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FAQs on the Powder Blue Tang Compatibility

Related Articles: Powder Blue Tangs, Acanthurus Tangs

Related FAQs: Powder Blue Tangs 1, Powder Blue Tangs 2, Powder Blue Tang Identification, PBT Behavior, PBT Selection, PBT Systems, PBT Feeding, PBT Disease, PBT Reproduction, Acanthurus Tangs 1Acanthurus Tangs 2, Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, A. sohal, A. nigricans & A. japonicus, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Purple and Powder Blue Tangs... comp.  11/29/11
Hello Mr. Fenner
<Hey Dai>
I emailed you last week on my Tang problem and I just bought a nice Purple Tang on Sunday. I am looking for a suitable replacement for my YT that died three weeks ago. If you recall, my PB is way too aggressive for my Sailfin and you suggested the PT instead.  He is now in the holding tank since Sunday inside my aquarium but the PB won't leave him alone.
<Switch them... put the PB in the holding tank for a few days, the PT in the main/display... Often this re-sets the social hierarchy...>
The PB keeps thrashing his body against the holding tank and the PT is doing the same but not as aggressive. I would like to know when I should release the PT into the aquarium? The PT almost cost me 200 bucks and I hate to lose an expensive fish like that.  Thank you very much.
Dai Phan
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Purple and Powder Blue Tangs 11/29/11

Hello Mr. Fenner
<Big P!>
Short of the cyanide method, catching the PB is impossible as I have tried in the past four years with this guy. Just kidding... :) as I know how you feel about that method of collection. Should I just release the
PT and pray? Dai 
<Worth trying... do w/ lights out, toward evening. BobF>
Upgrade... Tank size... sump and lights too?  11/29/11

Hello Sir,
I currently have a 130 G reef
<Mmm, small for Acanthurus leucosternon>
 with sump and MH lights. I am considering upgrade to a larger tank so my corals and fish have more room to grow. I am thinking of either 180 or 210 and that being the case, do I need to replace my sump?
<Not necessarily, no>
 Also my MH light strip is 72" long and do I need to replace this as well? Thank you! Dai Phan
<Depends on the position, species of photosynthetic life... and your appreciation... BobF>

Tang Stocking   11/22/11
I am very glad I find your site and please provide me with your expert answer. I have a 4 year old 130 G reef aquarium. My live stock includes a powder blue, yellow tang, fox face, 4 tomato clowns, 6 yellow tail
damsels, one pajama cardinal, a flame angel fish, a cleaner shrimp and a fire shrimp. These have been living and thriving in the past four years.
Last week, for reason unknown my yellow tang disappeared and presumed dead.
<Mmm, you must have quite a group of "cleaner uppers" here>
I immediate substituted him with a large 4-5 inch Sailfin Tang.
<Mmm, not likely compatible. And the two principal Zebrasoma species w/ this common name really get too big for this volume>
However I got disastrous result as the PB constantly harassed the ST.
<Predictable... likely most anything tang-wise will prove problematical at this point>
Now, the ST is isolated in the clear acrylic that is placed in the tank for the past 3 days.
<I'd very likely return this fish... ASAPractical>
The PB looks around the cage but does not do any aggressive moves. I was told that the ST can handle better than the YT so I choose him. Should I release the ST into the tank or should I take it back to the LFS?
<The latter>
My LFS suggested I try the large yellow tang (4-5")
<Again... the dynamic here has changed... IF anything Acanthurid/oid wise, I'd get a much smaller specimen to start/add>
as it is more robust than the ST. I eagerly await your expert replies.
Dai Phan
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Tang Stocking   11/22/11

Hello Mr. Fenner
<Hey Dai>
It is my privilege to have a reply from the world's renowned expert in marine fish keeping.
<Well, I wouldn't go that/this far, but thank you for your kind words>
I am quite humbled to have received your service. I will return the ST today and what do you suggest I replace my dead yellow tang with?
<Mmm, I encourage you (this is what I'd do) to take a rest break here... leave the system as is for a few weeks... In the while, you can do a bit of  look-seeing at local shops, on the Net, in books re what you really want>
That yellow tang had been living in harmony with the PB and the large palette tang for years. I need something colorful and active but does not eat my corals. Thanks again. DP
<Perhaps a Purple Tang... Cheers, BobF>

Vampire/tennenti tang - powder blue tang, comp.  12/24/10
Hi WWM crew.
<Hello Adam>
I'm in the process of building a 260 gallon wall mounted tank in the house my partner and I are building.
<Nice! I love these installations>
I presently have a Sohal Tang that was meant to be the focal of that tank, but she's grown faster than our house is going up (we are a year behind schedule)
<Tell me about it.. can be testing at times for sure>
and she's outgrown my current 90 gallon. I don't feel right keeping her in those conditions for another 7 months, so she's going to a much more suitable 700 gallon reef a friend of mine is building.
<Well done.. I would have to say that I would not have placed the Sohal even in a 260 myself>
I'm researching possible replacements, and I'm quite enamored with the Vampire/tennenti tang.
<Very nice>
I can't find much info on this fish, but as it will be a smaller animal than my Sohal, I don't want it to be my only Tang, if I get one.
Powder Blue Tangs are my second favorite fish, but I recognize they are the same genus, and that Powder Blues are considerably more aggressive. <I once named the one I had at the time 'Osama Bin Tang' ;)>
I've read that tennentis are quite docile, but I'm not sure if I could pair a Powder Blue with a tennenti in a 260 gallon system if I bought the Powder Blue quite small.
<Should be fine, definitely want to add the A. leucosternon last of all, well after the other is established & perhaps as you say at a smaller size>
Any feedback would be appreciated, and merry Christmas!
<You have it, and have you considered making this system an Indian Ocean biotopic display? Both these fishes can be found there...perhaps you could pick a specific place and match the rest of the fishes/ corals>
Adam LeClair

Trouble with Powder blue tang nipping at my yellow tang...    9/16/10
Hey Good afternoon,
<And you>
I recently purchased a powder blue tang (2 months now) and added him to my 60 gallon tank.
<... this species, Acanthurus leucosternon, NEEDS much more room than this.
Please read here:
and the linked files above re the species>
In the tank I have a maroon clown, yellow tail damsel, blue hippo tang and Hawaiian yellow tang.
<... too much>
I am purchasing a 125 gallon tank but had a quick question for you guys.
The mix of fish I know is a little crowded (I will be up grading soon) but prior to adding the powder blue tang everyone got along great.
<I would remove this fish, give/place it elsewhere... Now>
Now with the powder blue tang in there it constantly picks on the yellow tang, nipping at its tail. The yellow tang backs up to it and tries getting it with its barb on its tail. Will this aggression go away with a larger tank?
<Likely so>
Or should I plan on getting rid of the Powder blue before I add it to the 125 gallon?
<Yes I would>
Thanks in advance,
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Tankmate Question/Powder Blue Tang/Compatibility 8/22/10
<Hi Brendan>
I have a 200 gal long acrylic:
I have the following fish:
Koran Angel
Purple Tang 6 inches when flared
Naso Tang 4 to 5 inches when flared
Blue Hippo Tang 8 Inches
Yellow Tang 3 inches
Foxface Rabbit
Leopard Wrasse
Sixline Wrasse
Purple Fire Fish
On craigslist today I got a 3 inch Powder Blue Tang.
<Mmm, I do not like where we are going.>
I wanted to see if I can put him in my main. He is as happy as can be in qt at the moment.
Would this be ok? I really do not have aggression in my tank since introduction was the Koran, blue hippo, Naso, then the purple then the yellow. If anything the Naso has been in his "I want to be a jerk mode lately with his tail flapping nonsense to the purple.
<Mmm, not a jerk, but displaying his normal personality.>
You guys are the bible of the saltwater hobby world. I always utilize your knowledge before pulling the trigger on a decision.
<I'd like to start by saying your tank will be too small for it's present inhabitants as they grow. Adding the Powder Blue will create nothing but problems for you. I'm quite certain that the Naso wouldn't give the Powder Blue a fighting chance at
acclimation, and would be ill advised placing the two together. I would have researched this before buying.>
Thank you in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Brendan ODonoghue
Re Tankmate Question/Powder Blue Tang/Compatibility 8/22/10
No problem. Thank you for the help.
<You're welcome.>
Glad I'm a qt believer And did not put him in the main.
<Yes, likely problems/death.>
Have a friend with a 92 think he will enjoy And for 20 I know he will jump.
<A good buy considering the difficulty in keeping this fish.>
Thanks again
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Baby face, my feisty Powder Blue Tang! Comp.    6/25/10
Hello fantabulous WWM crew!
First let me say how grateful I am for your web site and all the information you have here. I reference your site often and find myself reading all kinds of issues that I didn't intend to but learn so much in the process. It is really a wonderful gift you give to us and all the critters. We all benefit from your omnipotence (it sure seems as if you are.)
<Thank you for your kind words>
My first book was The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. In my mind, it was the best thing I could have done as I started this hobby.
Okay, here is my problem. I have a 200g reef tank. I have about 200lbs of live rock and a variety of soft and stony corals. My fish include five Lyre-Tail Anthias, six blue green reef Chromis, one Maroon Clownfish, one Citrine Goby, one Dotty Back Gramma, one Six Line Wrasse, one Sailfin Tang, one Foxface Rabbitfish and one Powder Blue Tang. The Powder Blue was the last fish added.
<Ok. Please capitalise these names in future Dre, I have corrected all of these>
At first the Rabbitfish would chase and bite at the Powder Blue Tang. The Tang never responded with aggression but would swim away and hide. The chasing subsided and beside an occasional posturing, I didn't see any more signs of aggression. Over the past month the aggression started back up. Both would start it and neither would back off. The two of them started to get wounds on their sides and pieces of fin missing. I pulled the Powder Blue Tang out a few days ago (first one in the trap) and have him in a 30 gallon quarantine tank (2 days now.)
<The right move. And a royal pain in the rear end to do>
I called my local fish store and they said they would take him on a trade. Before I resort to that I just had to make sure I was doing the right thing.
<Yes, you are. Powder Blues can be trouble with a capital 'T', with just about any other herbivorous fish in my experience. Sometimes they get on, mostly they don't>
Are there any tricks that would help them get along?
<None, save a massive tank upgrade, and even then'¦>
I have rearranged the rocks twice (very hard to do with large corals and soft corals spread along the rocks.)
<This approach rarely, if ever, works. I have kept fish for more than 25 years and I have not once in that whole time had success by 'moving the furniture around'. IMO, once they start fighting, the only approach worth trying is to remove one or the other permanently. Wasting your time trying other 'methods' is just that. You only end up removing one or the other in the end anyway, so you might as well just do it right away and get it over with.>
Are the three of them just too many big fish for my size tank?
<You need to decide which fish you want to keep the most. Unless the Sailfin is much larger than the Powder Blue, if you remove the Foxface instead there is a good chance the Acanthurus will turn it's attentions to the Sailfin.>
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond to my e mail. You guys really are the best!
<Dr? Simon>
Re: Baby face, my feisty Powder Blue Tang!    6/25/10
<hello 'Dre'>
Thanks so much for the advise.
<It's a pleasure! Sorry I could not offer anything more positive for you. I am missing the Glastonbury Festival for the first time since I can remember however this weekend, so am not feeling particularly good right now :(>
I will take the Powder Blue Tang to the LFS.
<The best move overall most likely>
Sure wish I would have asked before rearranging the rocks twice!
<Heee! Indeed so!>
Dre (life long nick name, short for Andrea)

Powder blue too aggressive for a 150gal with 2 tangs?
Tangs, tangs, and more tangs. 8/17/09

Hi, I´m considering adding a powder blue tang to my tank. Current fish in my tank:
2x ocellaris
1x sailfin tang 6"
1x hippo tang 3"
I can´t add small fish since I have a mantis that kills them all and I just can´t get it out, I tried removing rocks and traps and it doesn´t work. I had previously removed 3 mantis by removing rocks but this is the last and obviously the smartest.
<I see... To be honest, I think a mantis is a poor excuse for putting a third large tang into a tank that to me sounds like it has its fill of large fish.>
So I have a few options left, normal Naso tang is not that pretty, blonde Naso is ok but expensive, other tangs not as colorful. I like the powder blue a lot, but I know it is known to be very aggressive, however it would be the last fish to enter my 150 gal. My sailfin is very social and peaceful, the hippo tang is very shy and peaceful.
What do you think?, another option is adding another hippo tang, I already have one, but I´m guessing a second one would not be as aggressive as a powder blue. I don´t know.
<Honestly, my advice is to continue trying to capture the Mantis shrimp despite the time it takes. You already have 2 large tangs, a standard 150G tank comes in either 4 foot or 5 foot, and I do not recommend tangs large tangs in tanks under 6 feet in length, I think the reduced dimensions cause unneeded stress to the fish, which is only exacerbated by having multiple tangs in the same space.
Obviously your 2 ocellaris are doing just fine though they are relatively smaller fish. I am thinking you will have better luck with small fish that are not going to dwell in your liverock, especially at night. So you do still have some options while you are mantis hunting.
Good luck,
Josh Solomon>

Powder Blue Terror   9/19/08 Hey Crew! <David> First off, I'd like to offer my thanks for your prompt months back regarding an ich outbreak - main tank's been clear of any infestations and no fish were lost! <Ah, good> I've come across a new problem that I would love to lean on your experience with, but I can't find anything specific on your website. <Let's see> I ended up working with my LFS to re-home our Koran angel (ich-free, plump, and a great eater nearly a year after we acquired him) and acquired a majestic angel. We let go of the Koran in advance out of concern regarding potential fighting between two large angels being in the same tank, as well as worries about overstocking. <This is/was prudent> After spending a few hours slowly acclimating the majestic to our main tank's water, dimming the lights, and then bringing him into the main tank... world war III began. Most of the fish in our tank aren't large, but we have a powder blue tang nearly the same size as the Majestic (6" long) and the powder blue terror picked a fight that within minutes got very far out of hand and I ended up splitting the tank in half with egg-crate to avoid either fish getting seriously hurt. <A wise move> I'm considering moving the Powder Blue to our 75gal quarantine for a week, re-arranging all of the live rock in the main tank and letting the majestic settle and claim his territory unhindered... but I am VERY open to advice and suggestions. I would prefer to keep both fish but I only have one tank large enough to permanently house them and will re-home one if they can't co-exist. <Mmm, given the sizes, establishment of the Acanthurus, the volume of the system, there is little chance that these two will "learn to get along"... It is highly likely that you are faced with a decision twixt these two alpha individuals> As far as tank specs- 180gal, 200lbs live rock, aragonite for substrate, bio-balls in 40gal below, skimming and UV, ~400w of PC, moderate current (couple 1200gph pumps feeding tank from sump) 1.019 salinity, temp hovering around 79F, no ammonia/nitrites, low nitrates, buffer's very slightly low. As far as inhabitants- powder blue tang, majestic angel, flame angel, mandarin, false Perc, small (3") porcupine puffer, a couple tiny damsels and a small assortment of crabs and snails. Thanks! -David Jones <You could try what you suggest, but I would be making alternative plans for one of these fishes. Bob Fenner>

Re: Powder Blue Terror   9/19/08 Thanks yet again for another quick reply (and helpful advice!) <Welcome David> The powder blue tang made the decision much easier on which fish to keep, and is re-homed now. The powder blue started attacking the rest of the fish once we isolated the majestic angel. When I discussed this with the LFS, they mentioned it was very common for surgeonfish to "snap" with frustration when they are forced to share "their" tank with newcomers, and will sometimes attack pre-existing as well as new fish for weeks under these circumstances. <This is so> The LFS suggested adding a different powder blue to the tank, but I think it's time to stop spending money on fish and start looking at bigger tanks :-) <Ahh!> (Now if you have any advice/experience on how to convince wives to let you bring home bigger aquariums...) <Have some considerable experience on what doesn't work... barely any to the contrary> Thanks crew! <Again, very welcome. BobF>

Achilles and Powder Blue Tang'¦Together? -- 06/30/08 Can an Achilles and a Powder Blue get along in a system of 800 gallons...if both the same size and added at the same time? <<I have mixed Acanthurus species, and seen others do so, in displays of some several hundred gallons'¦so yes, in systems of size such as yours it is my estimation you could do this. In fact, in a tank this size I suspect you could even get away with pairs of the same species. And just a side note'¦these fishes enjoy, even require, a LOT of water movement. Regards, EricR>>

Powder Blue Tang And Yellow Eyed Tang/Compatibility 9/3/07 I have a 100g Reef Tank that is 6 feet long with 150 lbs of live rock and a DSB. I have 2 False Percs, a Starry Blenny, and just added two 4-5" Tangs. Those being the Powder Blue Tang and the Yellow Eyed Tang. I read as much as I could before purchasing and picked these two since they are in two different families and two different colors. They are semi close in size the Powder Blue being slightly larger. I made sure both of them ate well at the LFS before purchasing. Then I went to add them at the same time as had read that it helps to alleviate territory issues. <With the Powder Blue in question, it would have been much better to add the Yellow Eye Tang first, then a couple of weeks later add the Powder Blue. Even with that scenario, Powder Blue's tend to be very aggressive toward other tangs and will become dominant as you mention. If I were to have a Powder Blue, it would be the only tang in the tank.> I know that no matter what Tang it is that personality is a major factor in the acclimation. I drip acclimated them for about 2 1/2-3 hours. Fed the residents before introducing. Turned off the lights and placed the fish into the tank. Left the lights out for the rest of the day and night. In the morning the powder blue was wandering the tank with a look of a happy puppy. No issues with the two clowns. However tended to do light chases with the Starry blenny. Fortunately for the blenny he hasn't been super intimidated and was the first fish in the tank and knows every hole in the live rock. The Powder hasn't been super aggressive but simply does a light chase on the blenny. Sorry to go on and I will try to get to my point of question. The Yellow Eyed tang was being very tentative and was hiding back behind the live rock. I thought this was in fear of the Powder Blue initially. I would see the Powder Blue in his travels go back into the area that the Yellow Eye was at and while the Powder wouldn't attack he would do a shake and shimmer next to him. I know this is a symbol of aggression or attempt to create dominance. The Yellow Eye would retreat. <Sounds like typical behavior of a healthy Powder Blue, they will challenge other tangs. If it were me, I'd see if you can return one or the other to your LFS. I believe your Yellow Eye is going to have a difficult time feeding with the Powder Blue present.> I had to go to work and as I left the room the Yellow Eye began to swim outward and investigate. My guess is he was intimidated by me. However the Powder did give him a very light chase. My question is this. I realize you cannot tell me exactly whether the situation will work itself out because the personality plays such an important role. I was wondering however if my description of the level of aggression implies just sorting out dominance or if this seems more a prelude to higher aggression. <You are just looking at normal behavior of a Powder Blue.> My personal thought is that the yellow eye might perk up a little bit after adjusting to the new tank and perhaps they can balance themselves out. Right now it seems that the Powder Blue adjusted to our presence and has been happy and sees the Yellow eye not being nearly as bold and is taking advantage of this to be the alpha of the tank. However since I have never introduced multiple tangs I didn't know if there was a typical sort out behavior or not. Any info on their initial behavior would be welcome. Thanks again and I love reading your responses and your site is very helpful. <Steven, do read here and linked files above on the Powder Blue. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Steven

Re: Powder Blue And Yellow Eyed Tang/Compatibility 9/5/07 Thank you for your reply. <You're welcome.> While I was at work yesterday I contemplated perhaps actually returning the Powder Blue, since the Yellow Eye would be an overall healthier and less aggressive tankmate. <True, and would be a good decision.> When I got home I saw the Yellow Eye and the Powder Blue eating coral off the same rock side by side. <Eating coral??> I then did something that I thought would be helpful but wound up being stupid. I then added dried seaweed to a feeder clip in the tank. Unfortunately the floating seaweed spooked the two tangs and the Powder gave a little chase to the Yellow Eye and they both hid. So I turned off the lights hoping that they would normalize to the floating seaweed. I am going to give this acclimation some more time unless I see either fish have higher stress. Since I see them both eating. <OK> Thank you, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Steven

Re: Powder Blue And Yellow Eyed Tang/Compatibility 9/6/07 James, <Steven> Sorry for a little confusion I haven't gotten much sleep due to our baby boy thinking sleep is an unnecessary evil. They were eating algae <algae> off the live rock not the coral. I took your good advice and removed the Powder Blue and I put some cheato <Chaeto> from my refugium and put it in a clip since it will appear more natural and less threatening than the seaweed. I truly do appreciate your advice. <You're welcome, and a good move. James (Salty Dog)> Steven

I bet you've never seen this before! Acanthurus leucosternon beh./comp. aggr.   7/12/07 Hey Bob, <Jim> Some time ago you helped me out with a powder blue tang that had crypt (after a 2 month quarantine). He was attacking his own reflection in the glass which was stressing him out. The ich wasn't terrible so I took a wait and see approach and it has now been about six months since any sign of it. He is fat and doing great. <Ah, good> I got him at about 3'' and he is a bit over 4'' now. The only other occupants of the reef are a 3 1/2'' emperor angel and 2 percula clowns. I have attempted to add several others but the PBT kicks the crap out of them immediately upon arrival so it looks like he has made himself the final addition to the tank. The tank is an SPS dominated reef with a few LPS in the sand, some star polyps, and some xenia. You would think I should be concerned about the angel, but I have yet to see him pay any attention to the corals. On the other hand the PBT thinks the xenia and star polyps taste wonderful. None of this is truly that out of the ordinary. what is out of the ordinary though is what happened today. After a 2 month quarantine I decided to attempt to add a sunburst Anthias. I figured I would remove the PBT( named Jack - the ripper) for a week and let the anthias get situated in his new home. I also have a 180 gal species tank that houses a 8" clown trigger. So I got the Idea that maybe If Jack spends the next week getting chased around by that monster it might knock him down a peg or two. Normally I would not recommend this but there are a lot of places to hide and I am on vacation for the next week so I would keep a close eye on them. This is where it gets interesting. I added Jack to the tank with the trigger and immediately the trigger went after Jack. I ran in the other room to grab the net and when I got back I was amazed to see a little PBT Kicking the crap out of a huge Clown Trigger. He was swimming circles around the trigger like a tornado. By the time I got him out the triggers fins were frayed in a bunch of spots. Jack is now in quarantine and the only question I've got is have you ever heard of this and can I return him to his original tank or will he decide to attack his old roommates! Thanks, Jim <Good name, story... And yes, have known some tang terrors... Many have a "tude" and a switchblade to go with it! Cheers! BobF>

Powder Blue / Powder Brown Compatibility   3/8/07 Hello, <Hi there>             I have an interesting situation on my hands.  I ordered a Acanthurus japonicus and a Zebrasoma desjardinii for my 90 gallon aquarium.  For the most part, my tank is an LPS specialty tank with an assortment of LPS corals and inverts'¦ shrimp, crabs, feather dusters, etc.  The only other fish are a pair of Premnas biaculeatus. <Hopefully small... can be/come quite territorial> I didn't plan on stocking any more fish other than these two tangs.  My problem is this'¦ I received a Zebrasoma desjardinii (3 inch) and a HYPERLINK "http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm"Acanthurus leucosternon (4 inch).  I sent the company an email with pictures of the mistake and asked for a resolution.  I would not have ordinarily ordered a HYPERLINK "http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm "Acanthurus leucosternon, due to their poor survivability in captivity. <I agree with you... Need much larger systems to do well... and are VERY prone to "coral reef disease"> I received an email back that I can keep the fish and that they would send me a Acanthurus japonicus and that it was in the mail already.  My problem:  there are no local LFS's that will buy my Acanthurus leucosternon.  My local shop would be happy to take it, but not pay for it. <Mmm, Craig's list? A local marine/reef club?> Since I have this beautiful fish, I was wondering if there was any hope of survival in my aquarium. <Some... but not enough to interest me... Hopefully you have not placed this fish in your main/display tank> I consider a 90 a bit on the small size for 3 tangs, and never planned for it in the first place.  I also am aware that I will now have two fish of the Acanthurus genus together and figured that could be a problem.  Currently I have acclimated them all, freshwater dipped them, and they are split up in two separate quarantine tanks. <Thank goodness> If there was a good chance of survival, I would at least like to give it a try.  I am also concerned that if the fish goes to my local LFS, it may not make it out alive.  They have never kept any tangs other than the yellow tangs and usually have a few dead fish every time that I am there.  This would be the reason why I mail order everything.  Please advise, Brian <Well... I would be investigating (seriously) where you might move the PBT to... in case things don't "work out"... The much more important, real issue here is parasitic disease... and the concomitant stress that will VERY likely bring it on. Be ready to remove, treat all fishes. Bob Fenner> Powder Blue and Yellow Tang? 4/27/06 NO Vacancy (A Fully-Stocked Aquarium) I have an opportunity to acquire a Powder Blue Tang.  WWM says these are notoriously poor survivors in captivity, but this particular fish has been in the tank for 2 years, so I assume this is one of the survivors. Anyway, I already have a 3" Yellow Tang, nearly 3 years old.  Will these two fish get along?  Tank is a 3 year old 125 gal with 130 lbs of live rock and plenty of algae. Other occupants include 3" Blue Angel (2+ yrs old), Royal Gramma, Sixline Wrasse, Chalk Bass, Green Chromis, and Lawnmower Blenny. <Well, these Tangs do inhabit different ecological niches, so they will probably get along reasonably well, but I'm more concerned about the available space in the aquarium. These guys need a lot of room, particularly the Powder Blue Tang. Your aquarium is pretty well populated already, in my opinion, and the addition of this fish will put you over the edge on stocking, as far as I'm concerned. It's also a personal rule of mine not to house more than one Tang in any aquarium less than 6 feet in length, if for no other reason than the large territory these guys need to rang over.>   I'm also considering adding a French Angel and Dwarf Angel, giving me three angels of varying sizes. <Please don't. Way too many fish at that point- and the French Angel can reach a HUGE size. To pack it into a tank like that would spell disaster for the long term, IMO. Kind of like you being stuck for the rest of your life in a reasonably comfortable, but crowded apartment. Not an ideal situation.> LFS says that would likely minimize fighting. <In a tank of suitable size (were talking HUNDREDS of gallons), sure.> Anyway, would the PBT (or any of my other fish) have a problem with the angels or with a potential Foxface? <I'd pass on any more additions of fishes that can reach 4 inches or more, myself. I know that it seems as though the tank could support the fish, and it will, in the very short term. However, when you purchase fishes, you need to think of the long term. Some of the fishes that you are considering reach large sizes, requiring a large amount of physical space. Do reconsider your stocking plan for long-term success. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.> Frogspawn Coral and a  Fish fight... Euphyllia beh. and PB Tang sys. Hello Everyone. <James> I saw something strange in the tank this morning and I will do my best to describe it on the frogspawn colony. First off, only one outcrop did this and the others on the branch did not. It seemed to balloon at the bottom (where attached) with the polyps retracted. This I have not seen before as normally they just retract polyps if they are touched or at night. This branch all were getting morning sunlight though not direct bright light. I never have seen this before and can only describe it as ballooning at the bottom. Do you have any idea what this behavior is? Spawning maybe??? =) <Perhaps> Part two comes with some surprise from me. I introduced my powder blue tang to the main tank last night and it was not well received by the Foxface?!? <Mmm, not unusual... the two families are closely related... use similar niches...> Now, okay, they are both surgeon fish but they are not the same species, as with Zebrasomas for instance; so if I mixed a yellow and purple tang together I should certainly expect trouble. The Foxface has been a very peaceful and easy going fish and has got along very well with everything in the tank thus far. I thought more of it as the big (bigger now and compared to the others anyway) yellow coward. It was strange, this fish swam over and immediately started at the powder blue with its spines and they went at each other for a little while before I shut the lights completely (I just couldn't catch the P.B.T. around all the live rock to remove it). This morning they are on opposite sides of the tank and I switched the lights off rather than have the lights come on with the timers so I can see how they interact when I get back home. I figured I would have had to move the firefish to the 24 gallon and planned on it (just too passive). I thought the royal Gramma and flame angel would both adapt and thus far seem to. Work issues and travel kept me from this introduction sooner so the qt period for the PBT was about 3.5 weeks rather than the 2.5 I wanted.   <Longer is better here> I still have the 55 gallon tank in addition to the 24 gallon (was just used for QT for the PBT) plus the main tank 75 megaflow with a 20 gallon RDP sump/refugium. I really do not want to put either fish in the 24gallon as it is way to small long term. Both fish are marked from their little tiff. Size wise the Foxface is larger by about an inch. <Good. Better> Had the aggression started from the PBT I would not be as surprised. I did not think Foxy had this in her. I do not like seeing her mottled and unhappy in the corner of the tank. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Re-setup of the 55 gallon tank won't be impossible just difficult and more expensive as I will need a new filter, light and protein skimmer... I moved these to the 75 setup in place of the 55 though I kept that tank and stand. Wow, surprises... Thank you. James Zimmer <I would just wait this out at this point. Likely they will "learn to get along"... Acanthurus leucosternon needs more space than a 75... Bob Fenner>

Re: Frogspawn Coral and a  Fish fight ... siganid comp.    4/14/06 Thank you Bob. <Welcome> I agree completely about space and the 75 setup is really the next step towards a much larger system (the wife has to sign off on this too you know... this I could swing). In plans now is at least 180 gallon system and I really 'prefer' to go as large as 300 gallons (it will be space dependent when we get our house). <"First things first..."> At the moment I am saving for lighting and other infrastructure. The 75g with the 20g sump/RDP was both a reasonable financial compromise and a stepping stone to get used to plumbing and other issues before I get a much bigger system. Not to mention, I also salvaged some of the items I already have without incurring hideous expenses upfront as they fit this new setup; my Coralife PC wasn't going on a longer tank. As for the fish (knocking on wood here) they are still standoffish but are somewhat getting along. Feeding time went well and though they postured they were pretty well behaved. The shock really came from the behavior of the Foxface... I never saw that side of her before. I sometimes hand feed and can darn near pet her... though for the obvious reasons won't! ; ) <... Acanthurids and close-reef Siganids don't cohabitate in small spaces...> Oh, moving one of the frogspawn colonies (with Aiptasia) to the 24 gallon was a good experiment. The peppermint shrimp worked his magic and the 'free anemones' are gone. Moving affected rock this way also has been replenishing the pod populations in the main system and gives a constant supply of algae feeding rocks... cool! Sure beats the Ca(OH)2 slurry and pipette for removing the Aiptasia. James <Oh yes. Bob Fenner>

Clarification re Siganids, comp.    4/14/06 Bob. Regarding your response, I don't think I understand 'close-reef' in regard to Siganids. Does this imply they are simply reef dwelling fish and not more free-ocean swimming? <Yes... sorry for the apparent confusion. Some "Spinefoots"/Rabbitfishes are more open-ocean, tend to be schooling species... trend to being "easier going" than Lo vulpinus...> However, separation down the line seems inevitable... <Yes... this tank is too small...> assuming, of course, I am fortunate enough to see the Acanthurus leucosternon thrive over time (I do hope so). I had preferred the hepatus tangs for a multitude of reasons but I have not seen many truly good specimens for quite some time now and again this powder blue was/is gorgeous. James   <Live and learn... hopefully. Bob Fenner> Tang/Butterfly Dispute - 01/18/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I am having a major problem and don't know what to do.  I have a 75 gallon FOWLR.  Last night I added a Copperband Butterfly.  I read everything I could find about the fish first before adding him and asked three of my LFS people before getting him but this still didn't prevent what has been happening. <<Don't ya just hate it when the fish don't read the same books, talk to the same people!>> My Powder Brown Tang has been chasing him all over the tank forcing him to hide in the top corners of the tank.  I turned off the lights and the aggression seemed to drop off a bit.  This morning I saw him chasing him around some more and back to the corner he retreated.  My question is will this subside? <<Hard to say...>> Should I just yank him now and put him back in QT?  Here are all the tankmates: 75 Gallons 80 pounds of LR 1 Tomato Clown 1 Powder Brown Tang 4 Green Chromis 1 Cleaner Shrimp Thanks, Jason <<I would leave the butterfly in the display, pull the tang and put it in the QT tank, rearrange the rockwork in the display, and reintroduce the tang in about a week's time...if all goes well the butterfly will be comfortable/familiar enough and the tang confused enough the aggression will be mitigated.  regards, EricR>>

Powder blue tang I have just bought a powder blue tang, I told the person in the shop what   fish I already have, they said it should be ok. when I put him in I had no   problem with any of my other fish except my yellow tang, do these two  normally get on?? <The Powder Blue is not easily kept by hobbyists period. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm and the related FAQs files (linked, in blue, at top). Members of the Tang family often quarrel, particularly ones of similar body shape and size... Bob Fenner>

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

- Powder Blue Tang, Shoehorn Style - Hi, I currently have a regal tang about 2 inch, and am thinking of purchasing a powder blue tang. Will they fight or will they just mind their own business, as I would really like to keep one of these fishes. <Depends on the size of the tank.> My tank is 23 gallon, and has a 100 gallon protein skimmer, 55 gallon canister filter 6 pieces of live rock on the bottom, which takes up around 3 gallon, and the other 20 gallons is remaining for the fish. <This tank is much to small for the regal tang let alone a second one. I cannot recommend that you keep any more fish in this system.> Baring in mind I will have a new, and bigger set up for Christmas to move the tang(s) into. <I'd wait until you actually have the system set up and running for a couple of months before attempting a powder blue - these fish on average do quite poorly in anything but the largest systems. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/badacanthurusaq.htm > I do know that they may be aggressive towards each other, but I don't think this will be a problem, as I have seen many different species of tang in the same tank. <Well, that doesn't make it a smart or good long-term choice. I would not place a powder blue tang in a tank of this size - please don't put this fish in your tank at this point.> Please could you fill me in on these questions, I would very much appreciate it. Regards Aaron.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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