallons? <The Euro Reef if you're investing... though a Turboflotor will do> Do you think this new filter setup sounds like enough for my tank I will have 2 over flows that will come down to my 55 gallon sump then go through the U.V sterilizer <The UV should be the last item to be passed through... on the waters return to the main/display system> and protein skimmer is there any thing else I should ad tothat I'm not sure what else to use? Will this be efficient enough for my 7 inch stars and stripes puffer 8 inch leopard shark and 3 inch honeycomb grouper <Do add a bunch of carbonaceous material somewhere here... these fishes are going to drive your pH, alkalinity down with their advanced growth...> and after I get my sump running and everything I would like to add a tang possibly a Sohal, Achilles, or orange shoulder tang which would you rate the best for my tank?  <All this going into a 125? No room... as far as suitability period, the Sohal, then olivaceus, last the Achilles> I know how you say the leopard shark is a cool water species but my LFS says every time they get them in they are in warm water <Define "warm"... most all are collected in waters that rarely go to seventy degrees F.... most in the fifties and sixties Fahrenheit... Research this elsewhere... Plug "Triakis semifasciata" or just Leopard Shark into... fishbase.org, elsewhere... this is a subtropical animal, living between 45 and 20 degrees North latitude. That's a fact, Jack.> and they live long every time so is it that if they acclimate good and long they will do better I'm not sure but I don't see no problems with mine and he eats good. Sorry for the so long message but just wanted to make sure I got everything and thanks for any info you can give me. Pam Reinsmith <Good luck to you my friend. Believe what you will till experience changes your mind. This shark lives for more than 24 years in the wild, almost never 24 days in tropical tanks. Bob Fenner>

PB tang- swim bladder? Dear Bob I've had my powder blue tang for almost a year. He has doubled in size since I got him and seemed to be the picture of health, his color during the day is a beautiful powder purple rather than light blue. About a month ago, I noticed that his belly seems swollen and he swims in a sort of bobbing motion. He eats standing on his head and I've seen him swim on his side. Since he appears to fart a lot, I assumed he was eating too much. <Or isn't able to "use" (process, absorb) what it is ingesting> I feed green, brown and red Seaweed Selects always soaked in Selcon every day. Also Formula 2, red Tang Heaven and fresh wakame several times a week. <Sounds good, even yummy> I'm suspecting a swim bladder problem. Even though his belly is swollen, his scales are normal, so I don't think he has ascites... yet. <Ah, a descriptive term... not a "disease" per se... the result of something else> Is there something I can do in addition to soaking the food in Selcon and Zoe? Are antibiotics in order and will he need to be isolated? <I would not isolate this specimen... doubt if this situation is indicative of anything "catching" or that the move would improve its chances for getting better... would cut back on the amounts of feeding though, and only soak food once a week for a while> I'm leaving on vacation Thursday, so any treatment will have to be delayed ten days. Thanks, Linda <The ten days may be what this specimen needs to cure itself. Bob Fenner>

Achilles tang Hi Bob, I read your section on Tangs and was interested in knowing a little more about the Achilles tang. Would an Achilles tang do well in a 70 gallon fish only tank with a lot of water circulation and would it be the most dominant (tankmates Blue Angelfish, arc-eye Hawkfish, orange Anthias)? Thank you for your time. Sam <Only experience can tell, per specimen... try to secure one that is "fresh" from the wild, rather than one that has been languishing between there and your source for weeks... do definitely freshwater dip and quarantine the new arrival for two weeks ahead of placing in your main system... provide some sort of biological cleaner... and keep your eye on it henceforth... for parasite problems... as they will arise first with this fish. A seventy is small for this fish alone, let alone with an large angelfish species... Bob Fenner>

Acanthurus leucosternon survivability elsewhere, travel, life  Hi Bob Very interesting comment on poor survivability on A. leucosternon here in the UK and one that surprises me. Certainly our experience with them is excellent although I would agree that survivability would be reduced from the extended supply chains that supply this fish out of say Indonesia and to some extent even Sri Lanka. With short supply chain lines where the Leucosternon are not stored in antibiotics but are shipped fresh (similar to yellow tangs style from Hawaii which I'm sure you can relate to!!) then survivability is high and I feel then that this is a very strong species. <Yes... certainly a/the largest factor to my mind, experience> Bob, do you think that exposure to antibiotics for a long period of time before the fishes arrive in UK/USA is not the main reason for bacteria being destroyed in the gut of the fishes?? <One of a few... the mere acts of capture, holding, lack of feeding/other natural behavior, absence of biological cleaners... all add to "stress"... I really like the model proposed by Stan Sniezsko and lifted by me for the pet-fish fields of "The Three Sets of Factors that determine Livestock Health"... please see the version posted on the WWM site (www.WetWebMedia.com)... of three interlocking/acting circles of considerations: Initial state (genetic and developmental), Suitability of the Env. (a huge set of ideas), and Presence/Pathogenicity of disease causing organisms... all three play out together dynamically in our daily lives as well as fish tanks...> It's an interesting subject and one I guess we could rattle on for ages about. <Indeed... perhaps we shall> I hope all is good on your side. Are you heading off on any trips soon?? When are you coming our way?? <Yes... to Betty Ford run with drunken HHH (hashers) friends next weekend, then to Monterey here in California for the Western Marine Conference and a week dive/photography trip in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico next month, out to Pittsburgh to give a couple of talks then Bali/Lombok/Gilis to SG to ? (thus far) for a week ahead and after the Aquarama show... and elsewhere for the rest of year... to Bahamas for the Oct. "booze cruise" diving/pix making with friends, a talk at the MACNA do in August in Baltimore... maybe to England with friend Peter (who's from York originally to visit with friends at TMC..., take pix about), and wife Diana has some very reasonable vouchers (about a hundred US) to go to Munchen or Frankfurt for "a long wknd"... so maybe enroute sometime then... How 'bout you? Any fab plans for travel? Do know of some openings on a liveaboard to Malaysia 7/31-8/11 if you're interested... and will be getting out to Maui and the Big Island of HI a couple times more this year for about a week at a time... No real time commitments for the most part, so just always looking for, dreaming and scheming about trips, inexpensive fares... and have plenty of film, batteries at the ready.> Take care. Best for now, Derek. <Will you be attending Aquarama? Any interest in dive/adventure travel with us? Bob Fenner>

Achilles Tang for sure... Mr. Fenner, I am writing to you with a question that you may answer or not.  I read your amazing book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and just loved it. It was so full of useful information and ideas about marine fish keeping.  <No argument here> I want to make my question as concise as possible so as not to waste your time. I am very interested in trying to keep an Achilles tang and would like your ideas and suggestions about how I should go about doing this. From your book, other books, and LFS employees, I have learned that Achilles tangs are a little harder to keep than most fish.  <Yes, mainly due to rough handling... this is a "softer bodied" tang (and just fish period) that doesn't handle getting netted, the rigors of capture/confinement well at all... probably ninety percent are dead within two weeks of removal from the ocean... but more below> The little I do know about them is that they have sensitive skin, need larger tanks to swim in, need vigorous water movement, and above average water quality. <Yes, well put> What I would like to know is what are the parameters for above average water quality? <High, near saturation (about 7ppm) dissolved oxygen, little detectable metabolite content (folks measure nitrates and leave it at that but much more here... need good skimming, water changes, un-crowded conditions... and I see you address this below...> What do I need to do to keep an Achilles tang in a 125 gallon tank with approx. 100lbs live rock and a 180g Berlin protein skimmer in a 30g sump with a 700g/hr return pump)? Some of the livestock might be a Queen or Emperor Angel, the Achilles tang, 2-3 butterfly's, and a few damsels in the beginning. I do plan on adding two powerheads to the tank on the inside of  <Add these first> What else is needed to keep an Achilles? I am really keen on trying my hand with one these beautiful creatures once my tank is at optimal water conditions of course).  So any information or stories about these fish would be just amazing, especially coming from an expert like yourself. I would be very honored to receive a response from you or anyone else you know that could provide information other than the std info in books) about the species Acanthurus Achilles. Thank you very much for your time and patience. Sincerely, Ryan Fick  <Glad to be of (potential) help. Do take a read over the tang materials stored on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com and if possible talk with your supplier re the following: Achilles are mainly (for the trade) collected out of Hawai'i (principally Kona/Kailua)... and you do want one from here... but some are collected at night (this is what you want) while "sleeping" on the bottom (and much less damaged psychologically and physically). Also, a starting size. 4" is ideal... You don't want one that is larger (too set in ways) to begin with. Ask your dealer to contact Quality Marine in Los Angeles... or to make these inquiries on your behalf of their suppliers in turn. And do freshwater dip and quarantine your Acanthurus Achilles on arrival (don't leave it at the shop for any longer than necessary). Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Regal Tang problem Hello Mr. Fenner, First I want to say how helpful your writings have been. A great source of advice. <Couldn't agree with you more ;)> My question is: I have a blue regal tang, about 2 1/2", been treating him for ICK, in hospital, hyposalinity, Warner temp and used a product called "Quick Cure" which is none copper. He has recovered very well and has no signs left. He is eating well and very active. Now there are brownish colorings around his eyes. Areas about twice the size of his eyes. What could be the cause of this coloring?  <Mainly the treatment... with time it should "go away"... the animal's natural coloring will return> I tried searching out information but received mixed opinions. Some thought it was diet and some thought is was a bacteria. Thanks in advance for any advise. Dave Konwinski <Only secondary... sorry... that is/I mean, there might be some sort of organism(s) involved secondarily/opportunistically... after the fact, the treatment... These influences too, will "go away" with time, good care. Maybe weeks, perhaps months. Bob Fenner>
Re: Regal Tang problem
Hello again, Oops, I mean I will not reintroduce him to the main tank. Should the brownish marks be complete gone before he returns to the main tank? Thanks again, Dave <No need to wait, leave the fish out as long as the disease problem is solved... it will cure up much faster in a stable, optimized, larger system. Bob Fenner>
Re: Regal Tang problem
Hello Bob, Thank you for the input. I will put him back in the main tank and keep an eye on his diet. Dave <Ah good, and you're welcome. Bob Fenner>

PB tangs Hi Bob, Quick question, bit of a yes / no type thing really. I would like to get a powder blue tang. I realize success with this species is largely dependent on getting a good specimen. As you might recall, I get all my live stock via TMC, so a good specimen is practically guaranteed. <Agreed> Do you think this species would be suitable for my system? Tank : 84" x 18" x 20" high (hope to upgrade to 8x2x2 next June, 2001) Stock: Empower angel 5" Queen angel 5" Yellow tang 3" Regal tang 4.5" Clown trigger 2.5" Future possible additions would be either a flame angel OR a Miniatus grouper ........ but that will not be for at least another year. The powder blue is planned in the near future ..... next month or so. I have also read both your article on wet web media, and the surgeon fish chapter in the 'Conscientious marine ..... '. I know you do not recommend the PB tang, due to poor survivability, but hope to avoid this problem by getting one from a TMC source, which I presume are all handled well. Please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks for reading, regards Matt (Co Cork, Ireland) <Thanks for the thoughtful write-up and pre-preparation... Still am a "negative" in general on Acanthurus leucosternon, but if anyone I know can have success with this species it's you... Do quarantine, freshwater dip/bath the specimen for a couple of weeks... ahead of placing it, mainly to avoid parasite introduction. Bob Fenner>

Pajama/Clown tang with an Achilles Tang Hi Bob, Are you in the Cook islands yet?,  <Nope. Out tomorrow, 9/26...> This time I want to ask you about this two fishes... Since the reef compatible fishes are somewhat limited, I'm thinking on adding this two to my 120 Gal Reef tank. Do you think it's possible?, or I'm only looking for trouble here?...  <Yes... Achilles, like their name implies, die very easily... and these two can/will tussle big time if both in good shape...> If not possible what other Tang do you think I might be able to keep together with the A. lineatus? Norberto. >> <Take a look on the site: Home Page , and choose one of the Ctenochaetus, Zebrasoma, a Paracanthurus, or one of the dissimilar looking Acanthurus that is top-rated by me... Bob Fenner>

Acanthurus pyroferus Hello again! I am trying to discover if anyone has grown a Pyroferus to maturity in a hobbyists' aquarium. Our friend in our reef is growing bigger and into the Sub-Adult stage. He/She receives foods in many varieties and has developed plenty of physical bulk. The caudal fin shows the beginnings of the "feathers" carried by adults. The orange/black coloration is prominent around the operculum and the pale yellow lip on a dark background is visible. Is the normal development experienced by reefkeepers? Regards >> Yes, if the animal is kept long and well enough... Public aquariums are where I've mainly seen/photographed such advanced development individuals... of a few "normal" and mimic varieties. Bob Fenner

Re: Pyroferus Good Evening Bob!, Further to my earlier messages.  My pyro has developed in a different way to other histories I have read. The head has almost adopted the adult form and the rest is still quite yellow. However, the upper rear of the fish has shaded as the adult. It is still subject to body colour changes, tied to emotions; especially when feeding. The tail extensions are developing. I am looking at the new range of Canon SLR autos to buy and photograph the progress of this particular fish. I will also shoot the other fish which are not behaving in the accepted manner. I feel very privileged to be an observer of these changes. Regards Anthony Barden >> <"In the accepted manner...?" Curious. Well, Canon does have about the fastest lenses in their 35mm SLR's. I'd use Velvia (Fuji's super color rich 50 ISO slide film).. Do this documentation, and know that such observations have been remarked upon... seems like if some mimics don't have "things to copy" they go a bit awry. Bob Fenner>

Clown Tang I have a question about a clown tang. I was thinking of getting one for my 25 gal. reef tank. He is pretty small now but I don't know how big they get or how their behavior is. Could you tell me if this is a wise purchase or not. Thank you,  Adam Brock >> Thanks for asking ahead of purchasing this fish. Actually an Acanthurus lineatus in such a small system is a poor idea... it will be getting larger, soon... and is quite a territorial animal... I'd look into other species... none of them tangs... for your 25. Bob Fenner

Fish community In a 55 fish only tank how would a powder blue tang, Niger trigger, flame angel, true perc clown do?. I really like the powder blue tang, if the rest wont get along >> Powder Blues (Acanthurus leucosternon), are not easy to keep... especially in a non-reef setting... Please do read over the materials stored on the www.wetwebmedia.com site re this species... I can't discourage you enough in pursuing this species for a FO set-up... Very prone to ich/Cryptocaryon... need to be thoroughly dipped/quarantined... placed in LARGE, ESTABLISHED reef settings.... then, still half die within a month, ninety percent plus within three.... Bob Fenner, who says, the other livestock sounds okay... maybe look into another tang species?

Question On A blue tang Hey there, I enjoy reading your Q & A on the Flying Fish Express web site. You've help me several times before. I had a blue jaw Goby the had a hole in his side. The medicated food didn't help. But I finally caught him last week. I treated him with Karcyn <probably Kanamycin>( mis spelled) and the hole has stopped growing and the White area has diapered. Thanks for the Advice. My New Question: I recently bought a blue Tang (yellow tailed with blue maze like pattern) The fish is still a juvenile. He was fine for the first week in Quarantine and now has black patches near his belly. Also had a clear white growth near his eye but has fallen off. The tang eats constantly. I feed him brine shrimp, macro algae and veggie gum drops. He does swim around allot. He is in the same tank as the Gobies. He also received the same medication as the Gobies. Any Suggestions what it maybe and the treatment if any? Thanks, Anthony >> <Sounds like a nervous/environmental "disease" that will cure itself with the animal adjusting to captive conditions... Not infectious or parasitic. I would just place the fish in your main system... and do start a "algae sheet" food offering regimen... strips of Nori you can buy from pet fish or oriental food sources. Bob Fenner, who says, oh, yeah, this is the same species (Paracanthurus hepatus), as you folks from elsewhere call a Hippo or Palette Tang.

Re: Question On A blue tang Thanks for the help, The Tang is basically all blue with yellow tail. Has the body shape of a Yellow Tang. He is just a juvenile. Is he still a Paracanthurus hepatus? Thanks, Anthony >> Hmm Yellow tailed, blue body with maze-like dark markings... could be a Paracanthurus... or maybe just a juvenile Atlantic Blue, Acanthurus coeruleus... take a look at this site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm And read down to the genus... this species goes from a tiny all-yellow to blue with yellow tail... to all azure blue... Is this it? Ah, good, Bob Fenner

Re: Question On A blue tang thanks, Its a Atlantic Blue Tang. >> Ah, yes. Bob Fenner

Ick Bob, I have a question concerning ick treatment. I have a Powder Blue Tang that seems to have signs of ick. It has some white spots on its face and it hides a lot which is abnormal for it because it usually swims around all day. I looked at a couple of sites on Ick treatment but most of them talk about a quarantine tank, which I don't have. This is a fish only tank if that helps in deciding what to do. The other fish in the tank seem to be fine, but the blue tang has only been in the tank a couple weeks. Thanks for any help you can offer Andy >> For the cost of this fish (and possibly your other ones that may be lost from ich), you could buy, could have bought a quarantine set-up... a simple ten gallon rig will do for most all folks... My input re this tool, dips/baths, acclimation and Powder Blue Tangs can be found archived at www.wetwebmedia.com For now, your SYSTEM likely has "the ich"... and I would immediately start doing my best to tilt the balance of health in your, the fishes ends... by lowering the specific gravity of the system (to about 1.018, a thousandth per day, until, unless the non-fishes show too much sign of duress), elevate temperature to 82F., and place some biological cleaners... A couple of Lysmata Shrimp, maybe a couple of Gobiosoma gobies.... Don't wait...  And if the Tang, and your other fishes start to show many more spots... do get ready to move and treat them in your quarantine/hospital tank.....  Bob Fenner

Mixing Tangs: The tangs I listed were: Naso Tang Clown Tang Blue Hippo Tang Yellow Tang I have no problem scaling down. I was told by the local pet shop that this number of fish would be fine. <The number is okay... it's the habits, temperaments of mixing these sorts of territorial fishes of the Tang family that presents potential problems> How many pounds of live rock would you suggest? I wouldn't want more than a 1/5 of the tank with live rock in it, and with that little in the tank, would it really be of any benefit? Should I cycle the tank with the live rock, or with the Damsels? <A pound to a pound and a half per gallon's about right... you can add more later... but do look for "full box" deals (FFExpress does these deals... and has some great rock). Cure the whole system and the rock at the same time... no damsels need apply. Very great and real benefits of using live rock... maybe read up on this issue at the pieces stored at www.wetwebmedia.com> PS Is there anything wrong with building an aquarium stand higher than 30"? We want to make it about 10" higher so that it is more "eye level" and not so much stooping to see the fish is required. <Nope. Do make sure it's wedged in, otherwise anchored so it can't be "rocked" or tipped over... taller stands are better for larger settings, places where tanks are situated to be viewed by folks standing rather than sitting> Thanks bunches for all of your advise!!! Kim <You're welcome, Bob Fenner>

Powder blue tang when I first started with my 125 gallon tank, I was bent on getting the powder blue tang (A. leucosternon). Over the course of three years, I tried this fish three times. Each time it failed. This is the fish that took me from the freshwater side of this hobby to the marine. Although I doubt I can get one in my 125, since I plan on getting a Sohal tang (they wouldn't get along...would they?) I would like to know your opinion on the proper selection and husbandry of this fish. Each time I got this fish, it died of Cryptocaryon and took the rest of my tank with it. I am reminded of a line in your book where you are speaking about the regal angelfish, you say "Watching one die in your aquarium is not a pleasant experience." Is their anyway I can keep this fish? Would he do ok in the fifty five set up I asked you about ( Eheim filter for a 75 gallon tank, protein skimmer, live rock) What does this fish need water parameter wise? How can you prevent ich? I read in an old edition of FAMA that there are ich medications that use hot pepper as a base, do these work? Are they safe? >> Your keen interest and intelligent, passionate interest in the hobby are obvious... There are institutions that have kept the Powder Blue Surgeonfish for decades... so it is indeed possible. One needs to start with a very healthy, minimally damaged specimen (unless you have truly huge systems, they are best kept singly)... and cause it to be as "specific pathogen free" as possible... in practical terms, freshwater dipping and quarantining the animal for a minimum of two weeks... at low specific gravity (1.016) and higher (84F.) temperature... with vigorous aeration (Tangs are heavy breathers requiring close to saturation in dissolved oxygen)... And then the fish needs to be placed in a system that has not experienced an ich or velvet infestation... with peaceable tankmates, in a tank that has been well-established, has macro and micro algae to graze...  I would not place a Sohal with an A. leucosternon... the former is too "alpha" for the latter. Bob Fenner >> Powder blue tang First, I want to thank you for answering my questions so thoroughly. I really appreciate the information you gave me about this beautiful, and unfortunately difficult fish. However, as you probably already know, I don't give up that easy. It seems odd to me that the powder blue, which looks and behaves so similarly to other Acanthurus tangs, like A. japonicus. ( my observations are based in a huge FO tank at the NY Aquarium, where this and many other Acanthurus, Zebrasoma and Paracanthurus tangs are kept as well as angels, damsels, Hawkfish, butterflyfish, etc). It also seems to come from the same areas as other indo-pacific tangs, once again, like A. japonicus. I was wondering then, if collection made a difference, perhaps the powder blues from the red sea are hardy? I have read books on Hawaii's fishes and they don't seem to live their. However, perhaps this line of questioning is kinda dumb since A. Achilles comes from Hawaii and its not hardy according to you and most books/ my pet store. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.  With thanks, Yaron Aronowicz >> >> Have never seen the Powder Blue shipped out of or in the Red Sea... Though it is found in the upper Indian Ocean... Who can say why some species are so touchy? Some, like the Achilles are "soft-bodied" and I think their massive mortalities might well be largely due to handling... For the Powder Blue, definitely receiving a healthy specimen, as fresh from the wild as possible... and treating it through acclimation and quarantine to ensure it is specific pathogen free... and placing it in an idealized, high and stable water quality system OF SIZE is important... As you have observed, yes the leucosternon tang can be/is kept for long and in good shape in Public Aquariums. Bob Fenner

Sick Powder Blue Tang Dear Bob, I purchased a large beautiful Powder Blue Tang about a month ago and he was very healthy, no appearances of anything wrong and eating like a pig. I put him in my 110 reef tank with NNR bed using crushed coral, am planning on adding live sand later. As of now the tank only has live rock in it with a 3" Lamarck angel that's doing great and a large Yellow Tang that's doing great that's been in the tank for about 1 1/2 years. All the parameters in the tank are normal, except I had a slime algae problem but am using Kent Phosphate Sponge now and the algae is now gone, I've been using it for about a week now and let me say the stuff really works and fast. The only additive I use is Seachem's Reef Complete. Just yesterday I noticed the Powder Blue has bumps all over his sides. Nothing on the outside like worms or ick just raised bumps. He is doing fine still eating like a pig and no erratic behavior. Does the tang have an infection or disease, does it sound stressed or am I worrying over nothing, the fish is beautiful and was kinda expensive. If it sounds to you like something is wrong do you have any suggestions and if so any treatments, its weird because the Lamarck and Yellow are fine looking and nothing wrong with them, should I add something like Vita Chem or Immuno Vital to add vitamins and what not for the fish, please let me know as soon as possible if you suspect something is wrong with my tang so I can catch it early whatever it is, he really is a quite beautiful specimen, not to many come in as pretty and brightly colored as him. Thanks, Jesse >> Does sound like the Powder Blue (Acanthurus leucosternon) is exhibiting signs of an microsporidean (a group of protozoans) infection... but not much to worry about... these sorts of "raised dot" problems are neither treatable, nor infectious to other species... Not an uncommon ailment of larger imported specimens. Bob Fenner

Tang ID Hi there!! Thank you so much for the opportunity to get your feedback!!! This is a great feature! I have two different questions: 1) I purchased a fish and was told that it was a Pacific Blue Tang. However, according to pictures I've found while researching, he is NOT a pacific blue at all! How can I possibly find out what he is? Is there an online guide that YOU know of (with pictures) that might possibly help me track down exactly what kind of fish this is? I'm at a complete loss! Just in case you can place him: He is a mottled blue and yellow -- very fine striping on his sides, and not as linear tiger striping on his face (alternating a pale yellow and deep blue). Yellow fins. Yellow  2) I just purchased a 55-gallon corner tank for my home, and am a little intimidated by the filtration for this tank (I have a 30 gallon and 10 gallon salt). Can you please recommend some of the hardware I should buy to keep this new tank healthy?  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! Best Regards, Margaret Pennell >> For the first query, do have a technical site that is a fabulous tool:  http://www.cgiar.org/iclarm/fishbase/ Do your initial search of all the Surgeonfishes under their common name or family: Acanthuridae... and click away at the pictures associated with the species... But, I'm also attaching an image of what is very likely a juvenile stage Atlantic Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus... which is probably what you do have.... It will grow, change color to look more like the typical images of the adults. The second.. what sort of gear for the 55 corner tank? Hmm, lighting, filtration/circulation... including a skimmer...? Sorry, I don't know if I follow what you're looking for. The set-up will probably incorporate the same sorts of elements of your smaller systems. Bob Fenner

Powder blue tangs Dear Bob, I have a 120 FO tank, 84"x18"x18". I would like to add a 2.5 - 3" powder blue tang to the tank. It already contains a regal tang (2.5") and an emperor (imperator) angel (in juv. colours, about 3.5"). Would the tang be ok with these tanks mates ? Nori, and veg, matter is fed in large quantities on a daily basis Thanks. Matthew Silvester, Co. Cork, Ireland. >> Matthew, I encourage you (strongly) to consider another species of tang (or other fish) instead of the Powder Blue (Acanthurus leucosternon) on three counts... 1) Though you state that you are a heavy veggie feeder, which is very good, this species really only does well in reef type systems with lots of live rock and algae... not in fish only (FO) systems. 2) The Regal (Acanthurus lineatus) tang is already there and this is a very mean, territorial species. There would be WAR with the Powder Blue losing. 3) This species of surgeonfish just isn't all that hardy period. It rates my lowest ranking (a 3), well over 90% dying within three months of wild-collection...  Look around for other species. Maybe take a look at my articles on Selection and this and other fish families on the www.wetwebmedia.com site Bob Fenner

New to Tangs, Tanks Dear Bob, Hi! My boyfriend recently bought me a 55g aquarium for Christmas...& I have since been surfing the net and reading books...trying to decide on what type of fish I would like to have, and trying to educate myself on the entire issue. I have my heart set on a marine aquarium, & I am quite fond of Tangs. Specifically...I have been considering purchasing a Yellow Tang from the pet store near where I live. I have a few questions though... Since I am new to the marine aquarium experience...I am wondering if the Yellow Tang is a hardy fish, and if it is easy to take care of, & a good choice for a beginner? Also, if the Yellow Tang is a good selection...what other types of fish could coincide with the Yellow Tang in my 55g tank? Are other Tangs compatible...(like the Blue Powder Tang or the Flame?). And what other combinations of fish might you suggest? Also, I'm a bit uncertain of how many fish I might be able to have in a 55g tank, and I'm wondering if you might be able to enlighten me? I really don't want to overcrowd the fish, nor do I want them to fight. I am not interested in owning aggressive fish, or fish that are prone to violent, bullying behavior.  Thank you very much for taking the time to read my questions, and for answering them! I greatly appreciate it, and Happy Holidays to you and yours. :) Sincerely, Jennifer C. Bane >> Welcome to the fabulous marine aquarium hobby! And I do appreciate your philosophy... learning before investing... stocking compatible, hardy animals. Yes, the Yellow Tang is a perennial favorite for good reasons... it's typically tough and able to hold its own in the rough and tumble of captive care. I would suggest you start with a few (maybe three) hardy damselfishes (there are a whole bunch to choose through), maybe some Blue, Yellow Tail Blue, Two or Three Stripes... And wait on these a good while after your tank has been up. Consider the benefits of using a bit of live rock to establish your aquarium (all that cycling you're reading about), as it will make your tank more stable.  The Powder Blue Tang (Acanthurus leucosternon) is unfortunately not a good choice for a new aquarist, or such a small system. By "Flame" you mean a Flame Angel? (Centropyge loricula)... this is a very good choice for your size/type system... but do wait a few months for your system to age before adding one. Bob Fenner, who encourages you to keep reading, talking, enjoying the anticipation 

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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