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FAQs on the Powder Blue Tang 2

Related Articles: Powder Blue Tangs, Acanthurus Tangs

Related FAQs: Powder Blue Tangs 1, Powder Blue Tang Identification, PBT Behavior, PBT Compatibility, 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, 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

Powder Blue Tang feeding; using WWM       6/3/18
Hello Team,
I have read that the powder blue tangs like Nori Seaweed (natural/roasted).
<Mmm; insufficient nutrition>
Please advise. I am worried that my live rock does not have enough algae on it.
<Nor this. See WWM re Acanthurus leucosternon period, foods/feeding. I'd be mainly utilizing a good pelleted food (Hikari, Spectrum brands...). Bob Fenner>
Re: Powder Blue Tang feeding      6/5/18

Hello Bob, thanks for the info. A bit of a moot point now as the little bugger decided to shuffle of its mortal coil within 48 hours of being introduced to the tank.
Never mind eh, the joys of a marine reef tank owner.
<Thank you for the update Eamonn. Again, this isn't an easy aquarium species. Look to other Acanthurids; reading on WWM et al. Bob Fenner>

Powder Blue Success      9/10/16
Maybe because there are so few PBT successes, I had a hard time finding stories of what worked for people. I thought maybe I would share.
<Ah, good>
I am
feeling slightly superstitious doing so, but I've had mine for 5 months so far. I have tried these in the past, and they died with a couple of weeks, mostly because of Ich.
<Ah, yes>
This one, I selected because of its plumpness, but also because of its size. He was only about 2.5 inches big.
<Wow; small>
The smallest I'd seen in a LFS. I'm not sure if that would mean a greater chance of success or not. I immediately worked to get the fish to eat mysis, and dried seaweed. It took a month, but he eventually began eating NLS pellets.
However, I had to start with flakes, to get some interest going in dry food.
I also fed a preliminary, prophylactic food with metro and quinine to further prevent ich. So far, so good. The color has improved over time (was dull, but never blotchy).
I guess, I write this to share what I believe the difference to be from this specimen to the past ones, and it is selection.
This tang seems as hardy as others I have had... Maybe he's fooling me. But it seems that the others were so weakened. Also, it seems that fish stores are insistent on feeding them a solely mysis diet, in tanks with no algae to eat.
This fish was also in copper for a couple of weeks before purchase, and not sure if that could truly prevent ich to create success in my current tank, unless the he was already healthy.
Hope this can be helpful to someone who is considering this difficult fish.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

powder blue tang help! No data of use  – 02/19/09 Dear WWM crew, <Sam> My powder blue tang is currently swimming in circles and appears blind he drags his stomach along the bottom of the tank while swimming. <Doesn't sound good> He appears blind, he is fat and colors are very good. He last eat four days ago some mysis. He has been in my hospital tank for a few months while my 550ltr system is being built. is there anything I can do I have lowered salinity to 1.018 and added ParaGuard. <? What for?> Regards Sam <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pbtdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Powder Blue Tang/Health 11/1/07 Hi, <Hello Sian> I need to ask a question about a Powder Blue Tang. Somebody else has the same problem which is the last letter on the FAQs about health/disease of tangs, but you couldn't give a proper answer due to the fact that you couldn't see the photos. My tang looks the same and is scratching a bit and may be breathing heavy (not sure as I'm new to marine fish keeping) and is pale looking. My water is good quality. I bought him 5 days ago and I'm worried that its some kind of fungus infection <Don't think so.> but I don't want to give medicine until I know for sure. He isn't in qt at the moment as I'm worried this will cause him more stress as I'm unsure of the diagnosis. Any help would be very much appreciated. <Oboy Sian, you have picked one of the most difficult fish to acclimate/keep and sure isn't a fish a newbie should take on. You do not mention your tank size, but this fish needs plenty of room for starters. The photo isn't very clear but I'm thinking environmental and diet conditions are a big factor that lead to the problem. Scratching is a good indicator of a parasite infection such as ich. I'm pretty sure this fish will not survive, but do read here and act quick. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm Do read/learn here on the Powder Blue Tang. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm Good luck, James (Salty Dog)> Sian <RMF didn't find the pic file...>

Powder blue tang... something about crypt...    5/24/06 I've had my powder blue tang for a week, He eats very well every day but he just can't get rid of the white spots (ich). <?> I feed him lots of greens and brine shrimp sometimes with garlic.  The water quality is great and I keep the water temp at 79 with a chiller. thanks Keith <Uhh... what? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/index.html the Marine/Root web re this species (Acanthurus leucosternon), Crypt... Bob Fenner>
Re: powder blue tang    5/24/06
I think my powder blue tang sees his reflection in the glass.  He appears to be chasing himself and I fell as if this is causing him stress.  Will he ever get used to seeing himself and calm down? thank you Keith <If it lives, and you discount the reflection... likely so. BobF>

Questions on a Powder Blue Tang   3/21/06 Hello Guys. <And some dolls> I would not know where to even start looking for the answer to this question as I am not sure how to phrase asking so here goes. <... the Google search tool on WWM?> I got home and checked the 24 gallon tank where I have the new arrival Powder Blue (I picked him up Saturday) separated/quarantined from the main display (75 gallon). The fish seemed fine but color changes with stress which is probably pretty normal. <Yes> It eats Mysid shrimp, has no real interest in pellets, seems to like the flakes a bit and has cleaned the tank of all filamentous algae in just two days. It could have more interest in the green algae on the clip… In with this specimen is a cleaner shrimp (just had eggs on him after a molt) and a peppermint shrimp. OK, no bare bottom proper QT with nothing else in but the 5 gallon was too small for this job and I felt that the shrimp would clean and probably keep this fish happy anyway.   <Good thoughts> This afternoon it bit something off from the rock and jolted back. It has already tried and doesn’t like the acoel flatworms and there is not much Aiptasia (not that there was anyway) in there thanks to the peppermint shrimp. I have no idea what it got hold of (bristle worm?) but it seems uncomfortable and is swimming somewhat erratically since then. Thus far it has been graceful and attentive but now it flicks its fin like it is scratching for lack of a better way to put it. The color is still good but has just started getting splotchy (few spots near the top dorsal) as it seems bothered. It then seems fine for a time. What should I be looking for and should I even be concerned of yet? <Observe this animal closely... not much you can do> This is a beautiful specimen and was well adjusted in the dealer’s tank. At any rate I am going to keep an eye on it. Tank conditions: pH 8.2, temperature is at 77F, KH 250, NO2- 0 and NO3+ 5-10 ppm. These are the same conditions as my main tank and everyone there is quite well. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am trying to be proactive and nip something in the bud if indeed there is anything. Thank you. James Zimmer <Naught else to do James. Bob Fenner>
Re: Questions on a Powder Blue Tang  - 03/22/06
Thank you Bob. <Welcome> This is a lovely specimen and friendly. I am keeping my fingers crossed. There is none of the erratic behavior today but I will observe as close as I can. I can't wait for the three weeks to go by and see my new friend in the main tank! James <Am sure you've read it: http://wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm and the linked FAQs files... Bob Fenner>

Powder blue tang/Feeding  - 02/27/06 I just recently bought a powder blue tang for my 135 gallon reef. The specimen is paler blue than what I would have liked, but he is eating like a pig, a few spots of ick, with the occasional rub against a rock and otherwise in great shape. <"Great shape, few spots of ich."  I wouldn't call that great shape.> My question is to keep a powder blue what are the ideal conditions? My tank has been running 18 months, and for some reason no hair algae growth, I do little maintenance on the tank, haven't lost a fish in a year. We run on well water, which we had tested and is almost as  pure as R/O. What foods would you recommend to bring the brilliant blue out in him? He eats Mysis soaked in vita-chem, Nori, frozen marine algae, and krill.  <Read here my friend, and easily found on WWW. Do search before writing. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm  James (Salty Dog)> tb

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 & 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.>

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

Powder Blue Tang - They Said WHAT??? If I had the Maroon Clown, Flame Angel, Longnose Hawkfish, Longspine urchin, and a Chocolate chip starfish, you think I could add a Powder Blue Tang with them or are they not so hardy because in the Pet Solutions Catalog it says that the Powder Blue Tang is hardy.  <Pet Solutions are skirting right on the edge of false advertising. The fish itself, with a minimum of a 120 gallon tank (my opinion) is hardy with proper care from an experienced and knowledgeable aquarist. They are one of the best ich magnets to start with, and the average aquarist with the 55 to 70 gallon tanks will more than likely not have the fish around much more than a month. Please read this link, then make your decision. As far as the tankmates you have, all should get along. James (Salty Dog)> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/powdbluetg.htm. James (Salty Dog)>

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 Tang is "chattering" Hello, <Hi there> We have a healthy Powder Blue Tang which exhibits an odd characteristic of seemingly "chattering" his mouth from time to time. It is always looking out of the front of the tank and very often at us. It seems to do this for no apparent reason, but also it seems when something is wrong in the tank, like when our Yellow Tang was getting harassed (to death recently by a 5 Stripe Wrasse we traded in today). Is this chattering behavior common for Powder Blue's or do you think it is its way of telling us something is wrong with the water? Everything seems to be healthy and only our Nitrates are on the high side. Kim and Paul <Good observations and descriptions. I actually believe your Tang IS trying to "say" something... It is seeing its own reflection in your aquarium surface and "communicating" with it... Should be fine, and this behavior will likely cease in a few months. Bob Fenner>

Re: Powder Blue Tang is "chattering" Bob, <Paul> Thanks ! It seems to "chatter" regardless of the lighting outside the tank though, so I'm not sure about the reflection theory. <Hard to imagine perhaps... but having been inside very large aquariums... there is reflection from the inside!> It makes the most sense since it does seem healthy. Thanks for the quick response and your knowledge. I've gained insight in the past from reading other postings you've had.  Paul <Ahh, glad to render assistance. Bob Fenner> 

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>

Powder Blue Tangle! I recently purchased a powder blue tang, despite my better judgment from what I heard about the difficulty in caring for this species. System: 125 gal (fish only) 1.023 salinity Temp:  76 0.2 ammonia (a little high, maybe due to adding new fish?) <Yes- too high...Something is amiss with your husbandry! Maybe the tank is a bit overcrowded-possibly too much waste product... Do re-check...Review skimming, filtration, water changes, feeding practices. This needs to be corrected IMMEDIATELY! Do not even think of adding anything else until this problem is corrected! Sorry to lecture- but I urge you to jump on this immediately! Your fishes lives' depend on this.> Nitrite ok <Assuming that means "undetectable"- right?> Tank mates: Fiji puffer 3" Naso tang <That Naso will get HUGE- be prepared to move him to a larger home at some point, okay?> 4" orange spotted rabbit 4" Wrasse I've had him for about 1-1/2 weeks now. <Please tell me that you quarantined him...Please?> I saw him eat quite vigorously at the fish store (flakes) so I thought he was pretty healthy, but I did notice some scratching. <Umm- that was a mistake, IMO. Never purchase a sick fish, no matter how well he is eating...Especially if you don't quarantine!> 1st day I took him home and gave a freshwater dip prior to putting him into the main tank since I don't have an QT set up. <Please invest in one- it's well worth the minor expense and effort! At least you dipped the fish, that's a starting point!> That evening I fed him, but he didn't really eat 2nd day morning he began eating more. 3rd day he was eating well and looked good. Swimming around the tank quickly (not flashing) Continued to eat well (Mysis shrimp and formula 2) About 4 days ago he slowed his eating again.  Won't touch the Mysis shrimp, very selectively eats the small specs of flakes and formula 2 that I feed them. Swimming also slowed down and sometimes hides in a little cave in the tank. I tried the Nori, but he doesn't seem to go for that either. Observation: No sign of scratching No sign of sores No sign of cloudy eyes No sign of heavy breathing Some patchy signs of slight discoloration on the body, I think from when he was scratching No signs of white spots on him. No sign of bullying <That ammonia reading has something to do with this- I'll bet on that! Re-check all water and environmental parameters again> >Question: 1) I was looking on the website a read about the powder blues and noticed most of the people with the powder blue have a reef tank.  Can a powder blue live in a fish only tank with no live rock? <As long as you provide it with stable conditions, proper food, and plenty of room, you certainly can maintain the fish in this type of setup> 2) Why do you think the fish slowed his eating could it be the ammonia level?  That's the only thing I can see and think of that is making him unhappy? <Absolutely...Plus, whatever illness he might have had at the store could be re-emerging due to the stress of the ammonia level...> 3)  What other food should I try to feed him?  Should I get some live rock for him to eat?   <I'd try a macroalgae, such as Gracilaria ("Ogo"). Tangs go nuts over this stuff, and it's highly nutritious!> 4) I know the fish store I go to doesn't sell the Caulerpa since I think they said it was banned in California since people were dumping it starting growing out of control in the wildlife.  Is there another type of algae I should get for him to eat and start a refugium? <I'd go for the Gracilaria...Try Indo Pacific Sea Farms...> I'm beginning to think I made a mistake by getting him.  He's causing me a lot of stress worrying about him.  I would appreciate any advice and information you can provide me on caring for this guy. Thanks Maurice <Well, Maurice- don't be so hard on yourself. Yes- you made some mistakes, and yes-there may be some problems. But with immediate attention to the problems at hand, you can achieve success with this fish. If you've learned something from this, it will not be a wasted lesson. The most important thing when attempting to keep any fish, particularly a fish with a dubious reputation for hardiness, is to read and learn everything that you possibly can about the fish, and prepare for it's care BEFORE you make the purchase. I think you have learned that now. However, the fish needs to be removed and observed for possible illness. You really need to get a handle on the ammonia problem. I know that you can do it. I'm sorry that the fish is going through this-but it's obvious you care, so get to it! He's depending on you. Do read up on quarantine, disease treatment, etc. on the WetWebMedia.Com site and take action. Good luck! Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Several Questions (11/28/04) If only I had found you guys about a month ago! <Glad to help now. Steve Allen this evening.> Primaries: 105 gal tank with bubble ball sump, protein skimmer producing about 50 ml.s daily, 110 watts compact lights (tank is 18 inches tall), 150 lb live rock. Temp 77 all other parameters within normal. <In medicine, we joke that WITHIN NORMAL means "we never looked," rather than "within normal limits."> There is a 1/4 inch coral sand bottom. Food: Mysis, Emerald Entree, Nori.  Inhabitants: 3 Damsels, coral beauty, snowflake eel, arrow crab, cleaner shrimp, flame hawk, and low light corals (mushrooms and polyps). Question 1:  There is a green algae growing (since the end of summer) on the live rock (I didn't recognize it on you FAQ pages). <Check Julian Sprung's excellent Algae book for ID and other useful info. Inexpensive and useful.>  It is in small clumps that raise to about 1/4 inch high. There are no hair-like projections. <I cannot ID on that basis.> Frankly, I find it very attractive but am beginning to worry about this is interfering with the growth of the beneficial micro algae. <Perhaps, but just what do you mean by "beneficial" microalgae.> Any ideas what it is and is it okay in the tank? <The "algae problem" is primarily and aesthetic one. If you like it, keep it as long as you can control it so it does not overrun coral. Most  folks prefer the appearance of purple/red coralline algae to the green stuff. As long as you are testing and keeping nitrates down, this is not a dangerous problem.> This recent worry comes from the issue in question 2. Question 2:  My local shop sold me on a powder blue tang. <How nice of them to sell you such a difficult fish without adequate info.> Curiosity about its home waters led me to the net and on to you. Of course now having read through your pages, I am worried sick. <One can succeed with this fish. Check here for an excellent article Bob Fenner wrote about this fish: http://www.marineland.com/seascope/ss_Issue1_04.pdf > It is a very healthy specimen, colors are vivid and intense and the fish is fat. <All good signs.> He has been in my tank about a week without issue <Yet. Ich is the biggie with these guys. Pray it does not get an infestation.>, no disputes with his tank mates either way and has found several ways through the rock, going in one spot and coming out another. He is extremely shy and as soon as I try to feed the fish, he disappears. <It will take time for him to get used to his new environs.> He is grazing the rock but isn't eating the green algae mentioned above. I have baked Nori so am heading to the store to get dried. <Julian Sprung's Sea Veggies are great and are sold at Petco.> Given the above parameters, do I need to be changing anything to accommodate this powder blue tang? <Read the article.> Question 3: I have a very young and small French Angel that is in my quarantine tank.  He has developed fin and tail rot.  I have added Kanamycin but the instructions are extremely vague. <Most likely because there is little scientific data to support any given course of therapy.> It says that the dose may be repeated in 24 hours. <OK to do so then.> How do I use this product and how long before I can add this angel to my display tank? <I would watch the fish for improvement in the fins. Do some on-line research regarding use of Kanamycin in fish. You might want to see if there is an vet in your area that is knowledgeable about fish. Do not put in the main until clearly improving. I'd also suggest you start saving for a bigger tank. As your angel and tang grow, I'd say they need a 240 to thrive.> Bob <Hope this helps.>

PB Tang & French Angel, Part 2 (11/30/04) Good Evening Steve, <Hello again.> Thanks, the article re: Powder blues was an immense help.  <Great to hear. Bob has done great things for this hobby.>  Actually I am beginning to feel a little encouraged. I have a fan coral skeleton in the tank and the tang spent the entire day grazing on it's algae. It is also showing signs of territoriality chasing a little blue damsel out of the area. <all encouraging signs. Now pray for no ich.> Hopefully, my tang is a male, as I understand they are much smaller specimens. <Not much.> Now back to the main problem, the French Angel. I am feeding this little guy about 4-5 times a day, all just enough for him to eat in an effort to fatten him up a little in the belief that the bacterial infection is the result of a poor immune system. <Surely contributory. Always helps to be well nourished. Consider soaking in vitamins and Selcon. You may want to soak in garlic too, which promotes appetite and may have antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties.> He is a voracious eater. <Always encouraging.> Question:  The day I started the Kanamycin I noticed that his right eye started to get cloudy (all over)  In 24 hours the left eye started to cloud as well. Could the Kanamycin be responsible for this, or is this further evidence of bacterial infection? <The hard part is that it could be either and there is no way to tell.> Trying to decide whether I need to 2nd dose or remove treatment. His tail and fin rot has definitely stabilized. Opinion? <You're going to nail me down on this one, eh? Sometimes a single dose is enough. It would be reasonable to let the Kanamycin go away via filtration and water changes. Keep the water pristine and the fish well-nourished and it will hopefully recover. If it appears to be worsening, you might want to choose some other antibiotic, perhaps at the recommendation of a vet who knows fish. It is certainly worth the effort and expense to work to get this fish health and thriving again.> 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 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 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.>

Mystery Malady? Hey Crew!  Need your help again!  Thanks for your advice! <Glad to be here for you! Scott F. with you today!> I have had this beautiful Powder Blue for 2 weeks now, he has been eating like a monster, and doing well with the other roommates. Parameters: Temp 82    75 gal. w/20 gal. sump/fuge growing Caulerpa; EV-240 skimmer; 140# LR, 4-5" fine substrate pH 8.2    Yellow tang, Picasso Trigger, Volitans Lion, Powder Blue tang NH3 0 NO2 0 NO3 20 <Water conditions sound good...At some point, a larger tank is in order for this crowd!> The last two days the Powder Blue has exhibited the discoloration shown in the photo, he has lost the black to his face.  These look like abrasions with some inflammation, but are difficult to visualize due to his speed. <I see...> They are on both sides, and various body parts including his face, which makes me think more along the lines of a fungal infection or such. I'm setting up a Hospital tank now and will QT him until further ID of problem.  Thanks again for your help! Ed Carter, RN, BSN, CCRN <Unfortunately, I didn't get the pic, so I'm compelled to take a guess here. Discolorations like you describe could be anything from a non-lethal malady like Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE), which generally is diet or environmentally-induced, to a more serious fungal infection, as you theorize. Usually, HLLE has a gradual onset of symptoms, so you may indeed be looking at some sort of fungal disorder. Are there any other symptoms? Lack of appetite? Heavy breathing? Obvious distress or discomfort shown by the fish? If you could try again with the picture, we might be better able to diagnose this malady. Until then, your quarantine procedure is correct. Keep the water quality high, feed carefully, and take note of further symptoms. I'd avoid any medications until you get a handle on just what this affliction may be. In some cases, these types of non-lethal disorders clear themselves up with the passage of time and a good clean environment. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>
Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine
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