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FAQs on the Powder Blue Tang Disease/Health 1

FAQs on Powder Blue Tang Disease: PBT Disease 1, PBT Disease 2,
FAQs on Powder Blue Tang Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogen (plus see Tangs/Rabbitfishes & Crypt), Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: Powder Blue Tangs, Acanthurus Tangs

Related FAQs: Powder Blue Tangs 1, Powder Blue Tangs 2, Powder Blue Tang Identification, PBT Behavior, PBT Compatibility, PBT Selection, PBT Systems, PBT Feeding, 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,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine

Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Powder Blue Tang... dis., sel....  08/27/07 Good Mooring, I'm so glad that there is a resource for advice about marine fish, thank you! I have a powder blue tang that I moved to quarantine 7 days ago because he contracted ick. <Mmm, a mis-statement, perhaps misunderstanding... this fish did not contract such... it simply expressed what it already had/has. Further, it's not in a quarantine setting, but a treatment one... lastly a note/hope... that all fishes in the previous system are under treatment, as assuredly all and the system itself are infested> I'm treating the water with Copper safe and after 3 days all signs of ick were gone. <Uh, no... just cycling to another generation> Today the 7th day I noticed he seemed irritated, swimming back and forth fast, restless, rubbing his body on the power head. I'm concerned about copper poisoning so I did a 20% water change and added carbon to start removing the copper thinking that this might be the source of his irritation combined with his irritation of being in a 29 gallon tank. <Maybe... but...> He is only about 3 inches <Total length? Undersize from what I consider ideal to start> but has always been a very active fish. He eats Mysis and Spirulina soaked brine without a problem. <Good> In the main display there is tones of live rock and plenty of macro/micro algae for him to eat. Right now I'm concerned that his dietary requirements are not being met in quarantine. He barley <I like this as an ingredient in beer, barely> notices the macro algae that I offer and has never gotten to were he would eat the dried seaweed that I add. <Takes a while...> I feel good about this fish in general. But, because his stress level is increasing in quarantine I want to add him back to the main display in a couple of days or sooner but I know that he has not been in quarantine long enough and the main display has not gone fallow. <You'll learn...> The other inhabitants have not shown signs in a week and I removed him with in hours of his first symptoms, once I was sure it was ick and not fish slime stuck sand. I know this fish is prone to ick. <Oh yes> And because of that I know my main display will be subject to it as well. Do you feel that putting him back in the main is the wrong move at this point even though he has a better food source and lots of room to roam or worth seeing if his natural immunity will kick in and help him fight any major out breaks of ick like he other fish, I do have two cleaner wrasses and two cleaner shrimp to help out. <A possibility...> The cleaner wrasses are so used to being fed that they are not aggressive cleaners. <Good> At this point all the other fish are OK and I do not feel that they need to be taken out and treated unless one comes down ick and that really seems unlikely to me. <Only time, experience, reflection can/will tell> I just don't want to make the wrong move <Too late> and I'm finding that I'm a little nervous with him because of the history with powder blue tangs. I guess my main concern is that even though he eats the food that I'm giving him I'm noticing some weight loss and he is not able to graze and that is such a major thing with this fish. Thank you, Mark <Up to you to make the general "trunk" choice of returning the PBT... I do hope that this is the last fish to be added... that in future stocking you'll take the time to read, do prophylactic dips/baths at least, quarantine incoming fishes... Good luck here. Bob Fenner>

Yes another PBT question about the FAQs   9/19/06 Dear Bob & Crew, <Adlai> After about 15 months managing my current reef system, I plan on getting a PBT (Powder Blue Tang). I have read the FAQs thoroughly and before I make this leap to purchase this very difficult and ICH prone fish I have some questions about the information I have read in the FAQs and on the site ( plus I have Bob's book) . First of all I plan to do a FW dip w/ Methylene Blue upon arrival of the PBT, followed by a QT period of 6 weeks. I plan to use Seachem's Paraguard for the first two weeks and then hypo the remaining 4 weeks as a preventative measures. I am paying extra for the fish because the source is well regarded among hobbyists i.e. Live Aquaria.com (plus they have a 2 week guarantee). I have never had Ich in my system (thanks to the crew!) <And you!> and hope by doing the above I will not be introducing it into my tank. I understand about the life cycle of the Ich parasite  but I am confused about some of the reported results I have  read in the FAQs about hobbyists who dipped and QT'd a PBT  but  still got ich almost immediately. <Yes> Assuming the QT and dip were performed correctly and the tank or its inhabitants did not have the parasite how is this possible?. <Mmm, possibly deeply embedded parasites... maybe a fault in the dipping protocol> I understand that there are no guarantees but I thought these preventative measures practically eliminated the possibility. Can a perfectly healthy fish in an ich free environment still get ich? <Mmm, nope. There are SPF (specific pathogen free) facilities... have seen, been in them... that have no Crypt...> This would mean that ICH is always somehow present in the tank and factors cause it to be appear. According to the information in Bob's book and the site this should not be the case. I am banking that good selection and good preventative measures will eliminate the potential Ich challenge. <And a note to non-and European marine aquarists... we don't have the immuno agents that are sold/available out of Germany here in the States... yet> Secondly I plan on upgrading my tank to 120 gal - 4ft X 2ft - is this big enough for the PBT- the WWM site advises 100 gal plus but some answers seem to focus on a 6ft long tank? <Mo' bigger, mo' bettah> I will have the following fish in the tank with about 40X turnover, skimmer, sump and refugium 1 coral beauty 2 Ocellaris Clown fish 1 Six Line Wrasse 1 Royal Gamma 1 Longnose Hawkfish and possibly a Yellow Watchman Goby. Is my bioload to heavy? <Mmm, no... a good mix as well>   FYI All fish will go through a similar QT period Thanks again for all that you do for the hobby. <And you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Powder Blue Surgeon w/ distended stomach 10/9/04 I've had my powder blue surgeon for a week now and at first he was eating well, but now  he's listless, not breathing well and has a very bloated stomach. I read one of the other FAQs that talked about an intestinal blockage, but I'm not sure if that is what it is. His colour seems normal and there are no outward signs of parasites. Any help with this problem would be great! <if you want to test if its blockage (non-pathogenic), add a heaping tablespoon of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate from the pharmacy) and repeat at half dose two days later. If you see stabilization or improvement in 3-5 days, carry one with water changes and good feeding. If symptoms degrade, do be prepared to isolate the fish in a proper QT tank for meds. Best regards, Anthony>

He Has The Powder Blues (Possible Sick Powder Blue Tang) Greetings,   <Hi there! Scott F. here with you!> Great site!  I learn something new everyday thanks to you folks. <And we, in turn- learn something new everyday from our readers! What a great arrangement!> I purchased a Power Blue Tang from my LFS 2 weeks ago.  I asked the store if it had been eating and they didn't know.  (not a good sign I know). <A good idea is to ask them to feed the fish in your presence. That may at least give you some hint of who the fish is doing; it will also give you a really good hint at how your store works with customers!> This fish is reasonably hard to find in my area so I took a chance.  I left it at the store until they could confirm that he was eating regularly.   <Ah.. good. Glad to hear that!> They did a freshwater dip which is part of their normal process when they get new fish. <Above average husbandry for a store!> After about a week, he has had great color and looked good.  Swimming normal etc. I took it home and put it in my refugium.  I figured if the fish was having any trouble eating, my refugium full of algae would help. <Good thought, but keeping the fish in a separate quarantine tank is a better way to go. By its very nature, a refugium is connected to your main system, meaning a fish with potentially contagious pathogens is exposed to the rest of your population! Better approach would have been to harvest macroalgae from your refugium to feed the Tang while it was in quarantine. Do consider this process next time, okay?> It at more or less right away and started to clean out all my macro algae.  No signs of Ich or any other visible parasites.  After 5 days the fish was good and fat with algae.  And it was definitely coming out just about as fast as it was going in.  :-) <Always a good sign!> This evening I came home from work and the fish was in trouble.  Breathing rate has doubled, and the fish looks paralyzed. It can move it's eyes, and mouth.  It nips at anything I put near it's mouth. The top yellow fin looks like color is flaking off.  There is no sign of anything on the surface of the fish.  The color is very bright.  The yellow is looking a bit "dirty" but still bright.  Any Ideas?  Is there anything I can do to help it out?  What could the cause be?  Water specs seem ok. NH3,NO2,NO3 all zero or immeasurable.  PH is about 8.2,  SG is 1.024 temp is 79ish.   <Hard to be 100% certain, but the potential is there for this to be some sort of parasitic infection. With your good quality environmental parameters, I suppose that we can just about eliminate environmental lapses as a possibility. Another possibility might be some sort of ingested toxin, but I think that unlikely. Rapid breathing, relative inactivity, and color changes are potential cues of further problems.> I moved the fish out of the system and into QT with a bit of copper in it.  Thanks for your help. Brian P-  Cleveland <Well, Brian- I think that getting the fish into a separate tank for observation and/or treatment was a good idea. Copper may or may not be necessary, depending upon what the problem is. If your hunch is that you are dealing with a possible parasitic infection (a common "suspect" with these fishes, particularly with their well-deserved reputation as "ich magnets"), then copper is a good choice. However, be sure to follow manufacturer's recommendations to the letter concerning concentration and duration of treatment. Testing when using copper is essential. Long-term exposure to copper is detrimental to tangs, so if you are using this medication, use it only long enough to affect a cure (again, following manufacturer's recommendations). Formalin-based medications are also good, with the above caveats, of course. Keep a sharp eye on this fish, make sure that he eats. Keep the water quality high in the treatment tank. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't caution you to observe the display tank population carefully for possible disease signs in the next few days. Stay on top of things, take needed actions as required, and act decisively. You're gonna beat this thing! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Powder Blue Eye Problem Hi, <Hello> I would be grateful for some advice regarding a recently purchased powder blue tang.<Sure, no problem> The tang has been in my reef tank for about a week now. Tank is around 100 gals, been set up about 6 months, occupants are: yellow tang, purple tang, pair of clown fish, blue damsel, mandarin fish.  I purchased the powder blue about 6 weeks ago and asked the LFS to keep it for around 4 weeks so I could ensure it was feeding correctly and disease free.<note, that is not considered a quarantine tank, the fish could be a host to parasites in an uncontrolled environment> I freshwater dipped the fish before introducing it to the tank and have been feeding it on Mysis, "Marine Cuisine" and Nori. Feeding well. <Good plan.>  Today I have noticed a white spot on the centre of its left eye, it has also been offering itself to my cleaner shrimp on a regular basis. Water quality seems fine following my test today. <It could be eye flukes or a fungal infection.  It is hard to tell without a picture.> Would appreciate some advice on next steps please.  <Here is what I would do, take the fish out and put it in a quarantine tank and treat it with the appropriate medication in regards to the sickness.  Good Luck!!! MikeB>

Ich and Powder Blue Tang Hello Fishmasters! Many thanks for all the great information, and excellent discussion forums.  I was hoping to get some personal help today if possible! I have a 125 gallon aquarium with 100 pounds of LR and a few easy to keep corals.  I have a Blonde Naso Tang (5 inches), a powder blue tang, two clown fish, two green Chromis, and one coral beauty.  I have two Cascade 1200 canisters, a Aqua C Remora Pro Protein skimmer, and a 25 watt UV sterilizer.  Water parameters: ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, nitrate: undetectable (Salifert), Calcium 450, SG 1.025. pH and alkalinity also excellent.  I do a 12 Gallon water change every 10 days. All of the fish looked healthy when I bought them and all of the ate well in the store.  I quarantined all the fish (two at a time) for an entire month before introduction and everyone looked great and was eating well.  (Can you tell that I have been reading your website?) Two weeks after introducing the Powder Blue into the main tank, I noticed a several "grains of salt" on the body of the fish  (Needless to say...my heart sank).  It was still swimming actively and eating well which was good.   << Very common for these fish. >> I moved it to the Q Tank, lowered the salinity to 1.020, maintained the temp at 80, and treated with formalin for 7 days.  I performed 12 Gallon water changes every other day.  I then ran carbon, and I watched the fish for another 7 days.  Everyone else in the main tank looked fine, and just before re-introduction of the powder blue...I noticed several more cysts.  I kept it in the Q tank, treated it with formalin again, and re-lowered the salinity to 1.020.   I noticed three small "grains of salt" on the angel yesterday in the main tank and they are gone today.  All the rest of the fish in the main tank look perfect.   The powder blue tang still looks great (eating/active), but I can not seem to kick this infection.  Is it time to try copper?  Do I need to empty my main tank and run it fallow?  Do I have some kind of sub-clinical infection in my main tank that should be treated or should I leave the main tank alone? << I'd either leave the tank alone, or better yet is to start adding garlic to their food.  I think you'll be very pleased. >> My powder blue would appreciate any advice that you have! Thanks! Jason        <<  Blundell  >>

Powder Blue Tang Dear Crew,<Hello concerned caretaker> I have had a powder blue<powder blue tangs are one of the most difficult fish to keep alive in a closed system> for about 5 weeks in a quarantine tanks. The general parameters are 1.022 salinity, 80 degrees in a 10 gallon<a little too small of qt for this fish> with sponge filter and extra "jet" for more flow. There is also a piece of live rock in the tank. The fish is on the smaller side. He is fed Gracilaria algae and some live brine shrimp. He has been doing fine but one thing that I have noticed is that the region where his fins are attached to his body seem quite red, almost bloody. The openings seems quite big. I do not know if this is true of powder blues in general. Could it be some kind of open sore? I am planning to put him into my main tank in a week but I want to try and figure out if this is a problem. There are no other signs of poor health. No rapid breathing, etc. Any thoughts would be extremely appreciated.<I've seen this many times on tangs.  Poor water quality is a major factor in this.  Also, have you ever taken any ammonia readings on the qt?.  Tangs do require plenty of room to do well.  A minimum of 70 gallons in my opinion.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you for your time and help. Concerned caretaker
Powder Blue Tang - Follow Up
Thank you for your suggestions. <Welcome> I have been doing water changes at least twice a week each time being about 2-2/12 gallons. I do know that ammonia can build up more quickly in such a small space, especially with a tang. Do you recommend then that I put him into the main tank? <Maybe so... but you have not included previous correspondence... so I am not aware of your circumstances> Our tank is a 60 gallon reef with 20 gallon sump, about 75 - 80 lbs of live rock. Right now, the inhabitants are a percula clown, springeri Pseudochromis, and coral beauty. I have kept the fish count low so that a tang could be placed. <Mmm, not this species... needs larger quarters. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm> The tank has been running for a year and a half. I will check the ammonia level when I get home, but if what you say is true, would it be all right to place him in the main tank? <Again... maybe> Thanks for taking the time. That you guys offer to answer questions is truly generous. Thanks again! Concerned Caretaker <Please do read the above link to our site, the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top) re this species, use in captivity. Bob Fenner>

Hospitalization - where did I go wrong? Hi Crew, Thanks for the great site; it has been a tremendous reference. <Glad to find it is of use to you> 14 days ago we noticed crypt for the first time on  A. leucosternon, an otherwise friendly, fat, and jovial tank resident for 2+ years. I attribute the outbreak to the introduction of two small gobies. <Rats!> I put together a 30g QT (my A. leucosternon is on the small side) with old tank water, established a sponge filter,  increased flow above 300gph with two powerheads, lowered SG just a pinch to 1.022, raised temp to 81 (from 79), and NH4/NO2 was 0. I was able to capture A. leuco in a pre-dawn raid yesterday using the flashlight and net method. <Good descriptions> It remained docile for at least two minutes while we coaxed him out of his resting spot - it literally backed right into the net! Anyways, my spirits were at a high since I was going to be able to finally treat this fish after 13 days.   The main display is a 110 reef, stable, light bioload with NH4/NO2 undetectable. The powder blue was always a voracious feeder on mixed frozen foods and Nori. During infection, the fish never scratched and I would describe the overall infection as "light." It had the telltale signs of crypt, with the trophonts falling off periodically. It showed no additional signs of stress, discomfort, or loss of appetite. This fish always appeared to have a quicker-than-normal gill rate, at times around ~100 breaths per minute but this was almost always associated with hyper activity (e.g. chattering at this reflection in the glass) or vigorous swims. <Agreed, no problem> The fish was frightened at first introduction to the hospital, and spent most of its time at the bottom trying to hide behind various pieces of equipment. That seemed normal. After 5-6 hrs it began venturing higher in the water column although never had any of his normal vibrancy that made him so pleasant in the main tank (the only fish I've seen who would do Olympic-style twisting, somersaulting dives - he will be missed). <Yikes... a bit of forecasting.> I treated a half-dose with Cupramine, bring the Cu+ level to .25-.3.  Within 4 hours, under ambient room light, there were no visible signs of infection. <Good> Unfortunately, I never made note of his gill rate prior to the medication and I'm shooting myself for it now. During observation at roughly 4 pm, 10 hours after introduction to the hospital and ~4 hrs after medication, his gill rate was > 180 bpm (or so it seemed, hard to count), he was still displaying his bottom-hiding lethargy (so much so that occasionally his caudal, anal fins would touch the bottom glass).   This morning I found him dead; rigor mortis had set in and an odor already had begun to build, my guess is he died sometime in the PM, i.e. within 12-18 hrs of introduction to the hospital tank His gills were thick as I removed him. The tank was partially covered, and one of the powerheads provided light surface agitation. I am devastated, as this is the first fish that has survived the initial acclimation period and perished under my watch.  I know that the answer to his death will remain a mystery, since rapid breathing can be caused by 1) stress,  nervousness; 2) parasitic infection; and 3) medication. <Well-stated. This is so> And I had exposed him to all three.  However, I have never seen such rapid decline in any specimen and I'm convinced that had he stayed in the main tank he'd be alive today, <Perhaps... but likely infested as well> although this was obviously not a viable long term option. I would like your opinion on what you think may have served as a catalyst for such decline. Certainly the combination of all of these factors could not have been a good thing with such a delicate fish, but are there any factors that stand out in particular? <The only co-factor I'd immediately add is the size (small) of the specimen... That is to state, that smaller individuals would be even more susceptible to the other influences> Perhaps I overestimated the fortitude of this wonderful fish. I know that this fish has survived light levels of Cupramine in the past since the original LFS (which is well above average, btw) uses it during acclimation. Did I too hastily medicate? Was the infection already too advanced?  <This last may be key> As always, thanks for your help, Peter <I do think you did what was/is "right"... at least... this is what I would have done as well... I would quarantine all new livestock. Bob Fenner> 
- Hospitalization - Where did I Go Wrong? Follow-up - Just one other quick note I forgot to mention this morning - the pH of the hospital tank (I called it QT below) and the display was identical, ~8.1, 8.2 as I remember. <Sounds good to me. Am incomplete agreement with Bob's earlier response.> Thanks again, in advance, Peter <Cheers, J -- >

Powder Blue Greetings Crew, Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this. I have had a powder blue for about 8 weeks now. I initially had him in a quarantine tank for about 4 1/2 weeks. All seemed to be fine. I put him in the main tank and he was doing well. About a week and a half later, 1 day after I come back from a short two day trip, I see white spots on him. My tank is a 60 gallon reef with 20 gallon sump. I have a clownfish, springeri pseudo, and a coral beauty. The salinity is 1.021-.022 and the temp is 79-81. I have about 75 lbs of live rock. One possible change may have been due to using a dripper to drip in water that evaporates while I was gone. It is hard to control the dripping rate and there have been times when the control loosens and the water drips in way too quickly, possibly resulting in changes to the salinity. I don't know if this is what happened, but when I got back, the dripper was almost empty.  Anyhow, the following day, after I saw the ick (spots along with bumps), I decided to take him out and put him back in quarantine. I first gave him a freshwater dip with a buffer and Meth blue for about 15 minutes. Might have been too long? <<To which you respond?>> He seemed to be fine afterwards and for the next week, he has shown no signs of ick. I have been doing water changes every 2 days. The quarantine is 10 gal with sponge filter, heater, one powerhead, and one piece of live rock. I have Gracilaria algae in the tank and I feed him frozen food ranging from form 1, Hikari Mysis, ocean nutrition brine shrimp plus, and prime reef frozen. I did not get to take a look at him last night as I came home late but this morning when I took a look, he had a couple of white spots and he had black spots all over. I did some research on your site and read about black ich common to yellow tangs. One question I have is, is this probably black ich on my powder? <<Well?>> There were spots on his fins and body (looks like freckles). I understand that black ich comes from some kind of worm. Does this mean that this parasite was in my quarantine tank or from my main tank? <<?>>  I have had my main tank for a year and a half and have had no such signs. I also read somewhere that you should remove the fish into another system from which that parasite may be.  However, since my powder is already in my quarantine and I don't want him in the main tank infecting my other fish what can I do? <<James? What would you do?>>  I ended up giving him another fresh water dip for 8 minutes this afternoon and then did a water change. The black specks seemed to have disappeared although I can still see them on some of the bottom fins.  Do you think that this is black ich and what steps should I take now? I am planning to do daily water changes and give dips every 4-5 days. Should I also start administering copper or formalin? I am against using chemicals and would prefer to do things more naturally. How about adding Meth blue to the quarantine? Would that help at all? The temp is about 81-82 and salinity is 1.020-.021. I know he is a difficult fish to care for and I knew this going in so I am not surprised, but just need some more guidance. I appreciate your help.  Thanks, Concerned Caretaker <Hello concerned caretaker. I read your post completely and understand your concern. The Powder Blue is a gorgeous fish and hard to resist buying. Understand that all tangs are more susceptible to ich than other fish. The Powder Blue even being worse. You did the right thing by quarantining for 4 1/2 weeks, very recommended especially with this fish. Obviously you had a lurking disease present in your main tank. Before the tang gets weakened you really need to treat with an ionic copper i.e. copper sulphate. Get a copper test kit since you really need to know if the dose will be effective enough. An effective dose should be around .15 to .20ppm. Try to stay away from the chelated forms of copper as the average test kit cannot measure the true copper level. The dose level of the chelated forms is based strictly on the gallon size of the tank and it is very difficult to determine exactly how much water you have after adding live rock etc, along with the fact that you will never know if you have an effective dose. I would treat the fish making sure the proper dose level is there for one week, which means testing the copper level daily. Good luck with your Powder. James (Salty Dog)> 

Powder Blue Follow Up Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2005 14:06:36 EST Dear Crew, Thank you for your response. I have a couple of follow up questions. If this is "black ich" and if that parasite (worm) is in my main tank, do I need to do something to get rid of it?  <I really don't believe a worm has anything to do with what is going on>  Also, the black spots did not appear on the tang while he was in the main tank when the initial ick (white spots) appeared. The black spots appeared over a week later while in the quarantine. Is it common for the disease to appear over a week later? <It's not uncommon, cysts can easily be transported to QT tanks by way of nets and then go through the other stages in there>  I understand that ick has cycles but the "black spots" came later. The question I am asking is the ick (white spots) and these black spots from the same disease or are they separate? <I'm pretty sure they are separate.>  Are the black spots just a sign of the disease worsening on the tang? I will begin the ionic copper treatment as soon as possible. Thank you for your time and help. Concerned Caretaker  <Eseille, begin the copper treatment monitoring levels daily with a copper test kit. When the disease clears keep the tang in QT for a minimum of 30 days for observation of another outbreak. James (Salty Dog)>

Powder Blue & Yellow Tang - 05/07/05 Hey WWM, <Hey> Your site is very helpful, got in the hobby during December and your advice helped tremendously.  My question is that I have an 80 gallon tank with 120 lbs live rock, corals, and a Euro reef skimmer.  I have a yellow tang, 1 false Perc clown, 2 sand sifting gobies, and 3 Chromis.  I bought a powder blue tang from the LFS, and since he acclimated and was introduced to the main tank, the yellow tang has been non stop fighting with it, the powder tang, is hiding in a corner, and barely appears to have the confidence to swim around.  They are the same size roughly, but should I return the fish, for its life sake, or will this come to pass over time. <Return the powder-blue to the store.  Your tank is too small for these two tangs in the long term, and the aggression you're witnessing will likely end badly for one or both fishes (physical injury or disease from stress).  Do research/plan your purchases better in the future my friend.> Thank you for your support. <Regards, Eric R.>
Re: Powder Blue & Yellow Tang Part II
Dear WWM, Thanks for the advice about returning the Power Blue to the tank.  However, what stinks is that the day I was going to return him, I  noticed that he had white spots all over him. I think it is ich. I  had this outbreak several months ago, all the fish that were to die,  unfortunately died, however a few survived, like the yellow tang. I  did not know this disease could be dormant for so long.  <Yes, particularly with some fish hosts/vectors...> Anyway, I  bought kick-ich only to come home and read the forums that state this product is a waste of $25. <It is... return it> Anyway, obviously I could not return a sick fish to the store. The other fish in the tank do not show any signs of ich, such as white spots, rapid breathing, scratching, etc. Should I still use the kick-ich anyway? <I would not> I also bought Metronidazole by Seachem, was told it is good to mix with the emerald entree that I feed them. I unfortunately do not have a QT tank, I know I need one now. Are there any other suggestions you might have, this is a   beautiful fish that I don't want to loose. Thank You, Christopher Sandoval <Keep studying, stop buying chemicals and livestock till you know what you're doing. Bob Fenner>

Powder Blue - QT Tank Setup Hi Crew, <Hello, MikeB here.> Currently I am running a 90 gallon reef ready tank, about 80+ lbs. of live rock, 80lbs live sand. This tank has been setup for about a year. Currently, I have about 14 random soft and hard corals, 1 Orange Tail Damsel, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, a Powder Blue (4.5 inches), Serpent Star and plenty of snails and hermit crabs. The corals and the Damsel are doing great! I added my Powder Blue about two weeks ago. When I purchased him he was skinny (I could see his spine through his sides) but active. Of course within a couple of days he began to show signs of ich. I fed him a variety of veggie flakes, dried seaweed, and have added Kent's garlic and some vitamins to his Formula 1 food which has seemed to help keep it under control. Some days are better than others, one day almost no signs, then the next covered in tiny white dots and bumps. A couple of times he has even shown vertical white stripes on his sides that only last for a few seconds. He is super active and eats like crazy, I am hoping that I can get him to full health. He shows some, but limited interest in the Cleaner Shrimp. My Damsel so far shows no signs at all that he is getting sick. After much reading of your FAQ's I have decided to setup a quarantine tank (better late then never I guess). Salinity 1.025 pH - 8.2 Ammonia, Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 15 Temp - 82 Calcium - 460ish Alkalinity - 8 (I am buffering to pick it up a little) Phosphates - Almost 0 I use the 40g trash can method for preparing new water with my RO filter. I am planning on treating them with copper. Here are my questions/plans for setting up the QT tank: - Besides the Damsel and Tang, do I need to take anything else out of my main tank? <No, the fish should be the only ones treated.> - What tank size would you recommend for these two fish? Would 20g be too small for the Tang to be in for a month? <For a month and ONLY a month a 20 gal. would suffice for a quarantine tank for the two fish.> - I have read that if I have a sponge soak in my main tanks sump to get it full of the necessary organisms I can then use this as filtration in my QT. Does this just rest at the bottom of my QT tank? <If you have a filter you can throw the sponge in that will work better, if not, the tank will work.> - Do I also need another type of biological filter? <Yes, you need some sort of filter with NO carbon or chemical filtration....It will remove the medication you are trying to use.> - If I use water and a presoaked sponge from my main tank for the initial QT setup and future water changes do I still need to cycle my QT?  <No, that is the beauty of this set up.> - The room that they will be in has no windows (basement) so I was going to get a small light strip to give them some light. I don't need anything specific, do I? <A glass lid so the light doesn't fall into the water.> - If needed I need to find a sufficient external filter, any suggestions? <A Whisper power filter is good for quarantine tanks in my opinion. No protein skimmers are needed.> - As long as I am doing frequent water changes do I have to run a skimmer? <See above.> - By using water from my existing (sick) tank for water changes am I going to be continually infecting my QT tank with Ich? <No, the ich reproduces in the gravel and if you have a UV sterilizer or protein skimmer on the display tank the ich will be killed off.> - Small pump with air stone. - PVC pipe for cover. <Salt may effect the lighting. Elevate the lighting> - Heater and thermometer. - Once the signs of Ich are gone, 3-4 weeks in this tank - Small water changes, 3 times per week <Good> - Frequent water testing - Besides sifting the sand during water changes in the main tank (and using my new QT tank for new additions), any other tasks that will help remove the ich while my fish are in quarantine? <A UV if you have one. If not, time will do the job.> I know this is a lot of questions, but I really want to get this setup right the first time. Thanks for your help my friend(s).. Matt <No problem on the questions. That is what we are here for. Good Luck. MikeB.>

Powder Blue Tang Blues  8/30/05 Hello crew, <Larry> As always, thanks for the great website and all of the help you provide.  I find myself in a quandary and would appreciate an outside opinion. <Okay> I purchased a powder blue tang, knowing the poor success record, but having a good tank for it.  I am planning on introducing him to my 240 gallon reef tank with an additional 100 gallon sump housing a macro algae refugium.  The tang has been in a 20 gallon quarantine for 16 days.   <Good> I did make the mistake of cleaning the quarantine tank too thoroughly before introducing the tang.  I initiated a mini-cycle, but quickly got through it by adding some spare live rock to the quarantine and doing daily 25% water changes from the reef tank until the parameters settled (ammonia, nitrites at 0, nitrates undetectable on my kit, specific gravity 1.024, temp 79 degrees).  The water has been stable for about a week and I have cut back to 25% water changes every third day. For the last three days, the tang has been losing weight and it's color is fading.  It does eat the food I've offered (frozen Mysis, frozen blood worms, Caulerpa racemosa (not much eaten), another Caulerpa (I forget which one).  It does not seem interested in Nori I've put in the tank.  While it eats all of this, it would seem that it is not eating enough or getting the correct nutrients.   <Mmm, may be time to dip/bath this specimen and place it... if it continues to lose weight, to lace its favorite food/s with Metronidazole/Flagyl> My quandary is should I abbreviate the quarantine and risk bringing harm to the other fish in my tank or wait it out in the 20 gallon where the tang is obviously not thriving? <Your call... I would move it if it looks "that bad"> I think the tang has a much better chance of success in the reef, but am hesitant to make the switch.  He shows no other signs of disease or parasites.   Thanks in advance for the help, I anxiously await your thoughts. Larry <Bob Fenner>

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>

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

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>

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

-Closed loops and PBTs- Hello to all at WWM: I have only 2 questions this time. I know you're going to say.......just two? Here goes: 1) I want to add more circulation to my existing 110 gal FO set up. Currently I am using an Iwaki 30 RXLT for my return pump from my sump. I have another Iwaki 30 that I wanted to use in a closed loop for circulation. The Iwaki has one inch fittings but I am not exactly sure how to get the water from the main tank to the pump. I will be using one inch flexible tubing but is there some type of elbow I need to go over the top rim of the tank? This I assume will need some type of strainer on the end.....any additional thoughts? <I've attached pictures of the gorgeous inlet to my closed loop that I made with a Mag 9. The mess of PVC parts not connected to a pump is the inlet which hangs on the back of the aquarium with the strainers hidden behind the rockwork. It doesn't have to be fancy, just make sure that the pipe is at least as large as the inlet of the pump so it doesn't get restricted. From the 3/4" inlet of my Mag, I T'd it off into 1" pipe w/ two strainers. This way the flow is greatly reduced through the strainers; preventing anything delicate from being sucked up inside!> 2) I have a powder blue tang for just over 2 mos. When I first got him he was in my QT for 3 weeks and seemed to be doing well. I transferred him to my main tank and after one week......you guessed it...ich. I could not transfer back to QT since I was already using the tank for another "fish project". Anyway I decided to use hyposalinity therapy, which I have used in the past with great results. I reduced the SG to 1.009 at 81 degrees. I kept it at this level for approximately 4 weeks. I monitored my water parameters throughout the whole time (pH , etc.) I have been slowly increasing it and so far as of today it is at 1.017. All signs of if ich are gone, all other fish are doing well but my concern is my powder blue tang. My tang seems to have changed its feeding habits. It used to gobble up the Julian Sprung Sea veggies but now barely picks at them. The same holds true for all other types of food I give (Seaweed selects, flakes, Mysis, clam, brine shrimp). The tang seems eager to eat but once the food gets to him he seems to just swim around and through it but not eat it. He is starting to get thin and I was wondering from your experience can/will the tang recover and start eating more? <Powder blues aren't the hardiest fish ever, as you well know by now. Since it still eats a little, I'd pick up an anti-internal parasite food (such as Jungle's Pepso Food) and feed that to it for a while. Otherwise there's really nothing else that can be done besides making sure that every piece of food that it eats is chock full of vitamins.> By the way, I have a few tanks including 2 reef tanks for many years but was very reluctant to get the Powder Blue. This was one fish I have always wanted but knew the difficulty involved in keeping it. I broke down and got one and have been struggling for the last 2 months. Right now it's become "personal". I am pretty confident, with the help of WWM, we can get this fish back to health. I am just not sure if I am on the right track. Thanks so much for all of your valuable time. <Good luck with that beautiful fish, hopefully it will make a turn-around. -Kevin> Gene

Treating Powder Blue Tangs Dear Bob, Hi again. I have questions on Powder Blue. I understand that they are territorial fishes but one wholesaler told me that they can be put together by some means without any problem. However he never revealed how to do that. Have you heard of this before? <This is a social species in the wild. Can be kept together in aquariums, even crowded at a wholesale, transshipping facility> Common disease for Powder Blue is white spot. Currently, I'm using copper ion to treat the disease. Is there a safer way to treat Powder Blue white spot such as dipping in fresh warm water or with Methylene Blue? <Copper is not recommended... again, please read through WWM, use the search tool on the homepage re this species, Cryptocaryon> I heard that putting them in long tanks will prevent them from getting white spot comparing to isolating them in tight quarters. Is this true? <Likely will help... to reduce stress, hence likelihood of infestation> Currently I'm implementing the dip/bath fresh water system with Methylene Blue using sodium bicarbonate to control pH between 8.0 to 8.4. Is this ok? How concentrated is the Methylene Blue and how long is the dip normally? <Posted on WWM> Sorry for the long questions. <You will benefit MUCH more from a thorough understanding of these situations from reading the articles posted on WWM, and the related FAQs there. Please don't re-ask what has already been responded to. Bob Fenner> Thanks Cheers, Charles

Powder Blue Blues Hi, <Scott F. at your service this morning!> I have a powder blue tang that has been kept for two weeks.  Sorry that it hasn't been quarantined but it did go through freshwater dip before going to the tank. <Well- I won't scold you at this point- but please, please quarantine all new arrivals in the future, okay? At least you did the FW dip, so you got it 50% right!> It used to behave normally. However, today I saw it occasionally rubbing itself against the sand bed and sometimes dashing around the tank. <could be anything from a parasite to a full-blown illness- hard to say from here..> Since my tank has lots of live rock forming caves, it is very difficult to catch it for medication. I have two cleaner shrimps but they did not seem to help.  I know you would not recommend cleaner wrasse but my area does not have alternatives, like neon gobies. Should I buy a cleaner wrasse to help? <Please do not purchase any cleaner wrasses, regardless of how dire your situation might be, okay? It just sends the wrong message to retailers, wholesalers, and collectors that there is a demand for these fish, which absolutely should be left on the reefs> If not, what should I do?  Are there any other alternatives to cleaner wrasse? I really love the tang and didn't want to lose it. Thanks and regards, Manus <Well, Manus, I commend you on your level of dedication and willingness to take decisive action to save the fish! My best recommendation is, unfortunately, the most difficult one-You need to remove him to a separate tank for observation and/or treatment (once you confirm what the illness is. DO refer to the disease FAQs on wetwebmedia.com). Assuming it is ich, you would be best served by removing all of your fish to such a treatment tank as well, because the illness (assuming, once again that there is one-and it sounds like there might be one) is in your system, whether it's obvious right now, or not. Don't take any chances- err on the side of caution and get the fish out! Let your main system sit without fish for about a month, which will result in the near elimination (notice I didn't say "complete"-that's virtually impossible in any system) of any parasites that are present in your system. After the "fallow" period, you can more-or-less safely return the cured fish to the tank. It's not a fun procedure, but it really can work1 You'll certainly learn the value of quarantine for new fishes- it's a lot less painful for you (and your fishes) if you do that first! But you seem eager and dedicated to your animals- I know that you're going to do just fine in the future! Good luck!>
Powder Blue Blues (Pt. 2)
Hi Scott, <Good Evening!> Thanks a lot for your prompt reply. Please let me clarify a bit more so that I fully understand what I have done wrong.  The powder blue tang did initially go to quarantined tank.  But it's only for 1 day.  The reason is when I return home on the second day, the quarantined tank is very cloudy and the fish seems a bit more stress than before. So, I decide to simply put the tang to the main tank. <I understand your reasons for moving him so soon, but quarantine should be a 3 week process, minimum...You can use a more capable filter in your quarantine tank, which should keep the water clear, and chemically stable.> My powder blue tang is about 4 inches.  The quarantine tank is only about 10G.  Water is from the main tank, so with exactly the same water parameter.  The biological filter is a sponge that has been placed in the main tank 3 days before setting up the quarantine tank.  The quarantine tank just got a simple hang-on filter from Eheim, a plastic flower pot as cave and a heater. Can the small size of the tank the cause of the cloudy water?  How about a 20G?  This is the maximum size I can afford since I'm living in Hong Kong and the flat here is usually quite small. <I think you're using the right kind of filter...perhaps you could employ a finer grade of filter pad inside to better absorb fine particulate matter? Regular (2 to 3 times weekly) small water changes and careful feeding during quarantine should help, too. Thanks and regards, Manus <I think you are definitely on the right track! Just keep refining your techniques...I'm sure that your tang will make a full recovery with your fine care! Good luck!  Regards, Scott F.>

Powder Blue Tang My Powder blue tang  <often called an "ich magnet">  has been acting weird the last couple of days. He just came off copper about six days ago. He hasn't eaten in two days and was breathing really crazy hard.  <The breathing concerns me. Something is probably wrong. Have you tested the water for ammonia, nitrite, PH, etc?>  So I figured that the ich might not have been totally gone so I redosed him yesterday and today he looked much better.  <Are you testing the water for copper?  Too much can quite easily kill the little guy.>   He ate less than what he used to during the initial copper treatment but he seems like he is coming around.  <Copper will disturb the symbiotic bacteria that reside in the intestinal tract of surgeons/tangs. I would expect a loss of appetite during treatment.>  I had just noticed that he seems to be breathing through his right gill only. The left one isn't moving at all. What could this mean?  <His gill(s) may be burned from the copper.>  It is in a quarantine tank and has been for about three weeks now. I have been changing 25% of the water every day and adding ammo lock to the water.  <I assume you're adding ammo lock because you've had a problem with ammonia? Ammonia alone can burn the gills of any fish.>  No matter what I do I just can't seem to get him to a 100%. Maybe I removed the copper too soon after showing no signs of ich.  <Extended copper treatments (weeks instead of days) are never good. IMO, if this were my fish, I would get rid of the copper, give the fish a freshwater bath (same PH and temp as the QT), keep the tank water at a constant temperature, and optimize the overall water quality. I would also vacuum the bottom of the QT every day for at least two weeks. This will help get rid of the cysts that have fallen to the bottom of the tank.>  I removed it two days after no sign of spots on his body. Does copper kill ich and make it fall off the fish?  <Ich, even without the presence of copper has a life cycle that occurs on and off the host. Before adding this fish to the main tank, it needs to be ich-free for at least 3-4 weeks.> Thanks, Ian Roff <My pleasure. For more detailed information on fish disease, treatments, and thousands of other saltwater topics, check out wetwebmedia.com. Best wishes, David D.>

Powder Blue Tang Ready To Move In! I have a quick question about moving a Powder Blue Tang that I am going to move to my display. What is the safest and least stressful way to move him to the display? The display systems water and quarantine are the same through water changes. <Glad to hear that you quarantined him properly! That's going to make a huge difference in his long-term health! By creating consistent, identical water conditions between your quarantine tank and main system, you will really lessen the potential stress of moving this fish to his new home.> Should there be a freshwater dip before placement and if so how long? <I would do a freshwater dip on this fish after he completes the quarantine process successfully. I do perform a freshwater dip on arrival of the fish, just before I place him in quarantine. IMO, another FW dip is not needed unless you notice some kind of parasitic condition, and, of course, in that case, you wouldn't be placing him in the main system yet! A tip in creating a stress-free move to the new tank: Don't use a net, which can damage this fish. Instead, use a plastic specimen container to "scoop up" the fish and then place him in the tank. It's much less stressful for this guy.> Thanks again for all of your awesome help in making this Tang healthy. It has been about a month and a half now and with all of your great help he is finally ready and in top notch form. Thanks, Ian Roff <Well, Ian- thanks for visiting our site, and for sharing your experience quarantining a fish that has a touchy reputation! I think you really did it right! Good luck! regards, Scott F.>

Question on powder-blue tang Question on powder-blue tang and... Anthony says Caulerpa Good? (AKA the Pigs started flying post and snowballs were just spotted...) Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead... Steve and I decided to duct tape Bob to his desk chair and feed him applesauce with a slingshot because he insists on being a world traveler instead of working on the new Reef Invertebrates book...Ha! OK... now what's our excuse?> Please find attached an image of my tang. If you look on the side at high magnification you will see something. Is it a scratch or a parasite or HLLE? Looks like some "white stuff" like sand on the side close to the right gill. It is aggregated and it is almost along the gill on the black. <thanks for the picture... it was very clear and helpful. Illuminating a compliment and criticism of your system... 1) a compliment to your obviously thorough attention to nutrient control as the live rock wholly in the picture is devoid of any soft turf or nuisance algae. Just carbonate rock and corallines. 2) (the crit) Because of your strict nutrient control... the tank is entirely inhospitable to an average herbivore... let alone a delicate (nutritionally) herbivore species like the Powder Blue. Your fish has enlarged olfactory pores and HLLE.. almost certainly mitigated by a dietary deficiency. No supplemental feeding can replace the quality of natural algae species... you need to have some. And if brine shrimp or terrestrial plants make up any significant part of this fishes diet (spinach, lettuce, etc)... I am no less surprised of its condition. Regular readers of the WWM FAQs hear me rant about how Caulerpa refugiums are useless for most systems... well, SURPRISE: this is a great application for a Caulerpa refugium. Fish displays with high bio-loads and heavy herbivorous fishes will flourish very fine if you add/install a fishless Caulerpa refugium. Let the plants grow quick and absorb a lot of nutrients, harvest the plants and feed them to the fishes... the fishes excrement will help to grow new plants! A wonderful cycle. Marine algae like Nori seaweed are helpful too. Still... such tangs still get a lot of Microplankton in the algae they eat. Feed crustaceans like Gammarus and mysids as well> Did he attacked or was attacked by a starfish? <nope... few starfish if any could catch this tang> Please advise. Sound stupid but I hate loosing an animal... <not stupid at all my friend. I admire your empathy> Regards, Mike <best regards, Anthony>
Re: question on powder-blue tang
Hi Anthony, thanks for the quick response :-D <my pleasure> I did feed it with Nori seaweed and mysids shrimps as well as brine shrimps but it does not seemed to eat any of those. <keep offering the Nori and mysids. Throw the brine shrimp away... seriously. It is a nutritionally hollow food and fish literally starve to death on it. Find some live rock from a high nutrient tank (LFS or fellow aquarist) that has a bunch of scrub turf algae on it. Let him graze naturally in the meantime> He is a new addition to my tank (Aug. 15) and started to show these HLLE next day at night. <very interesting! and rather sudden... could likely be stress induced. Is this a smaller tank? Powder Blues are notorious for pacing (swimming nervously back and forth) in tanks that are too small (under 6' long... needing 100+ gallons) or in tanks with modest water flow (They like VERY strong water movement). Do consider if these are possible my friend> Since it takes a couple of days setting a refugium, I guessed I will give him Caulerpa in the mean time. <helpful indeed> Is it too late or there is still hope that he will recover ? <it can easily recover> Thanks for your good advice. Regards, Mike <with kind regards, Anthony>

Powder Blue Blues! I have had my Powder Blue Tang home for a week now. I don't have a quarantine tank.  <Gotta get one of those!> He has been fine up until now but today he seems weird. He is going back and forth from one end of the tank to the other really fast. Hasn't done this before constantly. He seems to be rubbing on the rock a lot more than he used to. My levels are PH 8.2, Ammonia 0.5 which has been like this for about 3 weeks, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20. My Lionfish's behaviour hasn't changed at all.  <Detectible ammonia is not normal-please re-check and verify the reading. Take appropriate action to see that you don't see any ammonia reading in the future.> I am starting to get real concerned and am going to get a quarantine tank tomorrow and set it up. <A good long-term move. Keep a sharp eye on the lionfish, as well. Be sure to quarantine all future purchases for 3 weeks before placing them in your main system> I know this fish is hard to keep in captivity, what should I do? <The first thing is to take a good hard look at your tang. Are there any apparent spots, sores, parasites? At this point, removing him to a hospital tank may be a prudent move. You should perform a freshwater dip before placing him in the hospital tank (see www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm for more information). Keep a close eye on the tang during its stay in the hospital tank, and be prepared to take appropriate action should symptoms continue. These fish require careful feeding (lots of algae in their diet) and above average water quality for optimal long-term health.> I don't want to lose it. What is the fastest way to get the quarantine tank running with sufficient biological filtration? <Generally, you should keep a sponge filter or media in your sump at all times for such emergencies. At this point, you may need to rely on one of commercial nitrifying bacterial cultures to "jump start" your filter. Keep observing your fish carefully, use the resources on wetwebmedia.com, and always, always quarantine! I'm sure that your tang will do okay if you act promptly. Good luck! Scott F.> Thanks, Ian Roff
Powder Blue Blues II
The tang seems to have a few very small spots on his side and his face has kind of turned white instead of black. The blue areas are starting to go pale as well. He has seemed to settle down a lot bit but is still rubbing on the rock. What should I do? <Well- sounds like ich, but difficult to be certain from here. If it were me, once I verified that it was ich, I'd perform a 3 to 5 minute freshwater dip, followed by a stay in you hospital tank. I would administer a commercial copper sulphate treatment and follow the manufacturer's instructions for use. Always test for copper if you elect to go this route. You need to make sure that you are maintaining a proper therapeutic concentration. Keep a close eye on your fish during the treatment period, maintain high water quality in the hospital tank, and good feeding. Copper is very effective, but is tough on tangs if administered for long period of time; do be certain that ich is indeed the condition that you're dealing with. Check out this FAQ: wwwmarparasitcurfaqs.htm to make sure. Good luck, Scott F.>
Re: Powder Blue Tang, Possible Ich Outbreak
Hi Scott it's me again sorry for all the questions but I am getting even more concerned after reading some information on the site about ich and fish dying. <Not a problem, my friend-that's what I'm here for> My Lion seems to be twitching a little bit a using his pectoral fins to swat at himself, just started. my wife reminded me that last Saturday we stupidly put in a cleaner shrimp that became dinner 3 hours latter. Could this have anything to do with this problem?  <Possible but unlikely. And the idea to use "biological" cleaners, such as shrimp is generally a good idea, actually> How can I tell for sure if it is ich? <Fish with ich generally exhibit "scratching", and a sprinkling of small white spots throughout the infected fish's body> Will this cause me to have to do something drastic to my main tank? <At this point, I would operate on the assumption that all fish in your main system are infected, and follow the freshwater dip, copper sulphate treatment protocol in your hospital tank as outlined previously. If it were me, I'd let the main system run without fish (leave the inverts alone) for at least a month performing routine maintenance as usual during that time) while treating the fishes in the hospital tank. DO NOT add any medications to your main system! With time, patience, and quick action on your part (not to mention, careful observation), you will be successful at beating this malady. You're on the right track-keep it up! Regards, Scott F.>

Very Thin PBT - What to do?  >Hi Marina,  >>Hi Tyler.  >It's me again. Just curious if you had found out anything on his swollen stomach.  >>Well, I've gotten some ideas, but nothing concrete.  >I wanted to clear up a couple of things as well. He is always swimming around and grazing on rockwork.  >>Alright, so I believe we can rule out stress, as long as he's not "pacing" the tank. What we're looking for is natural behavior here. However, should you decide to treat him for internal parasites, you MUST put him into a hospital tank to do this.  >He likes to sit up by the powerhead at night after he is fed. He is eating Nori more aggressively and is always alert. He does look like he is putting some weight on.  >>EXCELLENT! I am very happy to hear this, Tyler.  >How long does it usually take fish to die from cyanide poisoning?  >>There are so many variables that I can only give you a broad range, which is from instantly (moot), to about 4-6 months depending on species. I believe this is a high-calorie requiring fish, given its natural diet and swimming behavior/activity level. So, *if* the problem is cyanide, I wouldn't give him more than three months from collection.  >Can they recover from this in anyway?  >>No, the damage is permanent. To the reef from which they're collected as well.  >Thanks.  >>Alright, I'm going to relay portions of Anthony's response to you first: first, in regards to behavior - "...this fish comes from very high action/dynamic areas of a reef (surge) and as such is more sensitive (read: shows stress earlier/first than other fishes). <snip> ...of the fish hanging out near the power head(s). <snip> ...a very typical behavior (stress induced) of Powder Blue tangs in captivity along with "pacing" (running back and forth along the glass as if in pursuit of its own reflection). For reasons not entirely clear to us, the behavior stops with the addition of much better/higher water flow."  >>In regards to treatment and diet - "a preventative flush for parasites would not be bad at all. Seachem sells Metronidazole in a powder form (tube) that can be added to food or water. Not a bad idea here. <snip> ... this fishy needs some fatty and high protein foods. Short and sweet solution would be to get the fish eating frozen Mysis and freeze dried anything soaked in Selco or Selcon. Judging by the glimpse of corals in the background of the picture, it seems like this chap has enough connections to get some Gracilaria from a local merchant or direct them to IPSF.com for "tang heaven". I strongly encourage anyone desirous of keeping a PBT to grow their own Gracilaria in a refugium."  >>Now, Scott Fellman brings up an important observation regarding white, stringy feces; this is a strong indication of bacterial infection. This could be secondary. If this fish has those feces, then an antibiotic (after trying the anti-parasitic meds) would definitely be in order here. As to the swollen belly, it very well could be that it appears so abnormal because this fish is essentially badly starved - as in concentration camp starved. The second pic you sent he does look fatter, let's keep that trend going! Marina

Very Thin Powder Blue Tang  >>Hi, this is Marina again. I had to respond to you ASAP because I took a look at your tang and he is painfully thin.  >Here is my PBT. Does he look skinny to you?  >>As above, painfully so, this fish appears to be entirely unhealthy I'm afraid.  >Like I said, he eats Mysis like a pig and is eating Nori. Should I be concerned? Thanks.  >>There could be a couple of things going on with this fish, both mean that he may eat a large amount, but simply cannot process what's taken in. Parasitic infection (internal) is one, and another, more common unfortunately, is exposure to cyanide. Parasitic infection is treatable, cyanide exposure is not. Feed the heck out of this fish, and read up on Acanthurus leucosternon here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm   (Although as time goes on, more and more people are having good success with these fish.) Marina

Very Thin Powder Blue Tang - Follow up  >Thanks for the quick reply.  >>You're welcome, I feel the fish looks bad enough that it was warranted.  >I will start feeding him as many times a day as he will eat. Should I try foods high in protein?  >>I wouldn't target in that manner, what's most healthy is as much variety as he will take. Along with (or in lieu of) that, soaking in the supplement, Selcon, will help greatly. He definitely needs vegetable matter, so if he doesn't take the Nori, try romaine lettuce, "nuked" broccoli (soften the flesh for the fish), spinach, "nuked" kale/Swiss chard, zucchini.  >What symptoms are related to internal parasites?  >>What you're looking at and describing fits BOTH internal parasites and cyanide exposure results. If you've had the animal for 6 months or less, then it makes the cyanide exposure more of a possibility. Do Google our homepage for "internal parasites", just in case, but I wouldn't treat him at this point, he's far too thin in my opinion to handle the strong medications.  >All my other fish seem fine. Thanks.  >>Good, glad to hear that. It may be that he's had a very rough go of it, these fish ARE delicate. Hopefully your set up is such that he's got the best chance of recovering, or at least putting some weight on. If you check today's daily picture, I specifically posted a healthy PBT for you to see what they should look like, and I specifically chose an aquarium specimen, for comparison. Best of luck! Marina
Very Thin Powder Blue Tang - Follow up 
>Do I ever appreciate the advice.  >>I'm glad to help.  >Today, he ate Special Formula VHO.  >>EXCELLENT!  >I will try different foods each day. Just to let you know, because I never said, my tank is a 135 reef with more than enough rockwork to graze on. Thanks and I'll keep you updated.  >>Then I think we'd be hard-pressed to find this fish a better place, yeah? I'm keeping my fingers crossed! Marina
Opie, the Skinniest Powder Blue Tang - Part IV 
>Thanks for all the responses, it is very much appreciated.  >>You're quite welcome, Tyler.  >I don't think water flow is an issue, since I have four MaxiJet 1200 powerheads in the tank along with the spray bar returning the water from the sump.  >>Honestly, considering the areas where this fish is found, it's difficult for the home aquarist to duplicate the heavy movement found in these frontal reef zones. Closest I've seen is one of the LBAOP's California displays, and what they have is a HUGE (and loud) surge-bucket setup. The water movement in that display is TREMENDOUS considering the relative size. (And boy did it get a little bit scary a couple of times feeding, the rocks you have to step onto can be quite slippery!)  >One more question & I will leave you alone.  >>No no, please don't. We're all interested in this fish's progress, Tyler.  >Would you recommend feeding him with the Metronidazole in the display or in a QT? I did a search and got mixed answers. Thanks for all the help.  >>Absolutely always do any and all treatment in quarantine/hospital tank. Marina

- Singing the Powder Blues? - Hi Crew, I need you opinion regarding whether I should be concerned about my power blue tang.  I just noticed a small grayish patch (appears similar to mildew or a bruise) near its tail (see attached close-up picture).  Typically this would not concern me but I did have a previous powder blue tang that had a similar area that continually expanded until the fish rotted-away.  This previous powder blue tang did have other health issues as its fins were rotting, it had a reduced appetite, a cloudy eye and a near-complete loss of coloration.  This previous Powder Blue tang died in my quarantine tank so the fish in my display tank were never exposed to it. <Understood.> I have had this current powder blue tang for over three months and it has always appeared to be very healthy.  As you can see from the full-fish picture, it appears well (at least to me).  I am just concerned of the possibility that this gray/black patch could be the same problem (just in an early stage) my previous powder blue tang died from.  My water parameters are: Temp: 78 deg F, Salinity: 1.0235, NH3=0, NO3=0, NO4= 5 PPM, Ph=8.1, Ca=380. Does the attached picture provide enough detail to diagnose the problem? <Yes and no.> Should I be doing anything to address this? <Well... I've seen a couple of the lightly colored tangs that are able to turn dark in spots... and it's not always related to their night/fright pattern. I'm thinking of a Unicorn Tang I took in trade that had some spots not unlike the ones you describe and what appear in the photos. The back spots continued long beyond the fright pattern, but did go away on their own in a couple of days. I don't know what those spots were but do think they are related either to color alteration like night/fright or a sign of stress or both. Not certain this is what's going on in this case, but it's worth just keeping an eye on things for now, make sure it is still eating well... get ready to treat just in case... get the quarantine tank fired up.> This fish is in a 180g tank with 200 pounds of rock so catching it is nearly impossible. <Actually not... three 50 gallon Brute trash cans should do the trick. Use a one inch drain hose and siphon the tank into the cans... put some of the live rock in there, put others into bins. Once water is down to eight inches or so, just scoop the fish out and refill the tank. But don't think you're at this point yet, but do consider giving the fish a pH/temperature-adjusted freshwater dip on the way into quarantine if you do end up having to catch it.> Thank you for your help!
<Cheers, J -- >

- Powder Blue Blues - Hi Crew, I know you hear this constantly but I just want to reiterate how much I appreciate the information you provide! Three days ago I purchased from my LFS the (soon to be) latest additions to my 180 gal aquarium: a ~2" Foxface Lo, a ~2" Purple Tang and a ~4" Powder Blue Tang.  Currently these three fish are in my 20 gal hospital tank (Salinity=1.024 SG, Ammonia=0.25 PPM, Nitrite=0.25 PPM, Temp=81 °F, Mardel CopperSafe Chelated CuSO4, Whisper 30 filter + sponge filter + ~15 lbs live rock).  The problem is the Powder Blue Tang is beginning to develop some type of wound (lesion/abrasion/fungus?) in about three areas (photos attached).  Two spots are approximately pea-sized and one is slightly smaller than a dime.  These patches appear to be slightly raised or to have a few bumps within a discolored area (possibly as if a repeated abrasion). I would not describe these areas as having a "cauliflower appearance". The Powder Blue also occasionally shakes and swims in quick circles. <I wouldn't be so concerned about this as much as I would be about these 'wounds'.> My LFS suggested this is not a reason to worry as it could just be "shaking off" a parasite or minor infection that will soon be cured by the copper. <Do believe the opposite, that the shaking is just a natural behavior and the spots are a reaction to the copper. If I were you, I'd discontinue the copper treatment unless you are sure there is a good reason for it, i.e. Cryptocaryon [ich] or similar parasitic problem. Many tangs react poorly to copper and it should only be dosed at very low levels. I realize the Powder Blue is a notorious ich magnet but it would be best to observe the problem first rather than just treating the tank with something that may do more harm than good at this point.>  Although I would not describe this fish as having a voracious appetite, it does appear to be eating (Spectrum Thera+A anti-parasite food, Nori and homemade food with Selcon).  The three fish do not appear to be the least bit aggressive toward each other.  I do not see a single ich spot on the Powder Blue but the Purple Tang appears to have a substantial case of Cryptocaryon. <I'd separate these and treat them individually - not only for the reasons I just listed, but also because a 20 gallon tank is rather small for these three fish.> Do you have any idea what is wrong with my Powder Blue Tang, if this is anything I should be concerned about and, if so, how to cure this?  Could the Copper be irritating this fish? <Possibly - would be my first guess.> I noticed my (Red Sea) Copper test kit is not made for chelated Copper but I did add the recommended amount of CopperSafe to previously copper-free water so I am hoping (at least initially) the copper concentration is correct.  My Copper Test kit measures 0.3 PPM Cu (exactly what the kit recommends as the "optimum copper level") but I have read that the proper ionic concentration is 0.15 PPM.  Can any correlation be drawn for chelated copper concentrations when using a Copper test kit intended for measuring ionic copper? <No - wrong test.> Thanks again for the help! Greg Wyatt <Cheers, J -- >
- Powder Blue Blues, Follow-up II -
Thank you for the response. <My pleasure.> I sent you a follow-up picture of this Powder Blue last night with a more serious problem so we will probably be crossing emails. <Indeed, have seen this photo and replied.> This fish now has a large, fleshy hole on top of its head. <Yeah, no good...> I have added Maracyn and Melafix to the hospital tank in hopes of combating this but I am not really certain of the cause so I hope to get your input once you see the picture. I have another problem as I have only one hospital tank so I really have no way of separating the Powder Blue Tang and the Purple Tang.  Luckily, these fish appear to not be the least bit aggressive. <Still, much can happen when you're not watching and more so once one of the two begins to weaken.> The purple tang has now gone from being completely covered with ich and black spots to having only very few remaining spots. <You do realize that these parasites have life cycles - they often disappear only to return at a later time in greater numbers.> So it now appears that my choices are to remove the copper and deal with ich or to leave the copper and possibly be damaging the powder blue. <Is what I would do.> There are two hermit crabs that are still alive in the hospital tank (discovered them in the sand a few days ago) so I hope this is an indication (although not very accurate) that copper levels are not overly high. <As I stated yesterday, hermit crabs are tough and will tend to make it long beyond other inverts in the presence of copper. You might also look for something that might be absorbing the copper.> Please recommend what I should do - copper or not.  I guess another option is to remove the Copper and add Ich-Cure (formalin & malachite green).  Would this be a better alternative? <The formalin-malachite green is probably better for tangs - the coppers tends to knock out a useful bacteria in their digestive systems which then exacerbates the fish's problems. I would concentrate on water quality for the moment, and really consider getting a second quarantine tank so you can guarantee no one will pick at this wound.> Greg
<Cheers, J -- >

- More of the Powder Blue Blues - Hi Crew, I am just checking in again with my Powder Blue Tang problems.  Although your advice has likely not changed, I guess I am just hoping you will see something in the attached picture or some little bit of information will trigger you to say: "Oh, I've seen this before and all you need to do is this..." (hey, I can always hope -- right?). I am now treating this fish with Maracyn, Maracyn-Two and Melafix.  Instead of improving, the situation just appears to be getting worse (see attached picture). <Not good - at this point you have a better chance of winning the lottery than seeing this fish recover.> In addition to the large wound in the fish's head and discoloration on its sides, now its fins are rotting off.  Half of the left pectoral fin is now gone and the dorsal fin is rotting in about a 1/2" section.  The right eye has now also clouded over.  The only slight encouragement is that this fish still has a healthy appetite.  He is regularly eating Formula II, Spectrum Thera+A and Nori.  There are also hundred of tiny white creatures crawling over the glass in the hospital tank.  I am hoping, since these are large enough to see, they are only harmless 'pods of some sort although some are surrounded by "legs". I have spent MANY hours scouring the web to fins photos or descriptions of fish diseases, trying to determine what this is and how to treat it but obviously this is not working.  My best guess is that this is some sort of external bacterial infection. <Actually, what I see from the photos is a fish in serious decline...> Since I have read that bacterial infections can quickly take over at temperatures above 76?F, I have lowered the hospital tank temp to 75?F.  I am doing 25% daily water changes (taking water from my 180 gal main tank to minimize drastic changes) and all parameters are staying fairly normal (1.023 SG, 0.25 PPM ammonia, 0.25 PPM nitrite).  I have tried to keep the ammonia down but I think the combination of gram positive and gram negative antibiotics has really reduced my biological filtration capabilities. Is there ANYTHING else I can do to try to save this fish? <My friend, this fish is very likely doomed. If these pictures were all I had to go on, I wouldn't bet on it if it were the only horse in the race. I'm sorry to say this, but if it were mine, I'd be considering euthanizing it rather than prolonging the inevitable.> Do you know what disease this could be? <It seems to me to be just general break down, and no real specific or single disease.> Should I try an anti-fungal medication? <I wouldn't do anything else at this point except end its suffering.> I do not like to keep treating this fish without knowing for certain what is wrong but I really do not want to see it die either. <You are already doing this, watching it die, I mean.> Sorry for the long email but I am just want to be certain I am doing everything I can to help this fish (rather than harm it).  I greatly appreciate all the great advice you provide via this forum! Greg
<Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Pax, J -- >

Powder Blue Rehabilitation First I would like to commend all of you For the fine job you do! <That's very kind of you.> Answering all these questions Helping everybody you can. <I know we all try.> Even when the common Sense in a lot of persons seem to be absent, you always Pull through. The Dedication, you all have Just amaze Me. The Service you supply to many with no Monetary requirements Is Unbelievable. We purchase livestock from our LFS, knowing the advice we get from them is far from the truth, when our Systems go astray, there is Bob Fenner and crew. I Really wish their were Strict licensing and a test LFS should go through before they can open. <Interesting thoughts but honestly for the most part there are caring individuals working in them.>  I Do not think I will live to see that. I have recently Purchased Robert Fenner's Book, and found it to be OUTSTANDING!. <One of my personal favorites and a top reference book.> I bought at the local LFS and They Told me they herd it was a good book. My comment was " I can see you obviously just herd about it, If you had read it, You would keep your live Stock in much better shape" <Perhaps they didn't see something? I know when I worked in a store we stayed pretty busy.> Anyway I do have a question, sorry about the length, it is easy To Email all the bad, but I needed to say this, hoping All realize The value of what they are getting at there disposal. I have read persons Getting mad at the crew because they didn't like what you have said, But I wont go there! Hats off to you crew!!!!! Here is my question. >From time to time I go to LFS, and buy the livestock that is not doing well. I am not trying to encourage them however, They will die either way. <Believe me I understand why you would do this but the idea is that if they lose enough fish of a certain type the pet store will stop ordering them.> If they get healthy and I am satisfied, I Sell them to good homes. I wouldn't Even ask for money However , I find when People spend money on something They take care of it. I bought a Powder Blue Tang, He was getting beat up Bad by some trigger fish and a Type of Sea Bass. LFS moved him in front of me And he looked really Bad. LFS Guy said "You Take, 20 Dollar" So I Did. I have him in a hospital tank, He is very skinny, He does Eat. (Hosp. Tank is 30 Gal) I soak Spirulina flakes (Soaked with Zoa« And Selcon) Some Brine & Mysis. He barely has no color in his face Were it is suppose to be Black. He sometimes Swims very fast but then lays down. When he lays down sometimes his breathing is Labored, Sometimes not. He seems alert to his surroundings. And as I said he is extremely Boney. Tank has 300gph Power Head. Added Extra Aeration, As I know Powder Blue Tangs Need Lots of Oxygen. Readings are All ok at this time. Do you think this is Cyanide or Just a bad Malnutrition? <Hmmm or an internal parasite of some kind.> He Does Not have any signs of Ich at all, which surprises me. His eyes right now are Clear but his face seems sunk in. Can you give me advice. <You might try some Caulerpa and just adding the Selcon or Zoa« to the tank. Vitamin C will help the fish. You might consider adding some cleaner shrimp to the quarantine area if safe for them. There's something irritating the fish. Usually if its cyanide the fish is gone within a couple of weeks.> By the way I do not make money of the fish, It either goes to the next bad fish or as last time I donated to the Save the Reef Foundation, Here in Florida. Its Only a little Here and there But any bit helps I Guess. I thank you for your in put ( Other than being an Idiot for doing this) My Success rate is about 60%. Thanks.... <Good luck, MacL>  

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine

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