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FAQs about Purple Tangs 3

Related Articles: Purple Tangs, Zebrasoma Tangs, Yellow Tangs

Related FAQs: Purple Tangs 1, Purple Tangs 2, 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,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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

Purple tang growth rate discrepancy     1/6/19
Hi Bob, if you don’t answer fish questions on FB feel free to ignore this, I enjoy being your friend so I can see all your excellent dive photos.
<Hey Bri; better to do such here; easier to refer, share, archive>
Basically, I just find this situation interesting, non-urgent, and somewhat unusual (meaning few folks have any insight). I’ve had two purple tangs in a 130 gallon tank for about a year. They typically shoal and coexist peacefully (for the time being). They both eat and are always out and about, but one is clearly dominant and one is clearly submissive, and this has been a constant dynamic.
<Yes; to be expected. See this in the wild and captivity>
What’s interesting is that over the past year or so I’ve had them they’ve gone from roughly the same size to the dominant one being perhaps 3 times larger than the other now.
<This also>
What’s even stranger is they both eat like pigs everyday, the smaller one is not being prevented from eating in anyway. I wonder if it could be due to gender, or chronic low level stress, or maybe some kind of health problem, or a combination of factors, but so far I can’t solve it, and the difference seems to be continuing to increase.
<"Stress" is the best term here. The dominant one affecting the play of hormones through nervous expression here>
So I essence, I was wondering if in your experience this is a thing that happens?
<Oh yes>
I know that purple tangs are sexual dimorphic, in so far as ultimate size, but I didn’t expect it to manifest this quickly or to this extent. I figured I’d see if you felt I needed to intervene in some way (remove one or remove one and treat in some fashion), of if you had other thoughts.
<Mmm; well, both can stay here... but, the smaller one would grow much more, faster if placed in a system where it's the solo Zebrasoma>
Alright man, keep up the awesome diving!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Tail-less Tang 6/21/09
Hi Crew,
<Hi Sara,>
I just have to share these pics of the tail-less Tang from Santa Ana.
<And from such stuff does natural selection operate...>
Oddly enough, this tang doesn't seem to have much (or any) trouble swimming...
<The infinite variety of life... but it does appear to be lacking its 'scalpels', so presumably in the wild it might be less able to defend itself than otherwise...?>
Sara M.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Author, author!  3/31/07 Hi Bob, I was wondering if you wrote "Functional and Gorgeous: Purple Tangs, Zebrasoma xanthurum" or if you could tell me who did? I need to know because I'm doing a research project on Purple Tangs. <I am the author of this piece. Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang Question  11/24/05 Last week I came home from work only to find my prize purple tang stuck on a power head. <Something going on...> I immediately dislodged him and he scurried behind my rockwork, About three days later he finally came out of hiding but I noted a white ring on the base of his body where he had been attached to the powerhead. Over the last week he appeared fine, resumed eating and swimming all over the tank. Today I noted that his bottom fin and a small portion of his body has turned completely white. I'm not sure what's going on. His behavior has not changed and his appetite is good. I fed him some garlic soaked Spirulina flake. Is there anything else I should be doing?                                                            Thanks, Bill <Likely so. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/z_xanthurum.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Purple tang I have read through your faq's on purple tangs and I found one that relates to my problem, but I have a few other questions. I recently moved my purple tang from qt to my 55 gallon. His other tankmates were a blue damsel, lemon damsel, yellowtail blue damsel and a gold striped maroon clown. My question is that today I noticed my clown on the bottom of the tank with all of his fins chewed badly. From what I have read, it was probably the tang. My question is that I have the clown in the qt tank now so that his fins can heal but will I ever be able to reintroduce him into the tank or will he just get beat up again? <In this size, shape, kind system, very likely it will never get along with this Tang> Also, would adding an anemone help him when I add him back in? The 55 is soon to be a 135 gallon in a few months, so would I have a better chance of just keeping the clown in qt until the move? Thanks for all of you help,  Deanna <I would wait on all till you have the larger system... then place the tang in a floating colander of size (plastic, for draining pasta normally) and keep it there, separated from the Clown for a week or so... and read re anemones...: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm  Much to understand, go wrong...  Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang  <Hi Mike> I was wondering if you have ever come across a Purple Tang that swims very aggressively especially when the lights dim. I just recently added a Foxface to my tank (could that be the issue ). The tang will swim very aggressively from the top of the tank and dive toward a clam then he swims backwards the entire length of the tank. the fish eats well and the water parameters are fine. He has no other symptoms that can be seen only this erratic behavior.<Sounds like the tang is just establishing that he is the head cheese.  James (Salty Dog).>Thanks...Mike

Adding a new fish with a purple tang Hi, guys...<Hi Ralph, MacL here with you today.> I have to make a difficult stocking decision, and am compelled to go to the "Go-To" guys again; you've been extremely helpful in the past, which I deeply appreciate. <Very kind of you to say.>  You guys are a wonderful resource.  At the risk of trying your patience, I think it's necessary to first give you a bit of background information: <Never the background stuff helps.> I have a one-year old 140 gallon reef tank, in which I've had some problems off and on (virtually no problems in my previous tank, a 65-gallon, but that's another story).  I have finally gotten rid of a nasty hair algae problem, and my corals are now doing very well (i.e., Xenia, Scolymia, trumpet, fingers and mushrooms, cup, polyps, hammer, even a recently-added elegance). <Very nice from the picture.>  Water temp is held constant by a chiller and heater, at 76-77, and the EuroReef skimmer and frequent water changes, sand vacuuming, etc are keeping the water quality quite good.  In short, the inhabitants are happy now. <Great.> One strange problem I had about 4-5 months ago was that something occurred that resulted in the death of most of my fish.  I researched this extensively (including asking you guys, among other fish experts), but nobody could come up with a reason for this tragedy.  Victims included a royal Gramma, percula clown, Kole tang and yellow Midas goby, each of which had been happy for over a year (including the prior tank from which they came).  These fish died within three weeks of each other.  The only survivors (besides the corals) were a large purple tang and three small sapphire Chromis, and a shrimp and purple clam. <Did you ever find out why? Have even a clue? Was it some type of major fluctuation? Some type of parasite? Some type of poisoning?>  The only coral to be affected was the Xenia, which almost died off entirely, but has come back very strong, and is thriving now. <Xenia are sensitive to ph as I recall.> Since then, I have added only a few corals, crabs, starfish and snails -- and a couple of gobies (one of which is a mandarin...OK, I know, these are very hard to keep), all to help out with the hair algae.  All of these critters have been doing well for the past 4-5 months (though the Mandarin is still fairly recent). <Great, as long as the mandarin has a large selection of pods he will do fine and since you have such a huge amount of live rock in there that should be plentiful.> Sorry for that long preamble; just wanted to get you most of the relevant facts.  Now, here are my questions:   Is it too early to begin to think about adding a couple of fish?  Is it likely that the water quality is sufficiently acceptable (still don't know what killed those fish 4-5 months ago)?  <I would think you could add another fish easily. The big thing is to quarantine if you can and to watch the new fish closely to make sure that if it was something like a parasite it won't attack him. Often, and let me make sure and say this is in MY experience, I have seen fish in a tank get ich, recover and the ich be gone yet basically the fish have developed an immunity to the ich unless they get stressed. But new fish will not have that immunity and will end up with a big problem. That is not to say that is what happened before but just to guide you in what to look for.> If I added a true percula, would the purple tang go after him? <Size and body shape wise the tang should not bother him however if the tang has been by himself he has likely become very territorial and that could be a big problem. You may need to do some rearranging to get it to work. Often the rearranging end the territorial problem.> Would it be advisable to add an anemone, perhaps a rose anemone, at the same time to provide the percula (or other clown) with a hiding place in case the tang chases him around?  <If you have the right lighting the anemone might be a possibility but you need to make sure your fish will work with that particular type of anemone. My percula's didn't like bubble tips.> Would there be other fish that the purple tang (who's pretty much had the entire tank to himself) would be less likely to beat up on?  He has been fairly aggressive in the past. <Honestly no, if he's territorial, he is territorial and the only way to help with that is to rearrange when you add another fish. And PLEASE NOTE, I ONLY SAY THIS BECAUSE YOU HAVE A FAIRLY LARGE TANK, sometimes it works to add two fish at once so the one doesn't take the total beating.> Or should I hold off on adding any fish for another month or two? <For health's sake you might want to wait but the territoriality won't change in that time.> Any other suggestions? Thanks much, guys, and have a wonderful Holiday Season. <Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukah and any other holiday out there. MacL> Best, Ralph (Block) Hi, guys...<Hi Ralph, MacL here with you. Long letter in reply to your first one to come shortly. But thanks for they picture they always help.> just sent you a long letter asking about stocking, involving the purple tang etc.  I realized that you might get a better perspective with a picture, which I have attached.  Thanks again! Best,
Ralph (Block)

Purple tang with fading belly Hi Crew,<Hi Dan, MacL here with you tonight> How's everybody in the WWM world? <Can't speak for everyone but I'm beat, its been a long day lol>  I have a purple tang 3.5 inches in my 50G with my 1 yr old. blackback butterfly getting ready for release in my 8x2x2 has been running now for almost 3 months! <Very nice sized tank, I am envious>  still empty! and YES! I cannot wait to start stocking woohooo! I bought this guy 6 weeks ago, 4 weeks in quarantine. <Fantastic> It was on sale for AU$99 normal price is $150 good deal?. <Honestly I am not familiar with Aussie prices but from what I understand that's about par> I put sheets of Nori twice a day and he is eating well. Angel formula, Bloodworms, Marine greens, Fresh mussels once a week. <Great, especially with the Nori, they are a grazing fish and they need their greens.> There is good amount of live rocks sorry I lost track of how much I have. Question, He is deeply purpled except for the belly underneath it looks faded. Is this normal? <Its something seen on a lot of tangs. I can tell you that mine are a bright purple over all, including on their stomach. One thing I can recommend is that you might want to add some vitamins, like Selcon or Zo?or something similar.> or is it nutritional deficiency. <I can't imagine it would be with the Nori you are feeing it> It cant be the water, everything was tested fine. <Fine is hard to define. One thing tangs do need is a lot of oxygenation in their tank, lots of oxygen exchange.> I do weekly 5% water change. I am planning on releasing the butterfly first settle in for two weeks I am putting 7 butterflies in total. <Adding all those butterflies into a tank might be a problem unless they are schooling butterflies, but I'm sure you have done your research on that> All hardy picks from Bob's list then I will place the purple last.  <Probably good idea because they tend to be aggressive> Thank you again for your time. Wish you all the best!!! <So kind of you Dan, please let us know how it goes!> Regards Dan

One Eyed Wonder! (Purple Tang With A Missing Eye) Hi! <Hey there! Scott F. with you tonight!> I have a  few concerns with my reef aquarium that I hope you can help me with. I'm addressing everything I'm not sure about here at once, so I hope it's not too long!!! <I've got a large Thai Iced Tea, so no problem...> The first is about my Purple Tang. It lost one of it's eyes to injury 5 days ago (eye completely gone leaving empty socket), and as soon as one of it's tank mates, a Lunar Wrasse, realized it was injured, it started harassing, sometimes attacking the Tang. <An unfortunate, but common behavior> This Wrasse has killed weakened tank-mates before and has proven itself to be a pest in general (although very entertaining with lots of personality any other time! Sad to see it go.... had it for 2 years), so the next day it had to be caught & taken back to the shop, which was not an easy task and involved dismantling half of the reef to catch! <never a fun thing to do, but sometimes necessary under such circumstances> Needless to say, this was very stressful for the injured Tang. But it was the only way to salvage it that I could think of.  It is now starting to recover and trying to finding it's way around etc. <That's nice to hear> It was showing a bit of a pop-eye in the one remaining after being beaten around, but this has now been gone for 2 days. <Usually, this condition will clear up on its own, given nice clean water conditions. Or, you can utilize Epsom salts to help reduce the swelling> The problem I have now, is that it does not seem to be able to find the food I put in the tank, and when it does see some, misses when it goes to catch it. I feed 'Sea Veggies', frozen shrimp with greens, and 'spectrum' pellets when in a rush. I've tried tearing up lettuce and taking it down to the Tang with tongs, but it is too afraid to approach (and I don't think it likes lettuce much anyway...). <Lettuce and "terrestrial" greens are really not good choices for tangs, IMO.> Do you have any feeding suggestions I could try? <Get some of my favorite macroalgae, Gracilaria parvispora, AKA "Ogo" or "Tang Heaven". You can order this awesome algae directly from Indo Pacific Sea Farms on line> I have been dosing with 'Melafix' (a eucalyptus antibacterial) to avoid infection. All seems good so far, but I am wondering how long the eye should take to heal over, and what it will actually look like when it does. That is, will it just have a membrane-like growth over the cavity or should the scales join up? <Hard to say, really. Usually, there is membrane over the injury, as opposed to scales. It probably depends upon where the injury occurred> I'd like to know what to expect so I know when it is completely healed. This Tang often had little pieces nipped out of it's fins, but they have always grown back within a week, and I think it was in good health before it's injury. I hope I am right! <If it was in good shape before the injury, odds are that it can make a reasonably good recovery> FYI- tank is 4 ft, has been running for about 3 years, with corals ( I really don't know which ones, but both hard and soft) for 2 years. I have an Aquaclear 500 filter and Cosmo 2000 powerhead (no skimmer, I change 25% fortnightly using RO topups), 2 white & 2 actinic blue globes for lighting. Water parameters all normal, Ca- 425 ppm, pH- 8.1, Alkalinity- 3.5, Ammonia, Nitrites & Nitrates zero (although probably more right now since stirring up the substrate while moving the rocks around, I haven't checked since! I know, I am bad... will change water in 2days anyway), Phosphate- 2ppm, am still working on this, using SeaChem PhosGuard. <Don't forget quality source water, aggressive skimming, and regular use of activated carbon!> Remaining tankmates are only 1 Pacific Blue Tang and a Percula Clown, plus various snails/ little crabs. I know there is a Pistol Shrimp, and judging by all the noise I think there is a Mantis in there also, which I am trying to catch. I am not sure how to tell the difference between mantis clicks & pistol clicks though. <Not sure myself!> I have seen the pistol's claws once so I know what that one is, but never seen the other/s (there may be many others all clicking at once- I really don't know!) in all the years I have been hearing it! Plus, I have only ever 'lost' one damsel over a year ago, so that makes me a bit suspicious, too. They live at opposite ends of the reef and one will only click once or twice at a time, the other/s will click up to 6 times in short succession. Is there any way to identify without seeing? <Not to my knowledge...> I'm trying to catch them using a water bottle with a tube in the end & bait inside the bottle, since one of them broke the trap I bought previously... <Smart little buggers, huh?> Am getting a little nervous having them around my disabled fish now! Any baiting ideas you have would be much appreciated. <Check out this link: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm  > Anyway, that's it! Apologies for writing you a novel to get through! Thanks very much for taking the time to read, and I really appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks again!!! Bye! Emma <My pleasure, Emma! I may not have been able to give you the exact answers to your questions, but I hope I was able to get you headed in the right direction. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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