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FAQs about Purple Tangs 1

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Related FAQs: Purple Tangs 2, Purple Tangs 3, Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction, Yellow Tangs, Striped Sailfin Tangs, Zebrasoma Tangs, Zebrasoma Identification, Zebrasoma Behavior, Zebrasoma Compatibility, Zebrasoma Selection, Zebrasoma Systems, Zebrasoma Feeding, Zebrasoma Disease, Zebrasoma Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

A healthy Purple Tang in captivity.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Diet Recently, I started feeding my marine fish Mysis shrimp together with Spirulina soaked in Zoe. Soon thereafter, having switched from Formula One & Two to this, the Purple Tang developed Lateral Line or Hole In the Head Disease. <Probably not the cause, but not helping matters either.> Though the Mysis has lots of protein, might this be the cause of this affliction and should I cease using it in deference to a greater mixture of frozen food along with lettuce occasionally? <Lettuce is terrible. Keep feeding what you are, plus add the Formula II back and get some Nori and vitamins to soak your food in addition to the Selcon.> THANKS, Stephen Pace <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Purple tang Hello- I was wondering if would answer a couple of questions. I have a purple tang who seems to be doing fine. I feed him seaweed select twice a day  < a fine food but do consider sushi Nori (the same thing) from an Asian grocery store in your area... it is dramatically less expensive> along with frozen kelp, formula two, algae plus & Spirulina. I have noticed the purple tends to bump when he swims . I don't mean he bumps into objects but when he swims - he bumps or jerks forward (like an old car).  <very unusual and not symptomatic of a disease necessarily> I have also read about tangs looking like they have velvet on them. Also. my tang looks fine when you look at him close but if he turns & you view him at a certain angle- For a second he does appear to have a velvet look to him but you have to look at him from the right angle and of course he is constantly moving so I cant pinpoint what it is? What do you think? <if the velvet symptom was evidence of a parasitic infection you would also see rapid gilling, favored gilling (one gill closed) and/or scratching off rocks> I also I have a piece of LR is developing a brownish/orangish color to it in 2 different spots in very small areas(1/2 inch by 1/2 inch)- these areas are surrounded by coralline algae but the coralline never covers it - and after three months it seems like these brownish/orangish areas are getting a little larger but very slowly. They do seem to receded in the rock or at least below the level at which my coralline algae sits. What do you think it is and should I be concerned? <hard to say without an image, may be a nuisance algae. Does your skimmer produce skimmate daily?> One last question, I have read about so many people experimenting with a purple tang and a yellow tang in the same setup. I realize the Zebrasomas have anal spikes that they use for protection. I recently witnessed a tank with a purple and yellow in the same system (maybe 75 gal) Everything seemed peaceful (no chasing or biting)  <even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes as they say> but occasionally backing up into each other. Is this type of aggression you would expect to have with such a mixed or would they chase each and attack with their mouths?  <when there are so many other beautiful fishes to have, why subject them to undue and unnecessary stress? My strong advice would be not attempt to mix the two species>  -Thanks for your time- Ronald <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Purple tang How often a day should I be feeding my purple tang?  <depends on the amount if any of other algae naturally in the tank with live rock and beyond (Caulerpa farmed from refugiums, diatoms on glass, natural turf algae, etc). If your tank has little of the above, then 2-3 small feedings daily will be necessary. Else, as little as several feedings weekly with a lot of natural greenstuffs in the tank> I feed him about 1inch by 1 inch piece of seaweed selects each plus I feed him a 1/2 a cube of either Formula 2 Spirulina or frozen Kelp which I rotate.  <all very nice> He always seems hungry.  <they graze naturally all the time> I have about 90 lbs of LR in a 75 gal tank- He doesn't really pick at the LR at all- The LR has of coralline algae but I think my cleanup crew(45hermits 55 snails) didn't leave anything for him- <correct> Should I remove some of these hermits?  <that could afford more greens for the tangs and also help any live sand (hermits are rough on the microfauna)> Do I need to feed him more Greens/ more often?  <perhaps more often daily tiny feedings to maintain weight and growth> Everything I put in he consumes fast and seem to always be looking for more. I am just concerned about over feeding him or possibly under feeding him. Please let me know- Ron <without any significant nuisance algae growth, it seems unlikely that you are overfeeding. Best regards, Anthony>

Purple Tang Hi I have a question about a purple tang I purchased about 2 months ago. The fish is in my 150 gallon fish only tank with a maroon clown and a small harlequin tusk wrasse. The tang is active and eats anything but is experiencing fin decaying along with head/lateral line problems. I have been adding Zoe to its food and Fish Solution (eco-systems) to the tank. The fins are showing some signs of regeneration but the head and Lateral Line are not improving. I feed the fish dried seaweed (Sea Veggies/Seaweed Selects) everyday and it devours the Mysis, Clams, and Squid meant for its tank mates. The owner of the store where I purchased the fish told me that purple tangs (actually all tangs except yellow) have a problem when there is too much protein in their diet. He said they do better on an almost exclusively vegetable diet. <I would say all Tangs need a diet consisting primarily of vegetable matter of marine origin (Yellows included).> I had never heard this before and was actually happy that this fish took all sorts of foods. Does this information sound accurate and could this be the source of my problem. <HLLE is linked primarily to diet, but also other husbandry issues such as water quality. You can read more here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm> Thank you, A.J. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Pearlscale Butterfly & Purple Tang Compatibility What are the changes of a Pearlscale butterfly and a purple tang getting along. The purple tang has been in the tank for about 6 months. They are both approximately the same size.. <Assuming the tank is large enough to house these fish, They should do fine. They are significantly different colors and eat different foods.> Thanks! ~Bill <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Purple Tang Good evening to you, <and kindly to you in return> A follow-up on a past question. <OK> I have a recently introduced Purple tang in my 120 gal reef tank.  <after a 4 week quarantine I hope... as with all fish but particularly for these Ich prone surgeonfish> Water parameters are PH 8.23, Ammonia <0.1, Nitrate and Nitrite are 0, temp. 25.0 centigrade, salinity 1.025. I had noticed six/seven white dots/marks on one fin of this Purple tang, Zebrasoma xanthurum, and wrote to you with concerns of parasitic infection. I'm not out of the woods yet, but the marks have been static (and perhaps even faded a little) in the past week and at this point, I am tending to feel they are just white marks. <slow healing wounds from a/the previous infection perhaps but should regain color... else suspect nutritional deficiency or some other cause> I did look as closely as possible at him at him in the LFS but they don't have bright lights and I was not able to really examine him thoroughly. I have a pair of 150w metal halides, which makes a visual far more fruitful. I also note that this fish looks underfed/skinny (lumpy gut area) with some signs of HLLD. I would tend to say he is just skinny, but wanted your suggestion as to what this might be.  <indeed... such tangs need very many small feedings/grazing opportunities daily to thrive and maintain weight. Do offer Nori (seaweed) and turf algae on live rock whenever possible. Spirulina in prepared foods, etc. There is a lot of good content in our archives here at WWM if you care to learn more about nutrition and more> He is eating aggressively and very well (live rock, algae, Mysis, brine, prawn....)  <the brine is a complete waste of time/money and is a contributing factor in this fishes poor weight if it makes up even 20% of his diet. The Mysis and prawn are good but do mostly offer greenstuffs for this herbivore> and I also note that his fins heal in a day or so (if they get slightly damaged from time-to-time in scuffles with my Kole tang). He is looking much better than when I first put him in with better colour and a fatter stomach! I am also pleased to tell you that I am about to buy a quarantine tank...  <excellent! One of the very best investments in a marine aquarium.> Many thanks, JP <kindly, Anthony>

Purple Tang (is in my eyes!) I am thinking of a purple tang, since ff has them on sale, are they a "hardy"  fish? How big would it get in my 50 gal.? Look forward to your fast reply as always! <<This is a very hardy species... It will get about five inches long in your 50... Include some greens in its diet daily... Bob Fenner>>

Problem with purple tang Dear Bob, I read many of your articles, q/a and they are very helpful. <Ah, good to read> I started a 90g saltwater tank last November. Equipped with a 20g sump, wet/dry trickle filter, 120V heater. Cycled the tank with 100 lb live rock. Added 3 damsels after the tank cycled with snails and hermit crabs. Added three more damsels and a cleaner shrimp the week after. Acclimated and added a Sailfin and Purple tank together about 10 days ago. Both tangs are doing fine, show no aggression towards each other. Last night I noticed a tiny white dot on the purple tang's body, where the right pectoral fin meets the body. This morning, notice a faint and fine white line on its body, starting from the white dot, parallel to the gill on the body not on the gill. It is not distinctive or separate spot but a line. It is difficult to tell if the Sailfin has similar problem due to its color. I immediately tested the water. Everything is fine - zero ammonia, nitrite; under 10 ppm nitrate, 1.022 sg, temperature 78F. I've been doing weekly 5g water change. I observe the purple tang for a period of time. It is not rubbing on rock or substrate. However, it seems jumpy and shy, especially during feeding. <This is natural, normal for your new fish, system> It used to chase after food. It still does but as soon as it gets something, it ducks down and hides between rock until it sees another flake near. I have been feeding them combination of formula two, prime reef, brine shrimp and algae green (Nori) twice daily. Every other day, I soak the flake with a few drops of Selcon. Not sure if it has ich. I have a 10g quarantine tank stand by and wonder if I should give him a FW bath and treat it with copper. The first challenge is getting it out without dismantle the live rock structure. Any idea how I can do this without putting more stress to the animal? Secondly, is it bacteria infection or ich that I am dealing with? <Well-stated. I would just wait, observe at this point> I watch my fish every day and they have been my joy and happiness. In case this is ich, I hope I could do something soon enough before an outbreak. Please advise. Many thanks, Carmen <You are a keen observer, and a caring keeper... Do just keep doing what you're doing. If you run new fishes through dips, quarantine, there is little likelihood that you are experiencing a parasitic disease here... more like the fishes just "settling in". Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang Bob, <Ola! Anthony Calfo here for Bob who just ran out the door chasing a flock of pigeons that landed in the front yard, screaming "Yee-ha, we're gonna be eatin' good tonight!"> Love your website. I had lost quite a bit of fish starting out <wish we had talked to you first> and then had a bout with an Ich infestation. It got to the point I was getting discouraged about having started a marine system, <good advice from the start to have a quarantine tank almost certainly would have prevented this> but I was determined. <good to hear it!> My only survivors we two green Chromis and later moved them back into the main tank after leaving it fallow. <O-tay> In my 50 gallon tank I added 3 more Chromis, a 1 1/2 inch maroon clown, 2 cleaner shrimp (both have molted once), 2 small neon gobies, a sand shifting starfish, two red foot moon snails and about two weeks ago added a 3 1/2 inch flame angel and 4 inch purple tang. The flame and the tang went at it for the first couple of days and settled down. Not problems between them. <indeed... establishing the pecking order> My problem is that the tang started to hover and corner the small maroon, and nothing more, more of a face-off. About a week later I saw my maroon hiding in the live rock and would could out and then retreat. He had a "u" shaped bit on his dorsal fin and his side fins showed some significant damage. So I moved the maroon into a floating breeder to protect him and let him heal in the main tank without having to stress him by moving him. <cool> Would the purple tang be aggressive towards a small maroon?  <easily and likely. Zebrasoma tang species are feisty> Even if the clown was in the tank first? <has absolutely nothing to do with the price of tea in China> I just recently added two Firefish and the next day I could not find them or see them.  <ouch...too peaceful/passive for the tank. Unlikely to work out long-term if they are still alive. They are too gentle and will be out competed for food at the very least. Please extract them> Later that night the tang was trashing and eating what was a Firefish. Common? <you have an aggressive tang...and yes it is common. The maroon clown and Flame angel are also feisty as a rule and not a bad mix at all in a big enough tank> I am now afraid to release my maroon back or buy new fish. <that particular maroon maybe.... but fish in general no. You simply have an active community tank. Fast and feisty is on the menu... and I don't mean Rosie Perez. Pick fish that are aggressive feeders like some wrasses, Pseudochromis, some hawkfish, etc.> I don't plan or adding any more fish other than a Firefish or Banggai cardinal and that's it for stocking my tank.  <aieee! Lambs to the slaughter even without the tang. Maroons are nasty and could easily target the above species. You need to decide if you want an ultra peaceful tank (shy fish) or an active community tank> Would keeping any last minute additions in the breeder so the tang gets accustomed to them?  <more harm (stress) than good. After getting burned (Ich), you are running all fish through a two to four week quarantine, right buddy?> Any suggestions? Would appreciate it. <yep...don't bet on the Patriots to win> Javier <kindly, Anthony>

Re: problem with purple tang Hello Anthony, <Steven Pro this morning.> I finally moved my purple tang to a quarantine tank today as the Sailfin is really suffering. The Sailfins "sail" is torn! In the effort of catching the purple tang I have to remove most of the live rock. I am lucky that I don't have any coral yet. I am afraid that I may have to give up one of them. I am planning is to leave the Sailfin in the main tank and let it heal. Then, I'll put the purple tank back in with a partition for another couple of weeks. With the live rock topology changed hopefully the purple tang will not be as aggressive. I'll give it one more chance. Do you think it worth a try before considering giving it up? <Very slim chance the two will coexist peacefully in this size tank.> Any other way I could keep both? <You could get another tank for one each or one much larger tank, 180 or bigger.> Also, I saw a mandarin goby at the LFS and almost brought it home by impulse. Before I make another mistake, I would like to do more research before doing so. <Good idea.> Again, my intention is to get a flame angel and a long nose hawkfish eventually. Will the Mandarin fit in? I understand that it may have feeding problem. <Not "may", it WILL have a feeding problem. They only eat live food.> I have a 90g tank, 100 lb live rock with good quality of color coralline algae on it. The existing live stock is 4 yellow tail damsels, a 3-stripe damsels, a Sailfin, a purple tang (hopefully), cleaner shrimp, snails and crabs. Will these little guys do well together if I add a Mandarin? <Sorry, but no. Your tank is too small and filled with aggressive feeders to allow for an ample supply of live food.> Thank you, Carmen <Glad to be of assistance. -Steven Pro>

City of Angels Hey Bob, <Rick... Anthony Calfo here in Bob's stead while he's preoccupied with braiding the hair under his arms...although I must say that his choice of beads is quite striking> I have a purple and a yellow tang in my 75 gall. They've been together for about 3 months.  <who the heck told you that would be a good mix?> The yellow is a little bigger and the two of them are ALWAYS squaring off.  <ahhh, yes... I should have read further along> The purple usually backs down and rarely takes a nick in his fins. So it's not like they are tearing one another apart, but my question is: Is this constant battling going to take it's toll on them? <absolutely... extended aggression, heightened state of stress, yadda yadda yadda... translates to higher incidence of disease and the like. Any chance of them settling in o a pecking order is long gone by the three month point> Should I remove one (yellow)?  <yes, please remove one> Maybe the reason that I'm thinking of moving one is more selfish. I'm growing to not like tangs that much at all! All they do is fight and eat!!  <whoa, buddy... don't shoot the tangs. Smack the guy that told you they would work together. The tangs are only doing what comes naturally for them...defending their feeding/breeding territory. Otherwise, it's like resenting birds for flight...hehe> Maybe if I just had one it could relax a bit.  <agreed> Angels are so much more fun to watch. <I don't know... I've never seen one. Although I loved that movie with Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage> Thanks AGAIN my friend. Keep up the good work. Rick <Thank you, sir for putting up with my humor (or lack thereof) while sharing advice. Best regards, my friend. Anthony>  

Purple tang sick? Dear Anthony, Things have been going rather well on my conversion. My computer is in its death throes however and this is why I haven't updated you lately.  <no worries... we all keep busy <wink>> (I will send a detailed description soon) I saw you're in Pittsburgh. Do you live here year round?  I live less then 30 min.s down town so perhaps you frequent the same LFS's. <yes... also about 30 minutes from the 'burg. Perhaps we can get you to visit PMASI meeting... always great speakers, Bob Fenner, Eric Borneman and Ron Shimek are annual... Paletta is also local. Our next meeting is this coming Saturday at the Palace Inn Monroeville at 6pm. We go out for food and drinks afterwards. A wonderful time to be had. Check us out at www.pmas.org > Alright... here is the current issue. I have a new healthy purple tang, three inches, fat and eating well. He seems to have developed very faint hardly there markings around one of his eyes. Slightly raised a little paler then the rest of him. I treated the 50 gallon tank with enough Melafix for 40 gallons of water tonight in a small fit of panic .... In retrospect I now worry that I may have killed my live rock.  <I doubt that it had much of an impact on the rock or the parasites. Although I do like the product for some applications> I only treated it once with 4 teaspoons. Tomorrow it recommends I redose. I wont do so unless you get back to me about the status of my (very very hopefully still) live rock. I do not have a quarantine tank, and perhaps the tang isn't even ill.. it is very subtle. Thank you Anthony my friend. Brian <you could purchase a small QT tank (sponge filter, ten gall, heater, glass cover and not much else) for the price of just five or six bottles of medication. However the tank would serve you better and for years. Do get a QT setup ASAP. Otherwise, it is a roulette game with living creatures every time a new fish or coral is added. Don't be a stranger... stop by at the marine society meeting and we'll chat it up! kindly, Anthony> 

Sick Purple Tang I have a purple tang that has developed, for lack of a better description, white snail like trails around his face and eyes. Nobody else in the tank has it and I have been ich free for over a year (it doesn't look ich ish to start with). His appetite is good, he is active and doesn't seem to be suffering in any way (at least so far). Can you tell me what this might be. Bob <This is a good description of the "beginnings" of a condition called HLLE, Head and Lateral Line Erosion... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm Purple Tangs are one of the more susceptible species... you will want to augment this fish's diet, improve water quality... perhaps with the growth of live macro-algae. Bob Fenner>

Re: tang Thanks for the reply. My water quality is very good. I have 125 lbs of live rock and add calcium, iodine, nag, Strontium and a few others every week. I do not however feed other than prime reef, marine food and clams and shrimp. Every time I try to add frozen veggie type products no one eats. Can you make some suggestions for food. Also let me be blonde for a moment. Live micro algae? <Please go to WetWebMedia.com and peruse the Marine Index and/or use the Search tool there to read about HLLE, Macro-Algae, Marine Foods/Feeding/Nutrition... The site is logically arranged with many links between related matters, tens of thousands of FAQs files... Bob Fenner>

Is My Purple Tang too Purple? Hello Mr. Fenner, <<Hello, JasonC here - Bob is away diving/taking pictures.>> How are you? Thank you for your past advices, they were extremely helpful. I have questions regarding the color of my purple tang.  <<ok>>  First, let me preface that I have a 90 gallon reef aquarium for the past 3 years. I recently added a 4" yellow tang and 3" purple tang together 3 months ago. Other inhabitants include: 1x -4" male flame wrasse, and 2x -2" female flame wrasse. All the fishes are healthy, and behaving harmoniously, absolutely no sparring or jousting. They are eating extremely well, and are fed 3 times daily with your homemade recipe (finely chopped shrimp, squid, clams, scallops, and oysters'?plus soaked with Selcon) that was illustrated in your book. All the food is eaten within one minute. I also feed fresh Caulerpa (from my refugium) for the tangs on a daily basis. My water parameters are near perfect: ammonia = 0ppm, nitrite = 0ppm, nitrate = 0 - 2ppm, temperature = constant @ 78 degree, pH = 8.2 - 8.4, salinity = 1.025ppm, carbon hardness = 10.5 dKH, and calcium = 420-440ppm. <<sounds good.>> The purple tang has a very dark purple hue (almost black) to him/her regardless the time of day. It does not have a vibrant bluish purple coloration and I could barely see the black spots and lines that mark his/her body. All other inhabitants (fish and corals) have brilliant colorations. I am just wondering if it is a nutritional or environmental disorder specific to the purple tang?  <<I highly doubt it.>>  Can the color variation be regional (the Red Sea vs. the Indiana Ocean)? <<more of a possibility, methinks>>  Can it be some type of diet deficiency (although the purple tang has a wide variety foods available, especially with my 30 gallon hybrid ecosystem/liverock refugium)?  <<I would doubt it in this case.>>  Gender differences, if so, how could one differentiate?  <<I don't think you can sex these fish without a knife, but I could be wrong - wouldn't be the first time.>>  Is it a matter of maturity, the color will be more vivid through age? Or is it just a natural variation?  <<both of these are also very distinct possibilities.>>  Should I add liquid vitamins into the tank to enhance the color?  <<you could just put them in the food you've been making, will work as well.>> Thank you for taking the time to read/reply to my questions. Your website provides extremely informative and insightful information to help/educate hobbyists like us. Keep up the great work! <<Bob I'm sure will appreciate your kind words.>> <I am sure we all do. Bob F> Best, Dan <<Cheers, J -- >>

Fwd: [SDMAS] Purple Tang loosing pigmentation Hi All; Does anyone know what would cause a purple Tang to loose pigmentation. <Mainly nutritional deficiency... but water quality, physical damage, disease may play a role> My fish has lost color on only one side and it looks like white blotches. He looks healthy and has been eating. I am concerned because the blotches are getting bigger. The only thing I have done differently has been adding Lugol's one drop a day 5 days a week ( this is what the directions say for a tank my size). Needless to say I have stopped adding Lugol's. Any Ideas?  Maurice B. <I would stop the Lugol's... look into potassium iodide instead. And do utilize a liquid vitamin prep. on sheets of algae in the daily diet. Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia>

Purple Tang and HLLE Please Help!!! Hello, Please help!!! I am becoming very frustrated. I have a 150 gal reef tank (mostly mushrooms. and polyps.) w/ a wet/dry-Prot. Skimmer, along w/ two Aquaclear 500's constantly running activated carbon, and 3 additional Power Heads for added H2O flow. I use Ro/DI H20. I have had my purple Tang for only about 3 weeks and he seems perfectly healthy (eats well, etc.), but just a few days ago I noticed what looked to be the beginning of HLLE (white pocks above the eyes and along the lateral line). Now, only a few days later, it seems to be getting worse. <This species is particularly susceptible to this environmental/nutritional disease/complaint> The strange thing is that I have always kept plenty of Green, Red, and Brown Seaweed Selects in the tank, and I feed Formula Two and MYSIS soaked in garlic, Selcon, and Zoe and he (it) eats it all. I have done this long before I introduced the purple Tang to the tank. The tank is grounded and water chemistry checks out great (Alk., PH, Ammon., Nit. and Nit.). I am absolutely out of ideas. I have heard that constant use of carbon can cause this, but the owner of my local fish shop (Bruce from Sandy's Pet Store in Louisville, KY, I think you know him) says that that has never been proven and that he also runs carbon in all of his tanks. <Agreed... I encourage folks to switch carbon out only once a month in general, it gets "exhausted" (saturated) within minutes to hours in most cases...> I had to almost totally break down the tank just days before I noticed this to catch a few trouble makers, something that I am sure stressed him out. Could stress suddenly bring on HLLE?  <Might be a contributing cause...> As far as stopping it, I already use all of the suggested Vits. and foods. I have heard that Iodine also might help with HLLE, but I already add it, along w/ Str., Calc, and CoralVite to the tank.  Should I try soaking the MYSIS in that as well? I am not sure what else to do, as I believed that what I was doing was the proper thing up until just a few days ago. Any feedback at all would be much appreciated. Thanks, Scott <Please read over the following area, FAQs on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm There are many suspected factors, co-factors to "bringing on" HLLE... your "cure" in this setting is likely a combination of improved nutrition (simple addition of vitamins and iodide to the foods directly, for fifteen minutes or so ahead of feeding, weekly administration to the tank/water) and water quality (growing macro-algae in the main tank, better in a sump, possibly a refugium, maybe incorporating live rock, mud... This condition can take a while to reverse (weeks, months), but can be done. Please peruse our site (WetWebMedia.com) re "Algal Filtration", "Environmental", "Nutritional Diseases"... as the links lead you. You display diligence, caring... show intelligence, compassion here. You will be successful. Bob Fenner>

Sohal then Purple Tang Introduction Mr. Bob Fenner (hero, sage and wise man), <Just a pet-fish type of guy, please> After much reading (your book, Dakin's, Delbeek & Sprung's FAQ's and articles at WWM and FFexpress and others), I still did something (I think) might have been "dumb" in the stocking order of my tank re: Sohal tang. <We can/could start a club... with a very large potential membership> Seduced by its beauty, I put a 6" Sohal tang in my system on Friday.  <Yikes... kind of big... territorial for a 110...> The 110 tank currently has: 2 small ocellaris clowns (<1.5"), a purple Firefish, a Banggai cardinal, 2 Lysmata cleaner shrimp and a sally lightfoot crab (2" wide from toe to toe). I was wanting to add a Purple Tang and, from what I read, I better do it soon!  <Yes> I will have to wait 'til Tuesday because, even though a LFS has lots of brownish ones from the P.I., <Hmm, this species range doesn't extend this far east... the Philippines have Zebrasoma veliferum and Z. scopas only...:http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=12023 Only found from the Red Sea over to the Maldives...> the Red Sea ones (bright purplish blue) are in the LFS quarantine until then. Did I blow it? Is that too long to wait? <Likely no problem... some "jousting" to be expected....> Are they going to fight like cats and dogs. From what I read, they do OK after some sparring, if added at the same time. What are my chances after waiting a 4 days?  <Still good> I will turn lights off for 24 hours and maybe take out a chunk of lace rock and replace it with a big piece of Live Rock at the same time (I think I'll have to replace at lease 2 pieces of the lace rock and get more LR in the system eventually). I know I was to add this fish last in the system order but can I still add smaller, non-tang, non-alpha fish like gobies and pygmy angels and such in the future or an I in trouble there too? <As long as they're subdominant, smart, fast, that there's plenty of hiding spaces...> He doesn't bother the current small, sedentary fish although his size and activity level scare the H out of them and they keep their distance. Technical Details: Hardware Running for 6 months, I have a 110 Ga, with Aqua Medic T1.000 skimmer, 40 W Lifegard UV, Ocean Clear 340 Micron filter, Amiracle Maxi Reef Trickle Filter. In the tank, I have 3 large (~16" dia), very holey pieces of lace lock (no live rock), 60 lbs of aragonite (oolite) and 40 lbs of live sand on top. Water Perimeters Temp 82 Deg F., SG 1.0225, pH 8.2, KH 10, Ammonia 0, Nitrite, <0.3mg/l, Nitrate, 12.5 mg/l, Ca++ 380mg/, Iodine <0.01ppm (dose 2 ml every day of Kent concentrated iodine (for cleaner shrimp. Not much algae other than Diatom. Feeding: Greens: Clip with Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Selects Macroalgae sheets Meats: 1/4 tablet of Pro Pops Marine Supreme frozen food-morning and evening. P.S. The cleaner shrimp love climbing around and giving the Sohal a "cleaning". Fun to watch. <Yes, and valuable activity> Always amazed that a smart guy like you is available to guys who do dumb things, <Umm, am actually one and the same... Must "look better" on the net than reality... Really. Your live rock addition, lace rock moving sounds good, your set-up and parameters as well. I would go ahead with your current stocking plan... Should the Sohal prove to be trouble later you can always trade it in. Such large and larger specimens are almost always in demand for large tanks/service accounts. Bob Fenner> John ILG

Cleaner Shrimp and a Purple Tang Bob, Thanks for all the good advice you've given us in the past. We had a purple tang and a fire shrimp in our 90-gallon reef. We purchased a number of mushrooms from Flying Fish Express that came in a very poor condition. We had asked for a lavender Bullseye mushroom but was sent what we believe is a lavender-tipped mushroom. The lavender-tipped mushroom was in such bad condition that it quickly began dying after a number of days. <Yikes... maybe got overheated... if lives may turn more lavender...> About 3 or 4 days after receiving the FFExpress order, the fire shrimp was dead. We've thought of several reasons for this death and wanted to get your opinion. 1. Our initial thought was that the lavender-tipped mushroom had stung the fire shrimp and wounded it beyond recovery. <What? These were NOT shipped in the same bag I trust? In the tank it may have been poisoned, and yes, stung...> 2. The purple tang never allowed the fire shrimp to clean him and so we thought that he may have finally killed the fire shrimp after all of the upset of the mushroom addition. <Not likely> Water parameters are great. One other question... Our purple tang seems to be rather aggressive. Can you recommend some other fish that we could add to the tank in light of this tang's personality? <Look on the www.WetWebMedia.com site for the Fishwatcher's Guide to... the Red Sea: http://wetwebmedia.com/redseafwgv1.htm for input here... the fishes listed or ones like them from elsewhere...> As always, thanks for your help. Regards, Michael and Lynn Rivera <Be chatting my friends. Bob Fenner>

Growth on Purple Tang Bob--My purple tang has a growth on its left side, about 1 cm below its gill, and right in  front and a little below the pectoral fin. It looks like a wart--Lymphocystis. I thought  Lymphocystis typically only affected the fins--at least that's what I've typically seen.  But in reading the FAQs I see that's not the case. <Yes> I did notice a light spot a few weeks ago, where the growth is now. It looked like the tang  had probably been tussling with one of the yellows and had gotten scraped. So I do have reason to believe there was some damage to his or her scales at that spot. It's a pretty  good sized growth tonight--probably about 3-4mm in diameter. <...> None of the other fish seem to be affected. I also haven't added any livestock to the  system for several months. I've never had a sick fish--I guess there's a first time for  everything. <As the saying goes... I would rather state that there is a first time for "many things" as well as a last> One hint is that since I moved the tank, I've been battling Cyano off and on pretty  regularly. I've tried just about everything--siphoning it out, cleaned the lights of salt  buildup (bulbs are only 5 months old), water changes, with no luck. I never had a Cyano  problem before moving the tank to the other room. Now I can't seem to beat it. I'm hoping  the improvements on the new system will correct this problem. <Have you seen the "BGA/Cyano" piece on the www.WetWebMedia.com site? Or the similar article  by me that ran last Winter ish of SeaScope? A brief summation of what folks do re...> I've tested water parameters regularly--I've got NH3, NO2 at zero, and NO3 at about 2-3 ppm.  pH has been running right around 8.0. At any rate, my surmise is that a degradation in  water quality seems to have been triggered by moving the system (as evidenced by the Cyano),  which when combined with the small injury to this fish, has caused enough stress to allow him (or her) to develop Lymphocystis. <Likely all related.> Should I just leave this alone, and hope it clears up on its own once everyone is settled  into the new system, or should I do something since I'm going to have the opportunity when  moving the livestock on Saturday? In one of the FAQs, you recommend using a cotton swab to  daub the Lymphocystis with a mercuric compound. Should I try this when I move the fish,  since I'm going to be handling him or her anyway, or just hope the larger system and Lysmata shrimp will clear this up naturally? <I would likely leave this alone for now... this problem develops slowly... and may resolve itself as you hint with the growing improvement of your system. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your insights. James D, concerned about his favorite fish. . .

Clown Attack(ed by Zebrasoma, News at 11:00!) I mentioned in a prior email that the maroon clown that went in last week took up residence in the plate coral. During my hours of observing the tank today, I noticed that the purple tang is picking on the clown a lot. The tang (which seems to be becoming the dominant fish in the system--even dominating the larger yellow tangs) will hover over the plate coral and then nip at the clown. The clown will retreat farther into the plate coral to avoid these attacks. It doesn't appear serious at the moment, however, it also doesn't seem common that a Zebrasoma will be that aggressive toward another fish not of its same genus--and especially to another fish that is minding its own business and not really moving around the system that much, like the clown. From what I can tell, the clown is the only fish in the system that he picks on (other than a few innocuous tail-offs with the yellows). Also, I haven't observed this behavior until today--so it seems to have started recently. Is this aggressive behavior between the tang and the clown normal? At this point, should I just keep a watchful eye to make sure it doesn't get out of hand between these two? <Any evidence of physical damage? Probably not... and yes to all marine fishes being "aggressive" to a degree... Likely no worries here.> Hope you had a nice weekend. Chat soon. <Ah yes... finished the pectiniids (a family of Stony Corals), and am doing my bit, editing Scott Michael's upcoming re-do of "Sharks and Rays"... and a friend helped with a PP mock-up that I'll be presenting next month at the WMC... a fab pet-fish wknd for sure. Bob Fenner>

Cooling and Purple Tang In response to your prior message, about the fact that a wealth of information regarding quarantine, etc. is available on your website (and I agree on that--because I have now scoured it thoroughly), I wish I'd done a little more research on every aspect of keeping a marine aquarium before I got started.  Unfortunately, most marine aquaria retailers are not particularly concerned about the knowledge base of new owners, and when an aspiring "fishkeeper" comes in to buy a new setup and spend a bunch of money, they're thinking about the buck and not about the health of the system or livestock! <And doesn't this apparent attitude strike you as "odd"? I mean, what better "advertising" (overall promotion) of their/the business could there be than successful aquarist customers? In what field of endeavor, vocation does it "pay" to have an un- or mis- informed public?> It would be nice if LFS's offered a "new aquarist" course--even 3 or 4 hours about the basics--like the nitrogen cycle, stocking, livestock compatibility, lighting, etc. I learned about the nitrogen cycle (and most everything else) on my own--and I still am.  <No books?> (Still waiting on your book to arrive, too.) Not making excuses--just wishing I hadn't been so naive in the beginning.  <Ah, woulda, coulda, shoulda... a common refrain> At any rate, I'm the type of person that loves to learn new things and master new challenges--so I'm not apt to throw my hands up and roll over. (And I otherwise thoroughly enjoy gazing into the tank for 2 or 3 hours every evening!) <Ahh, good outlook and preoccupation> I haven't set up a QT tank yet--however, no more new fish until that's taken care of. The white area on the underside of the purple tang was a little larger yesterday. He otherwise appears normal, very active and feeding well. I added two cleaner shrimp as you suggested. Within minutes of introducing them to the tank, the two yellow tangs were letting the shrimp crawl all over them and do their cleaning chores.  <A good, better sign... likely the Purple Zebrasoma will capitulate> The purple hasn't taken to the cleaners as of yet--hopefully he'll follow the lead of the yellows. (Question here--the purple tang is the smallest of the three--and the least dominant. Should I have added three cleaners so that the purple wouldn't have to compete for their services?) Patience, patience. <No on the first, definitely yes on the latter.> I also picked up some Selcon to soak their food in--and some frozen brine and krill, to add some variety to their diet. I'm also keeping sheet algae available for them to graze on at all times--and the tangs all look much better. Any other thoughts on the purple, other than watch and wait? <Yes my anxious friend> I did add a ventilation system to the tank on Saturday. I installed two 3" cooling fans from Radio Shack by attaching them on the "ledge" at the top of the back of the tank with silicon sealer. With the lids on the tank, they're not visible. They draw room air through the gap at the top of the back of the tank. The wiring goes to a little plastic box under the stand that has two switches on it, and the fans can be independently controlled. The cord from the switchbox plugs into the same timer as the lights--so the fan (or fans) only come on when the lights are on. With one fan on, the temp stays at about 79.5 to 80. If it gets hotter this summer, both fans can be turned on, and the heater (set to 79) keeps the temp from dropping too much from the fans (or at night after the lights go off). The whole setup is keeping the temp within a 1 to 1 1/2 degree range. <Very good> Also, I sent a message last week about red "hair" looking stuff. That was waste from the bubble coral. I fed it again this weekend--the next day, it started purging the waste--and that's what it was. (I managed to scoop most of it up with a net and remove it from the tank.) So no BGA. <Good> Hope you had a nice weekend. Thanks for your patience and responsiveness. James A. Deets <And you for your friendship and caring endeavors. Kia orana. Bob Fenner>

Parasites? Fungus? OK--always something to learn, sometimes the hard way. As I mentioned in my email earlier today, I just scoured the WWM site today and read all about quarantining new fish. Unfortunately, I didn't read enough a few weeks ago before I started adding livestock, and added three tangs last weekend--two medium yellow tangs and a small Red Sea purple tang. No freshwater dip or QT time before putting them in the main tank. <How could I make this information more accessible? What is it about human nature that the industry waxes and wanes on providing these simple prophylactic practices? Think of how many organisms unnecessarily lost... and the turnover in hobbyist/customers... > The yellow tangs look fine. I've increased their feeding to once per day, as their stomach areas were looking a little thin. Other than that, they seem pretty good. <Feed them more frequently still... in the wild are almost constantly scavenging, searching for greens, aufwuchs...> The purple, on the other hand, has a small white spot, about the size of a pinhead, on the right side of his upper "lip". Also, when he lowers the fins on his underside, his abdomen is white where his fins lay against it. He also likes to rub against the rocks--he's been "skipping" against the rocks since day one. I'm relatively certain he's got something that needs to be dealt with, but I'm not quite sure what it is or how to treat it. Kind of like new parents with a sick child for the first time. <Doesn't sound like a parasitic protozoan problem... not much at least, yet...> What does this sound like, and how should I treat it? (Looks like my fan/ventilation project might have just gotten supplanted with setting up a QT tank this weekend. . .) <Good on the last count... on the treatment front, add/soak their food (including some oriental food store sheet algae) in Selcon (vitamin mix) for five ten minutes, and consider adding Gobiosoma gobies or Cleaner Shrimp... you know where the explanations, expansions on these ideas are to be found. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help. James Deets

Purple tang, ozone Q's Dear Bob, I have a few question for you. first, why every time I purchase a purple tang they will develop white spot for few days and then go off since I kept marine for 16 years? <General stress> Now I have a purple tang 1.8 inch , Asfur angel 2 inch and 2 flame hawk in my 190g f/o tank running with ozone with controller set at 350mv at 10mg/l and u/v only on at 0100am to 6am daily. <I'd leave the UV on permanently... much more effective> Will the purple tang pass those white spot to the Asfur since I experience purple tang white spot only occur for 2 - 3 days and then goes off? <Too likely, yes. Do you have a dip, quarantine procedure for new fish livestock? You should. Please read over these topics on the marine index of the site: www.wetwebmedia.com> will u/v burn off the slime on fishes? <Not practically... some UV's are powerful enough to produce ozone in sufficient quantity to raise Redox to this point... but rare... not in your case> can I set my ozone to 25 or 40 mg/l base on the fishes I indicated above and my tank is 72" x 24"x 30" and sump at 36" x18" x 18" ? thank bob and wish you and all fish lovers a HAPPY NEW YEAR <Hmmm, milligrams per liter? Per how much time? If all your ozone source produces is a few hundred milligrams of 03 per hour total, no problems... Bob Fenner>

Purple Tangs I just purchased a Purple Tang (med) three days ago. I have not seen him eat  since the introduction to my tank. I have tried frozen, and live Brine, as  well as flake and algae sheets....Should I be worried or what should I try next....Thanks for your help. Jay Farley <<Do you have live rock in this system? It's probably nibbling bits of life from there... I wouldn't worry unless the animal was obviously getting thinner. Bob Fenner>>

Tang Hi, I recently purchased a small Purple Tang to add to my 46 gallon reef tank. The  tank has a protein skimmer and good water movement throughout the  tank (powerheads). The fish eats well, I feed a variety of foods formula  2,lifeline,reef flakes, brine shrimp). The problem is that in the late evening  about 2 hours before the lights go out, it gets white dots on his body and  fins. It looks like marine ich when the lights come on in the morning, the  dots are gone, but he left with small blotches where the dots were. Any  ideas? The water quality is good. <<May be stress coloration... or just natural markings... or a latent infestation of ich... Do you have a biological cleaner, like a Lysmata shrimp? You might consider one of these for your tank... Otherwise, just keep your eyes on your Tang for signs the condition might be worsening. Bob Fenner>>

Quarantine Tank After all this reading, I went out and bought a 20 gallon quarantine tank with small power head, heater and light (off most of the time) for my incoming Purple Tang, Kole Tang, Lawnmower Blenny, and Banded Goby. I bought a piece of cured live rock (been in the LFS store for weeks), and set it up in my garage with water from my main tank(75). I dipped everything in buffered freshwater with Methylene for 15 minutes. The Purple Tang came down with ich 2 days later, so I dipped him again, lowered salinity to 17 over two days, and raised my temperature to 82. None of this seemed to help so I removed the live rock, and put copper in the tank. This started to help but then my big fear came to reality. My ammonia shot up, even though I only fed a small pinch of flake food every other day. 25% water changes didn't seem to help much. Not wanting to kill all these fish, I figured my reef is in great shape and moved everything in there after a buffered freshwater dip. All the fish but that Purple are doing good, although the Kole spends all his time hiding. I've been lowering the  salinity of my reef from 26 to 17 and raised my temp to 84. He doesn't show as much ich but now he shows more like powdery splotches, and he has a kind of spastic behavior next to the glass on one side of the tank. Now what do I do? How could I have kept the ammonia from shooting up when I put in the copper and removed the live rock? Thanks! Marty Wigder <<As far as I know, you did most everything "right"... the ammonia spike might have been skipped or reduced by having more cultured filter media... or dumping, refilling the quarantine tank from your main tank... At this point, I would add a Lysmata Cleaner shrimp... and hope for the best for the Purple Tang...Much more handling/manipulation is probably going to be more deleterious at this point than helpful. Bob Fenner, who might actually "copper treat" all Purple Tangs on arrival from now on... after hearing this account.>>

Purple tang I have a 55 gallon tank with live rock. I have a majestic angel, potters angel Percula clown, purple Firefish and a purple tang. The tang has just come down with little white spots. It does not look like Ich, but the spots are kind of cottony looking spots. I have had this fish for about 7 mths now. I have a wet dry filter (sea life system) and a power head. We had just moved and the tank has been set up for about 3 weeks now and everything was going good. The tang is still very active and is eating good. Any thoughts on this? Should I treat the tank?  Thank You, Larry from Tampa  <<A few... this may well be some sort of latent external parasite that has surfaced from the stress of the move... At this point I would: Lower the specific gravity of the system to 1.018. Raise the temperature to about 83F. And add a single or couple of Cleaner Shrimp of the genus Lysmata... And hold off and see if this "does it"... if not, ring me back. Bob Fenner>>

Purple Tang "Ich" I bought a small Purple Tang through Flying Fish. When I received the Tang  he was alive and very alert, he altogether displayed no signs of illness.  Upon releasing him into the tank, he swam over to the algae covered rocks and  started to dine. I thought this was an excellent sign that he was in great  shape. However, after getting up the next morning and turning on the  aquarium light he was covered in white spots. In reading our marine aquarist  manual, we figured that he has developed Ich as a stress reaction of some  sort. Is there a way to treat his Ich without removing him into a quarantine  tank? We have live rock, some corals and a few invertebrates and the helper  at the local fish store stated that anything he has to treat the Ich would  have effects on the reef and the di-nitrifying bacteria.  <<The fellow at the local shop is right... you can't effectively treat the Tang in place... If you are fortunate, and the infestation is not too virulent, you may have success at doing the following:  1) Lower the specific gravity of your water to 1.018 2) Raise the water temperature to 84F. (for this species) 3) Add some biological cleaners... My fave are Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) and/or Gobiosoma gobies. And if the spots don't go away, or your other fish livestock take ill, you should move them to a separate hospital/quarantine system... which you really should set up and operate as standard operating procedure.... And if you want my ideas on these topics in detail, please see the articles posted at www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>>

Purple Tang with HLLE I purchased a purple tang about three weeks ago that has some Head and Lateral Line Erosion. I am feeding Ocean Nutrition Flakes, formula 1 & 2, Ocean Nutrition frozen cubes (the meaty one, not the green one) and try to always have a sheet of algae in there for the tangs to graze on. Is this diet good enough to clear up the problem, and should I expect it to completely go away? <<A bunch of factors need to be considered, optimized in the animals favor to ward off, repair such a condition: If the animal has a "good" genetic and developmental background (not thrashed in collection, handling, shipping), and you can provide an optimized and stable environment, and supply it with proper nutrition.... The water quality question is probably number two in the "hit parade" of failures with HLLE.... and is most easily improved with the use live rock, macro-algae, and best: mud/muck and Caulerpa algae with lighted sump/filter... The nutrition part of the equation... I would augment what you're doing with application of aqueous vitamins and iodine... just put this on the fishes food ahead of offering it... There are advocates of "other" causes in these matters, stray electrical potential, protozoan involvements (Octamita necatrix, aka Hexamita)... and more... ignore these.... they are not the root cause(s) of your fish's complaint. Bob Fenner>>

Purple & Yellow Tang Would a purple tang get along with my yellow tang in a  75 gallon tank, or am I asking for trouble? Thanks. <<I'd give you good odds they would learn to get along... their might be some "jousting" from time to time (especially initially), but your order of introduction is right... and they should do fine. Bob Fenner>>

Purple Tang Bob, I recently purchased a purple tang. It arrived healthy, however it died the next morning. I received a replacement, which lived for a month. Both fish appeared healthy. The second one was swimming great one minute, the next it was on the bottom, one eye sunk into its head the other eye bulging out of its socket. It couldn't swim, I froze it. All water levels were fine. Is it possible these fish were caught using cyanide? None of my other fish exhibited any signs of problems. Thanks, Jeff <<Yikes... very frightening... And though I've heard of rumours ("Philippine divers collecting livestock in the Red Sea... usually Saudi Arabia... using cyanide"... News at 11:00!), I really doubt these... Know a bit of the areas involved and the hearts/minds of the "powers that be" in the countries bordering this Zebrasoma's distribution... and this practice would be dealt with quickly...  Suspect you're the victim of a tremendous bad coincidence... most Purple tangs are great on arrival... very few DOA's... but maybe you received two badly handled specimens...  Bob Fenner, still a big Purple Tang fan>>

Purple Tang Bob, I have a Purple Tang in my reef tank that in the last couple of days  has developed white lips. He has been in my system for about three months  with no apparent problems. All critical water parameters seem to be correct.  What could this be? And what should I do if anything? <<Hmmm, well, I'm inclined to accept that "it" may be nothing other than normal color, or a rub-effect from the animal feeding on what you have in the tank... or swiping one of your sugar donuts when you're having your java in the AM (just joking to the last)... but I'd do nothing if the Tang is fine otherwise... Bob Fenner who wishes we were diving in the Red Sea right now, so I could point out some of these Zebrasoma that show this "white lip" condition on the reef...>>  

Rule of thumb on tangs? Mr. Fenner: I went out on a limb purchased a Purple Tang from the display tank of my dealer where it has been kept with another yellow tang for nearly one year now. I have been admiring this tang in the tank since I began researching the hobby and the store owner agreed to sell it to me today. Unfortunately, to my dismay, when I brought the tang home and placed the bag in the tank, my yellow tang immediately began swiping the bag with its tail and acting very aggressive towards the fish in the bag. Both fish are of nearly equal size. I currently have the purple in a quarantine tank but am afraid that when I add it to the display tank, my yellow will be aggressive towards it. Do you think I should see if I can return the tang to the dealer? Does this behavior sometimes subside? I would certainly hate to endanger either one of these beautiful fish by placing them in a situation where they will pester each other to death. I truly appreciate your advice and the time you have spent responding to my questions. I look forward to hearing your wisdom on this situation. Thank you, Jason <<Hmmm, don't know about the wisdom bit, but here's my take on the possibility. Try the Purple one more time... after leaving the lights on your system for twenty four hours straight (won't hurt anything) and moving a good deal of the "decor", live rock about... this will disorient the Yellow which may still "joust" then and occasionally (i.e. ongoing), but unless you see real damage, don't be too concerned. Similar sizes, shapes, resource utilization in tangs (and other fishes) result in these agonistic displays... Bob Fenner>>

Purple Tang Night Coloring My new Purple Tang adopts a different color at night.... pale, almost whitish with a even lighter splotch in the middle of his stomach, I thought this was normal but my Sailfin seems unaffected, is this normal

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
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