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FAQs about the Sohal Tang 1

Related Articles: Sohal Surgeonfish, Genus AcanthurusNaso

Related FAQs:  Sohal Tangs 2, & FAQs on: Sohal Tang IdentificationSohal Tang Behavior, Sohal Tang Compatibility, Sohal Tang Selection, Sohal Tang Systems, Sohal Tang Feeding, Sohal Tang Disease, Sohal Tang Reproduction, & AcanthurusAcanthurus Tangs 2Acanthurus Tangs 3, Acanthurus ID, Acanthurus Behavior, Acanthurus Compatibility, Acanthurus Selection, Acanthurus Systems, Acanthurus Feeding, Acanthurus Disease, Acanthurus Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Tang ID, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease,

A near adult Sohal in captivity.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sohal tang distraction Do I have room for a Sohal Tang? 7/30/08 Hello <<Guten Morgen.>> First let me say that I love what you all are doing with how the site works. <<Thanks.>> Second, let me describe my set up for you all, I have a 135 glass tank with 250 pounds of life rock in the tank and 150 pounds of live sand in the sand, a 55 gallon sump, I have a 10 gallon tank in there filled with live sand as well, which acts as my remote deep sand bed. Then a 20 or so gallon refugium with another 75 pounds of live rock, and a Deltec AOF 600. With a return pump back to the tank. For water movement I have 4 number Koralia 4's. Fish wise I have a pair of clowns one is a black saddle back the female and the male is a false Perc. (I know weird. 5 Chromis, a yellow tang, blue tang, clown tang, powder blue tang, a 6-line wrasse. I am planning on adding a green mandarin eventually, <<I would refrain from doing so.>> a Moorish idol, and a desjardini sailfin tang. (I know a ridiculous amount of fish especially tangs.) But if I added a Sohal tang (small like 3 or 4 inches) last would the overwhelming number of tangs and fish prevent it from picking on a single fish by its self? <<You, your quote, have a "ridiculous amount of fish." Not only do you have animals that should not be housed with each other but you are doing so in an environment that is way too small. I think you have answered your own question as to if you should add any more animals to this set-up. On the contrary you should be looking for homes for several of them.>> Thanks in advance! <<Good luck; Adam J.>>

Acanthurus sohal / Paracentropyge multifasciata compatibility   12/9/07 Dear WWM-Crew, <Alexander> I would like to thank you for answering my question on magnesium supplements a while ago. Now I have another question regarding something completely different - stocking my new tank... I have a new 205 gallon reef tank (total system is a bit more than 250 gallons) set up recently and am now doing a bit of planning regarding my livestock. I do intend to get a pair/small harem of Paracentropyge multifasciata (Multibarred Angelfish), a Pseudocheilinus hexataenia (Sixline Wrasse) and one or two pairs of Gobiosoma evelynae (Sharknose Goby). My intention is to see the social/courtship/spawning behaviour of the gobies and the angelfish (although I will not try the almost impossible, i.e. raising dwarf angelfish). <Mmm, okay... though I feel compelled to state that many Centropyge are being produced nowadays through aquarium aquaculture... See the name Frank Baensch here in Hawaii> My question would be if it would be possible to add an A. sohal to this kind of livestock? <Mmmm, I would not do this, nor encourage you to... out of a sense that the Sohal would become too much of a/the alpha fish here... likely bully (or seem to) these other much more easygoing fish choices... I would look to other Acanthurids... perhaps of the genera Zebrasoma, Ctenochaetus, even other smaller, easier-going Acanthurus... instead> My concern would be that the angelfish would very much be dominated by the tang. <I agree, share this concern> I know it is an aggressive fish but it surely is one of the most beautiful fish available (should maybe be named Acanthurus pyxispandorae / Pandora's Box Tang) <Ahh!> and I would love to have it in my tank. Would it make sense/be ethical to maybe add some other fish (tangs/wrasses/anything annoying enough) to get the A. Sohal's attention away from the angelfish or would maybe the wrasse get most of his attention anyway (being striped horizontally like the tang and swimming around all the time)? <Might work... but... then again...> Do you think this is worth a try or is it downright impossible? Thank you in advance & best wishes, Alex <IMO/E, not worth the probable outcome. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Acanthurus sohal / Paracentropyge multifasciata compatibility   12/9/07
Dear Bob, thank you for your quick answer. I see that the concerns I had are pretty much the same as yours and it was important for me to get your opinion. So I will not experiment with the peace in the tank and go with a Ctenochaetus or maybe an Acanthurus coeruleus. <Ahh, good> Best wishes, thank you again, Alex <Thank you for sharing Alex. BobF>

Is a Sohal compatible...   11/30/07 Hey I've been reading the info on your site and I think it is very informative. I was wondering if I could get a Sohal Tang in with my Yellow Tang (3.5 inches) and my Naso Tang (9 inches) and a flame angel (3 inches). I also have 3 cleaner shrimp one candy cane shrimp, and a fire shrimp, 6 engineer gobies and 3 starfish and 2 puffers a white spot puffer and a Valentini puffer. I am mainly concerned that the sohal will fight with my Naso tang or yellow tang and I don't want that to happen and I also wanted to add a magnificent rabbit fish to my tank (my tank is 125 gallons) do you think the sohal tang will fight my Naso? <The Sohal will become the alpha fish here, and may well fight with the other Acanthuroids... I would not place this fish unless this tank was eight feet long plus... a few hundred gallons. There is a small chance that it would "get along" if started relatively small (under four inches), but not enough to interest me. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stocking An Angel... Now, Sohal Tang, comp.    8/18/07 Related to our previous discussions... I was doing some more reading. Perhaps instead of a Hippo Tang in my 200gallon tank as discussed below... Would a Sohal Tang also work? <Mmm, might be too aggressive in time... if added, this should be the last fish> I've read that they are perhaps one of the more aggressive tangs? <Yes> I had a personality conflict with a Yellow Hawaiian Tang and my current inhabitants earlier this year. Or, perhaps a Sohal Tang would be better in my 90 gallon reef tank (two perculas, yellow watchman, yellow headed Jawfish, royal Gramma, yellow-tailed damsel, shrimps, stars, crabs) since no other fish would be close to it's size... And It could "Rule The Roost" so to speak? <A ninety is too small for this species IMO> In your opinion, would the Sohal be better suited as a tankmate to my smaller peaceful fish in a reef tank with lots of palatable algae growth? Or my 200gallon FOWLR with the larger fish? David Brynlund <The latter for sure. BobF>

Dead Sohal - 06/08/07 Hi Crew <Wayne> Well, I'm sad to say that my Sohal died the other day. It was so fast and sudden, that I'm concerned about the health its tankmates. I've attached a pic. I'm hoping you can help diagnose what killed my Sohal. <Does look like something beat it...> Tuesday morning he was behaving and eating normally... by noon he had this big swollen "welt" on his left side. The welt looked like the surface of a Qtip, it was white, and was the size of a tic-tac. There were small "fibers" sticking out, and I could see his stripes underneath. I don't think it was a wound from a scuffle with other fish, as there appeared to be no missing flesh. The whole time he was breathing heavily, and just stayed in 1 spot from noon all the way until 7am Wed morning. In the morning I noticed the welt was now on his right side also. Couldn't do much then, I had to hit the road for work. I received a phone call from my wife at 10am saying the fish was dead. He was QT'd for 8weeks. He had an issue with Ich, treated with copper and was placed in the tank after 3 weeks of Ich free symptoms. I didn't wait the entire 6 weeks, because I was concerned about his prolonged stay in the inconsistent conditions of the QT he was in. It was a gamble that several people suggested was the right thing to do. <Yes... I would have done the same> He went about 4 weeks in our display before he died on Wed. Everything seemed great while he was in the display. He was being fed Angel formula, Formula 2, Nori and Mysis Shrimp. all were soaked in Kent Zoe prior to feeding. I'm good about water quality. I do 30 gal water changes every week with RODI water that's properly prepared. Nitrates/nitrites/ammonia are 0, PH 8.3, Spg, 1.026, temp 80 +/- .5. There was little aggression in the tank which is a 210, with 250lbs of LR. He went from fine to dead in less than 24 hrs. Do you have any ideas what killed my fish? After reading your article on disease, I'm thinking some kind of Fungal infection? <Nah... such virulent fungal infections are extremely rare... the circumstances would wipe out the other fish life> Should I be hospitalizing all my fish (9" Volitans Lion, <This is likely "it"... the fish was/got "poked"...> 1" Yellowtail Damsel, 4" Emperor Angel, and 5" Harlequin Tusk). So far, all other fish look normal. Thanks for your help. Wayne <Again... appears to be resultant from a severe physical trauma... I strongly suspect a run-in with the Lion. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dead Sohal - 6/8/07 <Wayne> Thanks Bob for your prompt reply. Several people on Reefcentral also lean towards a fender bender with the Lionfish. I appreciate your help. <Welcome> I'm seriously contemplating on trying a Sohal again. This time, I'd like to offer a better QT environment. He was in a 30gal QT before, with a Penguin 330 BioWheel filter. This filter runs in combination with a sponge, which I had in my sump for 8 weeks prior. Even with the well seeded sponge, I still could not keep ammonia and nitrites under control. I had to do 50% water changes daily, sometimes more to keep ammonia below .25. <Mmm, yes... a highly metabolic species> What should be my QT strategy for a Sohal? Should this fish be QT'd at all? I have a 40 gal tank I can use. <Good to isolate for a week or two... chance of avoiding parasites... and giving the specimen a rest from the rigors of collection, transport, handling...> Wayne Shen Northeast Sales Manager <Bob Fenner, Pet-fish Kind of Guy>

Sohal Addition? - 5/4/07 Hi. <Hello.> Joe here. <Adam on this end.> Just wanted to say love your site. <Me too! ...but thanks.> Very informative and appreciate the time you guys spend answering questions. Thanks. <No, thank you for the compliments.> Ok on to my question. <Of course.> I'm thinking of adding a Sohal tang to my 220 gallon (72x24x30)with 75 sump(150 lbs of live rock). The current tank mate are a 14 inch Coral cat Shark, 8" lion (Volitans),12 inch snowflake eel and 3 tangs all about 6 inches (Naso ,yellow and hippo). <Mmm...the existing surgeons fish have me worried...and the future aggression of the cat-shark as well, have seen them attack and consume fish twice their size.> I would like to add a small Sohal around 4-6 inches do you see any problems with aggression towards the others? <Yes, especially with the Naso and the other Acanthurus (Hippo) tang.> If so any thing I should be on the look out for? Also in the future would like to add either an Emperor Angel or a Blue Face angel. Would you for see any problems? <I would opt for one of these, not both.> The tank is aquascaped so I  have lots of hiding caves as well as have maximum swimming room. Thank you for your time and look forward to reading your response. <Joe Sohal tangs are notoriously intolerant of other tangs even tanks of 100's to 1000's of gallons for that reason alone I can't recommend it, sorry..> Joe
<Adam J.> 

Sick Sohal help   4/21/07 Hi Crew <Wayne> I've had a 4" Sohal in QT for 2 weeks as of today.  2 days go, my wife and I noticed the tang "scratching" on a piece of PVC. <Some such behavior is "natural", to be expected> We removed the PVC to see if the tang would continue to scratch.  Needless to say it has, but this time on a piece of LR.  He now has scratches all over his body, and is breathing rapidly.  His fins look fine, and has a strong appetite.  I feed morning and noon with Formula 1 pellets, and alternate nighttime feedings with Nori (soaked in Kent Zoe), and Mysis Shrimp.   He eats all like a pig. <I would switch to a principal diet of Spectrum pellets with this species... more nutritious, calming...> The QT is a 30 gal tank, with a Penguin 330 BioWheel filter.  The tank is kept at 80 degrees +/- .5 degrees, and I do a 5 gal water change every morning.  I believe Ammonia has been zero (not 100% sure due to subtle color diff between zero and .25 on the color card) definitely not above .25, and nitrates have stayed at zero as well. I've attached the best pic of the fish I could take.  Any idea what's ailing this fish?  Should I medicate with something?  Or just sit tight and observe for now? <This latter over the former> Thanks for all your help! Wayne Any ideas as to what is ailing <Mmm, well... could be "just stress". Do you have a microscope, practice in making, examining skin scrapings? If it were my fish, given what you state, I might go ahead, do a pH-adjusted FW dip/bath... and place this specimen... Being kept in its present circumstances will not do it much good, nor would coppering it. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Sohal help   4/27/07 Hi Bob <Wayne> Thanks for you response.  It's week 3 today, and the Sohal still is all scratched up and breathing heavily.  Not much change from the email below.   I increased the water changes to 10 gal daily.  Ammonia still seems to creep up a bit, but barely from zero. He still eats plenty, and has not developed any other symptoms.  I want to make sure I understood your suggestion properly... "If it were my fish, given what you state, I might go ahead, do a pH-adjusted FW dip/bath... and place this specimen... Being kept in its present circumstances will not do it much good, nor would coppering it. ...Are you suggesting that I put the fish in my display? and get it out of QT? <Yes my friend. Sorry for the lack of clarity, direction here. I would move this fish. Bob Fenner> Thanks again - Wayne

Re: Sick Sohal help   4/30/07 What timing...after receiving your email, I was planning on moving the fish to my display in the morning.  I was shocked that in a 2 hr span, the fish could go from looking good to totally covered in white spots.   <Yeeikes!> Needless to say, this fish is now showing major symptoms of Ich.  He's totally covered in spots.  I've dosed using CopperSafe, and will go and purchase a copper test kit in the morning. A few questions. 1)  Should I dose copper until spots go away? <Needs to be treated at physiological dose/concentration for two weeks... in a treatment tank... with all other fishes> 2)  Should I keep this fish in QT for 3 weeks after the white spots go away? <... Please see WWM re... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm and the linked files above> 3)  What should I do if I wake up in the morning and all white spots are gone? <Ditto> I'm concerned that given this fishes needs for swimming space and stability in water quality, that a long term stay in QT might actually be bad for it.   <Me too> i.e....water changes, fluctuations in ammonia, lack of LR etc... <Larger quarantine, treatment tank... Bob Fenner>
Thanks - Wayne

Mixing A. lineatus and A. sohal....not gonna' have a good time  - 4/8/07 Hi guys, <Hey Wes...> I really appreciate all the time you all put into answering people's questions. <Thank you!> WWM is probably my most trusted source of online info. <A very nice compliment...thanks again.> I've been thinking about adding some tangs to my aggressive FOWLR tank. <Okay.> It's a 55g but I'm planning (in about a year) of upgrading to a 180g. <I would probably wait until then to add any surgeons. I would especially not add more than one to a system of this size...wait for the upgrade.> I'm definitely planning on getting a sohal tang <Then wait for the 180...and even then I'd be very cautious in mixing an Acanthurus sohal with another surgeon. In fact odds would be against you on this one, even in the largest of tanks.> and have been batting around the idea of getting a clown tang as well. <Together with the A. Sohal. Not a good idea my friend, not in the least bit...not advisable at all.> After reading all the info on your site, I'm beginning to suspect there's a good chance these two wouldn't get along together. <More than a good chance!> Is this true, even in a 180g? <This would be true even in a tank of double this size.  The boisterous personality of these two fish, not to mention they are con-geners would be a near disastrous mix.> Would I need to get an even bigger tank to house these guys for the long term? <Very big, one that exceeds the size of your average home aquarium, and even then my above comments would still hold true.> I really would like to have both, <It would have to be separate systems.> but if it's a flat out bad call, <These two animals have territorial issues with other tankmates, and especially other surgeons and mixing them is just not a good idea.> I'm content with sticking with just a sohal. <That would be best, but wait for the upgrade.> I'm also planning on getting an Atlantic Blue Tang (or possibly a sailfin tang) <Mmm...still not a good idea, at all...but better than the clown tang.> and a Porcupine puffer. <Too big.> Currently, my tank inhabitants are: Dogface puffer Blue-spotted grouper Snowflake Eel Bluejaw Trigger (Male) Banana Wrasse (which I'm thinking of giving back to the LFS) Two large hermit crabs <This is already far to much for a 55 gallon tank.> They're all small, about 3 to 4," except the eel of course. I realize that even in a 180g, all these fish together may be a bit of a crowd long term, <True.> but I figure I may lose one or two of them over the course of 5 or more years. If I have the good fortune of that not happening, I do realize I may need to give a couple away, which I'd be willing to do if need be. <Yes the tank is overcrowded as it is...> I'm considering returning the wrasse not for any major reason, but mainly because he's a bit too "hyper" of a fish for my tastes and also tends to hide a lot which doesn't seem normal to me for a wrasse. Maybe I'm wrong here? <Depends on the individual specimen and the personalities of those around him. He may be suffering from psychological/territorial crowding.> He also seems to pick at the hermits when he feels like. <Normal.> Thanks in advance for any advice! Wes Shive <Adam Jackson.>

Sohal Addition to Multi-Surgeon Tank   3/1/07 Hello Crew, <Hola.> hope all is well. <With you as well...>      I had a question for you guys. <No problem.> I have a 600 gallon aquarium that is 10FT long with multiple tangs which all seem to be getting along (the only real aggression is when the scopas chases the yellows which isn't very often) <Normal between cohabiting Zebrasomas...as long as no physical injuries arise, no problem.> and for my last tang I've been considering a Sohal <A gorgeous but aggressive animal.> (actually my wife is pressuring me more then anything ;) ). <I see.> I know that they can be quite aggressive but wanted to see real life experience in large tanks how would he do if being the last fish introduced, would he kill my other tangs or would he rough them up a little, <Likely the latter, but the former is also a possibility...as I'm sure you have heard there are no guarantees in marine aquaria. Your chances are increased however by the size of the aquarium and the fact that the other animals are already established. In particular I am fearful though for the "congeners" the other Acanthurus animals. If you do add a Sohal I would ass a relatively smaller animal of 3-4".> claim himself the king of the tank and leave them alone after that? <Will definitely be the "alpha" eventually.>      Fish Currently in the tank are: 6" Palani Tang (Acanthurus Dussumieri) 7" Vlamingi Tang 4" Orange Shoulder Tang 5" Powder Blue Tang 7" Desjardini Sailfin Tang Two 3" Yellow Tangs 3" Scopas Tang Mated pair of Maroon Clowns <Though a large tank, this is allot of livestock, would you be willing to part either the larger vlamingii or another Acanthurus or two?>   The Sohal in question is 5". <A little larger than I would like to see.>   Thanks. <Of course, Adam J.>

Comments on Angel vs. Angel vs. Surgeon…. Queen A, Sohal T comp.   2/20/07 Dear Crew, <Hi Chad….AJ with you this evening.> I thought I'd send in a comment on some behavior I observed when adding a 7" Queen Angel to my tank. <Okay.> My main concern when adding the Queen was my 4" Passer Angel. < A very valid concern.> I'd been looking for a large Queen Angel for a long time and pounced when I saw it. I'd seen other smaller Queens but passed because I was sure my Passer would not tolerate the addition of a similar sized Angel. <Adult Angel's usually don't tolerate the presence of other animals/fish let alone another Angel.> Well, suffice it to say, I had my fingers crossed on one hand and a net ready in the other (I have a refugium which I could've moved the Queen to if it got ugly). I was relieved to see the Passer ignore the Queen almost completely, he showed some irritation but there were no fights. <I would compare his irritation to that of a little brother, who is just biding his time until he grows up and can "thump" big brother…..he doesn't act now because it wouldn't be smart.> I'm positive the Queen's size was THE deciding factor in this. <Likely a very important factor in establishing the "alpha-role."> But to my dismay, my 4" Sohal Tang was utterly furious! <Unfortunately this is predictable behavior for the Surgeon.> He was actively chasing down and attacking the Queen. Which actually made him quite easy to catch, I simply put a net between the two and he swam right in. I tried separating them for 24 hours, didn't work, same exact reaction. <The Sohal is notoriously territorial….if they weren't…I would have one, hehe, they are beautiful fish.> So I moved the Sohal to another tank for two weeks. The other tank is only 55 gallons, he was acting strange, looked like he felt confined, so I thought I'd give it another try. > this I surmise the display is quite large.> I added the Sohal back to my main tank today and everything went smoothly. The Passer, Queen, and Sohal are all existing peacefully in my tank, at least for now. <Operative phrase being "for now" do keep an eye out.> I thought this would benefit some readers out there. <Yes, thank you for sharing.> It just goes to show that 1. nothing is guaranteed in this hobby <Agreed.> 2. heed the advice given by our friends at WWM, If you're going to take risks in compatibility, be prepared to separate if something unforeseen happens. Have an escape plan! I was glad I did. <Thanks…and planning ahead is good…impulses can really hurt you, as far as livestock goes, in this hobby.> And 3. Sohals, and fish in general can be mean! <Very True.> I just thought it was so strange that my Sohal had completely ignored EVERY other addition, and yet took on a fish twice its size. <For some reason (likely the size a factor) the Sohal felt that this addition was a threat to his dominance.> I was just glad I was prepared. If I'd thrown the Queen in and turned off the lights, I would've woken up to a very bad situation. Thanks <Thank you.> Chad <AJ.> P.S. I appreciate the work you guys/girls do for the hobby. Your web site is addictive! <Thanks again and good luck.>

Livestock question, adding Queen Angel (Holocanthus ciliaris) or Imperator Angel (Pomacanthus imperator) and a Sohal Tang (Acanthurus sohal) to a 210 gallon  2/9/07 Hello Crew! <Hello Wayne!> Thanks for offering a great service!   <You're welcome!> You guys/gals are awesome. <Thank you for your most kind (and inclusive) words.  They are appreciated!> I currently have a 210 gal FOWLR and a few softies, AquaC EV240, 55 gal Refugium/Sump, 200lbs LR, 384 watt PC lighting (getting upgrade in a few months to 1000 watt MH). <Very nice!> Current livestock: 9" Volitans Lion 2" Yellow tail Damsel 6" Harlequin Tusk Zoanthids Condy Anemone Finger leather <OK.> I want to add the following with the understanding that I will not be going to a larger system.  210 is it! <Heheee!> Next fish to add... Queen or Imperator Angel <Beautiful!> ..and then Sohal Tang <Sweet!> I know the angels and tangs can get quite large, but I've seen/read accounts of tanks smaller than mine with many more fish.   Do you think I'd be ok with this list? <I do think so.  I'm guessing you realize the Sohal can be highly territorial and a big bully, but what a fish!> Thanks again!   <Welcome!  -Mich> Wayne Re: Livestock question, adding Queen Angel (Holocanthus ciliaris) or Imperator Angel (Pomacanthus imperator) and a Sohal Tang (Acanthurus sohal) to a 210 gallon   2/10/07 Thanks Mich <You're welcome Wayne! I do realize the Sohal can be aggressive.   <I figured.> My plan was to buy him small, and add him last.   <A good plan.> Hopefully he will remember everyone one being much larger than him.   <Hopefully!> Maybe that will prevent him from bullying. <Possibly.  I did see a beautiful (and big!) Sohal yesterday at the Riverbanks Zoo...in a 5500 gallon tank!  A very striking fish indeed!> Thanks again. <Welcome again!  -Mich> Re: Livestock Question, Adding Queen Angel (Holocanthus ciliaris) or Imperator Angel (Pomacanthus imperator) and a Sohal Tang (Acanthurus sohal) to a 210 gallon   2/14/07 Hi Mich or whomever is reading this <Hello again Wayne, Mich here.> Quick questions.  2 of em to be exact. <OK.> I have a 210 gal, with 240# of LR, AquaC EV240, and 55 gal refugium <OK.> 1 yellowtail damsel 1 volitans lionfish 9" 1 6" Harl Tuskfish 1 Queen angel or Emperor Angel (Still deciding...haven't gotten one yet) 1 Sohal Tang (still haven't bought one yet) Is my tank maxed out? <I think it will depend on the behaviors/interaction of the specific fish in your system.> Question 2... I have an extra 20 gal and 40 gal tank.  I plan to buy either an Emperor or Queen Angel around 4"-6".  Can I use the 20 gal for QT?  Or is it too small? <Obviously bigger is better, but for the short term I think the 20 gallon is OK.>   Thanks for your help. <You're welcome.  -Mich> Wayne

Sohal tang aggressive?  12/30/06 Hello Crew <Hi Wayne, Rick Oellers (via proxy of Graham T.)> Happy New Year to you all. <Thank you! And to you and yours!> I have a 210gal FOWLR with some softies, 100lbs of LR (will have another 100lbs in the next month),<Good Idea.> and just hooked up my AquaC EV240 w/Mag18 (wife got it for me for Christmas).<Wish my wife would do that...>  I currently have a Volitans Lionfish 9", Harlequin Tuskfish 5", and a Yellowtail Damsel.  Everybody gets along great. <Damsel... interesting. How big?> I've been thinking of adding a Sohal Tang to the tank.  I've read they can be aggressive.  What do you think about this choice? <(Rick) A Sohal tang (Acanthurus sohal) added *last* to your tank is a good addition to the community you have currently, with one condition. The specimen should be around 3" or so to avoid over-aggression. In addition to the referenced aggression, slightly less documented is this species' poisonous scalpel! I (Rick) found out the hard way when trying to revive a seemingly distressed specimen in a shipping container, when SMACK! he got me! I recoiled at first, then again, and again as the real pain set in. What a wallop!> Wayne <Rick Oellers & Graham Tasker> <<Thank you both! RMF>> Re: Sohal tang aggressive?  1/2/07 Thanks for the prompt response Rick. <Thank Graham for pestering Rick, Rick for the info ;) Graham with you exclusively today.> My Damsel is 1" and was the first marine fish my wife and I bought 1.5 years ago.  He's a warrior!  The Lionfish gave up hunting him a long time ago. <Sounds about right for a Chromis xanthurus.> I had intended to add a 3" Sohal, so you and I are on the same page except for one thing.  I intended the Sohal to be the next, but not last addition to the tank.   <Can be done... but you save stress and returns to the LFS when adding an aggressive fish to your system last.> I'd also like to get an Angelfish (not sure what kind. I'd like to get a larger specimen), and a Porcupine Puffer. <You're right to add them before the Acanthurus sohal.> So... to revise my question, would a Sohal Tang be a good, last addition to my tank if I had... Volitans Lionfish 9" Harlequin Tuskfish 5" Yellowtail Damsel 1" Porcupine Puffer ?" Angelfish ?"(any suggestions?) <Honestly, I think your specimen list would be fine, though I keep thinking of all the Volitans I've seen bullied by other fish in the past. But if yours eats live food, then maybe he has the Moxie he needs. As for the angel suggestions, try a Pomacanthus paru (Cortez) or Pomacanthus conspectus (French) as these are hardy, active and feisty individuals. Just know that tangs and angels sometime decide they are too similar to be nice to each other. You may want to consider adding the angel and tang at the same time to avoid territorial disputes.> Do you think this bioload would be too high?  I have a 40 gal refugium as well as the EV240, I fill a Phosban reactor full of Carbon, and do 20 gal water changes weekly with RODI water. <Nope, looks good to me.> Thanks for the warning on the poisonous spines.  You are exactly right, not a whole lot is written about this topic. Happy New Year! <And you.> Wayne <Graham>

Re: Sohal tang aggressive?  1/2/07 Thanks Graham! <Of course! Just happy to help.> I understand your concern for the Volitans.  If the new fish I introduced were smaller than my lionfish, would that deter them from bullying him in the future? ...even if they get bigger than the lionfish in the future? <I did not mean to cloud your mind on the subject of your lion. No, he is not generally going to get beat up. But, they do tend to take the path of least resistance in an overly aggressive setup. I don't think this will be the case, and you have the right idea about starting the fish small so they remember him as bigger. Besides, a tang has little to gain from dancing with a Lionfish. Groupers and other medium to large aggressive were on my mind. I did not know that Lionfish have a history of being bullied.  Always thought they were tough, but passive fish. <True, see above. (I left the retail store I worked in one night to return the next morning to a 300gal tank strewn with Lion spines and guts that had been painstakingly spread about by a 6" Balistapus Undulatus. Poor buggers.)> Wayne <P.S. one thing I forgot to mention, is that the small list of angels I mentioned is obviously not the end-all. Just a quick list I came up with based on a little looking at some various online databases and my memory of their reactions in a retail or service setting. Generally, angels that are hardy, are usually tough, too.> Sohal confusion  - 12/29/06 Hello, <Hi Andy, Mich here.> reading your sohal FAQs, and I am confused.  On one page from your site : - "<foot an a half long>" - "<generally max's out at about eight inches in captivity>" - "<Ughhh! I really wish pet stores would stop selling this beautiful fish. 2 foot long as an adult, most stunt and die prematurely in private aquaria.  This is truly a public aquarium fish at best>" <Maximum Length is 15.7 inches or 40 cm referenced from  www.fishbase.org and "Marine Fishes" by Scott Michael.> and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Asohal.htm  stating this is an excellent tang for "large rough and tumble systems" (whatever that means :-)  ??? <It means don't put it in a calm peaceful community tank, it will destroy the balance of this type of system. Sohal Tangs (Acanthurus sohal) are highly territorial and will chase, chastise and occasionally kill competitors in captivity, thus a "rough and tumble system".>     Bob seems to say a Sohal is ok in a 6' tank, others seem to say an 8' is a minimum.   <I think bigger is better, but I would trust Bob's wisdom and experience here.> So, bottom line, for an experienced home aquarist with top notch circulation and filtration (Tunze Tunze Tunze, large refugium, etc.) is a 180 gallon (6'x2'x2') a good home for a sohal? <In the care of a conscientious aquarist, yes.> Thanks... <Welcome. -Mich> -Andy

Sohal Sand Slap 12/15/06 Hi There! <Hello Heather...Always liked that name.> I have a behavioral question about my Sohal Tang.  He? is housed in our 240 gal. reef tank that is aquascaped with many caves, caverns and tunnels.  He races through the tank when not constantly grazing on our rock or supply of Caulerpa <Caulerpa>. He is wonderful to observe; but his one behavior puzzles me.  He will zoom through the tank, dive to the bottom and slide sideways on the stretch of sand bed that does not have rocks on it slapping the sand with his tail. Sometimes he will take the side of his face and do the same thing. His tank mates include a Naso Tang, Hippo, and Yellow Tang (who unbelievably rules the tank at this point -reminds me of a mother trying to control unruly kids - we put her in first) 2 Clarkii's with Anemone. All mates are equally spirited towards another, no cowards or bothersome aggression as each have claimed their own space and have seemed to create a community space in the middle rock area of the tank where the cleaner shrimp has set up his services. <The benefits of a large tank.> We know the Sohal is the bad boy of the tang group, is he just showing off? <Sand slapping is generally a sign of an oncoming parasitic infection.  <<And aggression. RMF>> Never saw one doing this to show off, but have seen tangs do this on occasion but not on a continual basis.  Have you quarantined this fish before placing in the show tank?  Hopefully so.> My sweet Naso appears that she is trying to learn how to do the sand slap - I think she is too much of a lady to exhibit such behavior though!  Any experience with this? Amused and Puzzled, <I'd keep a close eye on your Sohal for signs of disease.  James (Salty Dog)> Heather

Torn caudal spine, tang   7/3/06 I have a 250 gallon reef tank and I recently noticed that my sohal tang has a torn caudal spine.  Not sure what it could have been from but am concerned about it.  What do you recommend?  Thanks Brett <Mmm, actually "nothing"... such tears/damage are not uncommon, and can, often do heal of themselves. Handling tangs is dangerous business... most all collectors have been sliced, gashed as times (I have on several occasions)... It's not worth the possibility of damage to yourself or the fish... The usual recommendation here to do what you can to provide good environmental conditions, nutrition otherwise. Very likely there will be no repercussions to the health of this fish from this damage. Bob Fenner>

Fishes/Tangs/Feeding - 05/05/2006 In keeping tangs, it says they graze on live rock.  With a FOWLR I use 40 lbs. Utah bowl rock for 5 years.  Does the growth on this rock count?  It appears to be algae.  Do I need to buy live rock? <Not necessary to buy the rock for feeding purposes.  In closed systems the algae present on the rock isn't going to be enough to support tangs.  Tangs need algae for their diet but do eat other foods.  Your selection below will be fine.> I'm purchasing a Sohal Tang.  Would Nori, Mysis, and angel formula suffice?  240 gallon tank, two fish-crown trigger, miniatus grouper,4 inches. <Are you of oriental descent or did you mean Clown Trigger?  I do want to point out that a tang is not very compatible with a Clown Trigger and may be attacked.> Thank you, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dale

Fish/Tangs/Feeding - II - 05/05/2006 I am of Japanese descent....my palents (HAH) are. You should know that by my last name. I recently had a stroke and paralyzed my favored right side so clowns sometime get confused with crown....actually I don't know what I meant. In an article by your company it was stated that Sohals habit the bottom.  Therefore, clown triggers should not bother Sohals? <Dale, if your tank is the size of a reef, no problems, as in nature.  But since we are confining this cohabitation to a 72" x 24" area, it is an all new ball game.> Thank you,  Dale <Your welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Tangs/Feeding/Acclimation ......... James, Re:  5/9/06 THANK YOU! <You're welcome.> We bought the Sohal Saturday. The clown trigger didn't pay attention to him. No aggression. <So far, so good.> The Sohal started to scratch its sides. Due to past experiences, we immediately medicated Copper Power. Turned the UV and protein skimmer off for 21 days for ich.  <Mmm, no quarantining, correct?  Not a good idea to treat healthy fish.> The Sohal is nibbling Nori but not Mysis or krill. All of which is enriched with Selcon and Zo? Is slow eating part of acclimation? <Yes, can be.> He was at the distributor 7 days. Also, I received no answer  e-mail from Joyce Wilkerson. Do you have another number? <I haven't.  Mr. Fenner may have one.  James (Salty Dog)> <... I don't give out other folks contact info., unless they specifically request such. Will Bcc her here. RMF> Dale

Sohal Food  - 5/5/2006 Hi, Bob! <Richard> First, let me say what a pleasure it was to meet and talk with you at IMAC. I appreciate the time you spent with me. <And I yours> While I'm sure our conversation was but one of hundreds you had that weekend, and you can not have anything but a vague recollection of it, you suggested I E-Mail my question to you and you would confirm your answers. <Yes, thank you> OK; Here Goes....I have a 180 Gallon Reef tank, and recently took delivery of a Sohal Tang.  He is definitely KING of the tank, and I'm OK with that (my Chevron also seems to be OK with being subservient to him).  My question is what to feed him.  You gave me 2 options, the first was to go to an international food store and buy...something (lost my notes of your answer). The second option was to find a source of (Ogo. sp.)?  Any idea where to find this, and what is its real name? <Yes... Ogo is one of a few species of Gracilaria... red algae... Indo-Pacific Sea Farms, Inland Aquatics (.coms), hobbyists, stores, clubs...> He does not seem to be happy with "Nori", or "Julian's" (don't hold it against me, it's what I have on-hand) dried sea weed. <Good stuff... just expensive compared to store-bought human consumption algae> It would appear to me I need an answer quick, as he seems to be slowing down and losing girth.  He is only 5", and I don't think he can put up with not having the food he want's for very long. Any input would be appreciated. Oh, and by the way your lecture pitch was GREAT!  It was as fun as it was informative. Hope you enjoy Atlanta. <Thank you. Do look into Pablo Tepoot's "Spectrum" pelleted foods as well... Have you seen this piece on the Sohal: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Asohal.htm and the linked files at top? Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance: Richard Schmidt Sohal Tang, HLLE   3/4/06 Bob, <James today> I have had a 7" Sohal Tang (which has been a great fish) in my FO 135ga. tank for about five years. I recently converted my tank from fish only to a reef tank (currently only have a Clown and a mix of inverts). During the conversion, I realized my Sohal Tang had HLLE. He only had  one pit but was showing other symptoms. I have read much on your site about HLLE and Sohal Tangs. After noticing that he had HLLE, I took him to the LFS (a very good one) so they could treat him and find him a home. I did not know for sure how to treat him and was not sure he would do good in a reef tank. They have treated him for about three to four weeks and he seems to have improved. The LFS said that I can get him back for no charges. I would to get him back, but want your opinion. Now that my tank setup (and water conditions) have improved greatly. Good protein skimmer/ W/D filter 25ga. sump/ 250lbs. live sand (about 3 1/2" to 4")/ 60 lbs. LR will add more slowly/ Nitrates very low now! Should he do alright in a reef tank? <Sure> If I change his diet (as directed on your site) and with improved water quality is it likely that his condition will reverse itself? <Does/can happen.  Weekly/Bi-weekly water changes are a must also.> Your site states that the salinity (for a Sohal Tang) should be kept near 1.025 , this is where I keep my FO tank. Should he adjust to a salinity of 1.022 (where my tank is now)? <Sure, just do it slowly.> Should I look for a younger and smaller Sohal Tang for my reef tank? <Better to keep what you have.> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Kent Tangs ... Sohal mixing, comp. in gen.  - 3/1/2006 Hello Crew, hope you all are doing well.    <I am this AM, thanks>   I have a question. I currently have a 380 gallon aquarium with only 7 Fish, they are a 4" Scopas Tang, Pair of GSM clowns with the female being 4" and the male 1.5",  3" Purple Tang, 4" Imperator Angel, 4" Orange Shoulder Tang and a 8" Vlamingii Tang, as you can tell my 380 is pretty understocked and there is a member on our board that has a 15" Vlamingi tang in a 135  that has clearly outgrown his tank and wants to sell him to me. <Mmm, might go with your current Tangs... might not in the short to longer haul>   Would it be safe to put in the 15" vlamingii tang into my tank if I add another 2 fish along with the Vlamingii to create some distraction or would the Vlaming's still fight?    <As a "one shot" question here... given the input only... I would not do this... Instead, I'd set my mind to what you intend ultimately to house... and start, continue adding this in appropriate sizes. As you will know, I enjoy this Acanthurus species, but it can be a terror... and very hard to extract from a system as yours>   Note: I will be upgrading to a 570 gallon aquarium in about 9 months when I move houses.      Thanks. <... Mmm, maybe by the time this system is up and going your other tangs will have "put on" a few inches... and the Mondo Sohal will still be available. Do look into "Spectrum" pelleted foods... are very useful for tang keeping... health aspects, reducing aggression... Bob Fenner> QT For Sohal Tang (2/4/05) Thanks for your speedy reply.  <You're welcome.>  I think I will just go with the 1 Sohal. Is it possible to keep him in my 30gal QT Tank until the 125 cycles or is that tank too small?  <Should be OK.>  Also what is the longest period of time I should keep him in the small QT tank without seriously affecting him.  <If alone and if you keep the ammonia and nitrites at zero, I'd think it could be in there for several weeks, perhaps a couple of months. Being as Sohals are generally aggressive, you should consider establishing all of your more timid fish first.>  I was hoping to get a fish about 4-5 inches in length. Thanks Again, Brad  <Good luck to you. Remember that patience is well-rewarded in this hobby.> 

Tangling With A Tough Tang! (Sohal Tang In Mixed Tank) Hi crew, <HI there! Scott F. here today!> I would really love to get a Sohal Tang for my 180 tank. At the moment there is not much livestock in the tank, so I am just "planning" at this stage. But if I am to introduce a Sohal later then I need to plan for it now in the other fish I choose. <Absolutely...these fishes have a well-deserved reputation for being rather poor citizens!> Generally speaking, I am nervous about adding a Sohal simply because of the horror stories I have heard about them being so aggressive. <These stories are usually true. These fish can be extremely nasty. Quite honestly, I would not attempt to keep one of these fishes in anything less than an 8 foot long aquarium, simply because they do reach considerable size, "patrol" a large territory, and need larger water volumes to keep up with the copious amounts of metabolic wastes that they produce. I'd rethink keeping this fish in a 180, myself.> Ultimately, I plan on having an angel (maybe a Maculosus OR Passer), some other smaller tang (yellow - not another Acanthurus -maybe a Hippo???), and one other medium-bodied fish (non angel / tang). <IN a large enough tank, you could certainly add another tang, but in a 180, it could be potentially problematic. Personally, I'd try another tang or two other than the Sohal in this sized tank. That's just me, but I've seen a number of Sohals "for sale or trade" locally that were in situations that just didn't work out.> The tank is to be what I term a marginal reef set up - that is to say there will be hardy corals (Toadstool Mushroom, Star Polyps, and Shrooms) - but nothing that could be termed as a reef tank as such. <I nice setup for a fish-oriented display! Natural is always cool!> Is a Sohal a good choice, or is there considerable truth to the scare mongering? <Sadly, the truth really is that these guys are bruisers. I'd entertain other tangs in this setup...Much more appropriate for long-term success, IMO!> Cheers, Matt <Best of luck to you, Matt! Regards, Scott F.>

- Sohal Eating Soft Corals - Please can you help. I have kept a marine tank for 6 months now - so am still a beginner. I have a 400 liter tank. All chemicals are correct and tank has a good amount of living rock. Fish stock is: 3 x clown 1 x Purple Tang 1 x Sohal Tang 1 x Hawkfish 1 x Flame Angel 1 x Bristle Star 1 x Cleaner shrimp Coral stock is 1 x Finger leather coral 1 x Soft Medusa coral 1 x Mushroom coral 1 x Red branch sponge coral Everything has been going really well until 3 days ago when the Sohal Tang started to bite small bits of the ends of the Medusa Coral. He hasn't bothered any of the other corals. I have noticed he seems to do it less when he has just been fed. But I am feeding 3 times per day with enough food for the fish to eat for 3-5 min.s - and he makes sure he gets his fair share! The only thing that changed at the same time as the biting was the introduction of the Bristle Star - could that have upset the Sohal? <It may have upset the Sohal, but these are not children that act out to annoy you. Likely the nipping at the corals is coincidental with the introduction of the brittle star. Observation of these fish in the wild show that they feed constantly, and as a result these tangs are notoriously hard to keep as they get larger. It's quite possible your fish is not satisfied with three feedings a day.> If so, is it worth waiting to see if things settle down again. <Likely not to happen.> I have called my supplier and he says it is the first time he has heard of a Sohal attacking a soft coral and has offered to change the Sohal. But, I am really quite attached to him. Any advice would be really appreciated. <This behavior is not apt to change without some intervention by you - either the fish or the soft corals will have to go... or if you wait long enough the tang will take care of that for you.> Thank you so much for an excellent web site - and search facility. I have learned a huge amount through it. Regards David M. <Cheers, J -- >

Adding a Sohal Tang? (6/6/04) Hello, <Hi. Steve Allen here tonight)   I have a 14 month old 180 gallon (72x24x24) reef tank with 4700 gph  overall current flow.  Currently there is only one orange percula and one  black percula in the tank with future plans on adding two to three purple  Firefish and possibly a flame angel. <Light stocking.>     I have read your article on the Sohal and the FAQ's sections at  length, but still must ask you point blank.  Is my tank too small to  properly house a Sohal if it is the only other fish added to this tank?   Would it be aggressive toward the clowns and Firefish? <I think this is the real problem here. This Tang has nasty reputation for aggression & territoriality.> I am looking for a  nice show fish that is "out of the ordinary" to help finish off the reef and the Sohal came to mind. I have a friend with a 500 gallon that I can move him too when he gets over a foot long. <How about a nice little harem of fairy wrasses--a male and two RO three females in this size tank would be showy indeed.> Thanks in advance for you time. <Hope this helps.> Sean Jacobson

Sohal Tang addition? Bob, I have an existing reef tank of 180 gallons (36 deep, 36 wide, by 32 high) <Interesting shape!> with many corals, shrimp, two anemones, maroon clown 1-1/2", skunk clown 2", two domino damsels 2", two striped damsels 1", blue damsel 1-1/2", tiger Jawfish 3", red spotted Hawkfish 1-1/2", bicolor goby 1", pacific blue tang 3", asfur angel 6", with a large 20 gallon refugium, very strong water flow, at least 120lbs live rock, live sand.  How would a sohal tang fit in? What else might work (how about a dwarf lionfish?)?  Thanks for your help, your articles are exceptional. Charles <Thanks and yikes re additions here Charles. The Asfur will very soon be about all that goes in this system... especially due to its physical dimensions... the Sohal I'd avoid due to very likely negative behavior with your other stock as it grows... and a Lionfish would too likely go undernourished with your present entourage. I would stick with what you have... and look into another tank... Bob Fenner>

Sohals and Zebrasoma (Yellow Hawaiian) Hi Bob...hope I'm not bothering you.  Just read your article on Sohals in WetWebMedia (great article by the way) and was wanting to ask a quick question.  There's a beautiful Sohal down at my LFS that I've been eyeing for some time now and think he would make an excellent "show" fish for my 110 gallon reef tank.  However I currently have a Zebrasoma flavescens that has been very successful in that tank.  Do you think that mixing different spp. of surgeonfish (not simultaneously either) is possible...especially when talking about non-conspecific spp. in terms of shape and size? <Will likely get along for the interim (months), but the Sohal will become "king of the tank"... and eventually too large for the 110... Oh, I would add any other fish livestock you intend ahead of its introduction> Most literature recommends adding surgeonfish simultaneously...but I haven't really been able to get any comment on adding different spp. of surgeons at different times. <Different genera/shapes... mix better than congeners... but there is a wide range of individual variation... the bigger the system the better, the smaller species, smaller individuals first...> Any thoughts? Thanks!  Michael Dunkle  Rollinsville, Colorado <Wish you were out here diving with me in Hawai'i. Am presently out of dive partners. Bob Fenner>

Sohal Tang I was wondering if you could give me some help. I have a 330g reef tank currently with a 4" Sohal tang. I also have a flame angel, two small black percula clowns, diamond goby, yellow tail damsel. The Sohal Tang spends most of his time chasing the goby around the sand and the others rarely come out from the rock.<Sohal tangs are very aggressive> At feeding time he flies from one end of the tank to the other to scare the others away from feeding.<yes... they do this!!> They are all eating fine. I have 6 green Chromis, and 2 small orange perculas clowns, a red margin wrasse and a purple Firefish in quarantine for this tank. With the introduction of these, especially the Chromis, help disperse his aggression for the long term or will it just be a matter of time?<Sohal tangs are very aggressive and will go after anything just for the fun of it> If not I would like to remove him from the tank.<this is what I would do> This is going to be a big challenge. I have a fish trap, any suggestions on what is the best bait to get him to go in? <a small barbless hook> I don't think netting him is going to be an option. He is to fast.<indeed> I am so frustrated with him he attacks my scrapers for cleaning the windows and everything else I put in there. <yes, I had one before and I know what you mean>I have even joked about having my friend come over and go fishing for him.<this is the best way to get him out> Any tips you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Ian <your welcome, IanB>

The Klutzy Sohal... I have a Sohal tang.  He seems to be accident prone, right now he has a injury on his fin that is on the side of his body by his head.  I don't know what he keeps getting hurt on all I have in my tank is live rock and some fake coral, and a clown trigger. The injury he has right now is not puffy red or anything like that, he has gotten hurt before and it heals right up. <Glad to hear that! If a fish is going to clobber himself all of the time, it's always good to heal quickly!>   Could it be that my clown trigger is biting him? <Could be...But it could also be a function of the fish's behavior...If the tank is too small for this guy, his nervous "pacing" could result in him bashing into stuff. Or, if that's not the case, the fish may have some vision problems or problems maintaining hydrostatic control (i.e.; his swimming capability is compromised)...Lots of possibilities> When I watch my fish they both seem to be getting along just fine even at night.  They both are eating fine and swim around and don't chase each other.  I know that the Sohal could easily kill my clown trigger if it wanted to. Also I was wondering as far as tankmates go I was thinking about a blonde Naso tang, or a powder brown tang, or a flame angel, or a yellow tang.  Will any of these fish be ok with the two I have now?? <In my opinion, no. The Sohal will usually just beat the crap out of any other tang added, unless you have a very large (like 500 gallons plus) tank...Not worth the risk, IMO> Thank you for your time. Scott <My pleasure, Scott! Regards, Scott F>

Sohal Tang Feeding >I have kept a 5 inch Sohal Tang for about 3 weeks now in my 180 gallon (FOWLR - w/ plenty of different types of algae). Thus far, the sohal has only eaten the algae off the back of the tank and some Nori Seaweed soaked with ZOE, tied to a rock (3 times a day). I have tried feeding just about everything, from Brine Flakes, Formula 2, Formula 1, Angel Formula, Split Peas and broccoli ...but he will not accept any of these other foods, just algae. How do I get the Sohal to start eating foods (meaty stuff) from the water column? >>You can't, because.  Even though they're considered more "omnivorous" than other tangs, they're still primarily vegetarians.  You're doing the best thing you can by *offering* these other foods (the Formula foods will be better for him than the carnivorous feeds).  Also, props for using the Zoe (we also really like Selcon) for his Nori.  However!  PLEASE do not continue the practice of introducing animals into your display that have not gone through quarantine (30 days is usual protocol). >I also tried Brine Shrimp but he ignores that too.  I would imagine he will develop some deficiencies if he does not get some other types of foods. He does have a few blotches on him from time to time but no parasites. I figured that must be because of diet. Thanks. >>Diet and water quality, but if you make good use of quarantine the day you catch it before it enters your display is the day you'll be glad.  It may be that the fish is still acclimating to captivity, I would give him time, and continue to provide as much Nori and other algal sources for him as possible.  I would not use broccoli, but I would use romaine lettuce for free feed.  Do expect him to become a poop machine when free feeding, however, it's really best for these truly horse like animals, both physiologically and psychologically.  Best of luck!  Marina

Asfur Angel and Sohal Tang Bob, I spoke to you several times about my 6"Asfur Angel I have in my 230.    I also have a school of Blue Chromis and a newly introduced 6"Sohal Tang .  I originally spoke to you about adding butterflies and the Sohal but decided against the butterflies as I do have some soft corals and inverts.   I plan on adding a few more small fish (more Chromis and other small fish) and leave the Sohal and Asfur room to grow. <They'll need more than this tank eventually> I am a little concerned about the Sohal being aggressive.   I know all tangs can be very territorial but I have not seen such aggression (usually around feeding time). This thing is a pig and wants all food for himself.   My question is will the Sohal and the Asfur be able to live with each other long-term as they grow larger? <Likely so, if they get along now> The Asfur is a little bigger than the tang at this point.  The Asfur has also been aggressive towards the Chromis and is a fish that should be able to hold it own (I hope) but it stays very much clear of the Sohal.  Just trying to make sure I made a good choice as I really want to keep these two together for a very long time.  Would recommend adding a few other fish to help "keep the peace"  If so, what fish would you recommend with these two that is invert safe? <Please see the "Fishwatcher's Guide to the Red Sea" pc. on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks for the help Andrew

Sohal Tang... good buy or not? 2/25/03 What? "Is he joking?" "Everyone knows the yellow tang, Zebrasoma flavescens is the most popular, hardiest member of the Doctorfish family." Well, the yellow is a tough customer if collected and housed correctly. But I assure you that it has nothing over the Sohal, Zebra, or Red Sea Clown Surgeon, Acanthurus sohal. "This fish has much going for it; good looks, ready food acceptance, disease resistance, active, interesting behavior. The only negative I would have applied to it in years past is "expense"; but no longer. Sohal tangs are Red Sea endemics, only found in that magical area; and their cost has come down with the recent growth in exports from the area." "Acanthurus sohal is still not cheap, but well worth the investment in terms of beauty and longevity......" In The FAQ's  I was reading about people wishing that these were never sold because of their size etc.   <correct... and as stated in the FAQs and beyond, it is solely because of their adult size and need for huge tanks and long runs to swim. Physiologically, though, they are hardy and easy to feed/keep. Just aggressive and large.> Am I missing something in the above description?   <nope... you are correct. Hardy, great fish... fine for captivity if you have a tank big enough for a foot an a half long adult fish as an adult. Heck.. even if it only gets a foot long... it still needs a huge tank. What size is your aquarium?> The reason for my perplexity, is I just bought one today, with the above words specifically in mind. <no worries if you checked the adult size first> How can such a positive review start off a fish that isn't aquarium worthy? <as per above... a great fish for very large aquaria (many hundred of gallons for the 5-10 year + picture. Anthony>

Sohal Tang sickness A Few Problems... Hello crew, got a problem with a sohal tang purchased 2 weeks ago. About 6 days ago started to show a bump on the middle of his side. The bump had a brown dot on it and 1/4 in line on either side of it. Began a copper treatment ( fish and live rock tank only) and second day improvement showed, third day line merged into one brown line running from top to bottom. <Grr...I still don't like the idea of treating in the main tank...really hard to maintain therapeutic levels of the medication in a tank with rocks and sand, which can actually bind with the medication. Always quarantine new arrivals in a separate tank at least 3 weeks...This will give you a chance to treat things like this in a more conducive environment...Live and learn!> hen yesterday, Koran angel died. Began a treatment of Kanacyn, (bathing tang separately for one hour each day) and adding VitaChem to tank. Hoping to do this for five days and see what happens. Problem is no one has ever seen anything like this before, brown stripe and bump! <Hard to say from here, but it sounds like a parasite of some sort...I don't like "experimenting" with medications, especially in the main tank, where copper has already been used...At least run some Poly Filter to get some of the copper out of there...Vitamin preparations are good at helping provide extra nutrition for the fish, although you may be fueling future nuisance algae blooms> The tank is a 55 gal, other inhabitants, lunare wrasse, Picasso trigger, & Tasmanian devil damsel. They appear healthy, all eat well, and are active. Bio wheel and Accu flo filter (carbon removed) and Sal 1.023, temp 76. Any ideas, hints, or help greatly appreciated. Desperate Depths! <Well- not the time to scold you...But...That is way, way too many potentially large (and high metabolite-producing) fishes in this sized tank. The Sohal is one of the most aggressive of all tangs, and can reach almost 15 inches in length! I wouldn't even put this combination of potentially large, aggressive fishes in a 100 gallon tank. These fishes all require a lot of room, superior water quality, and stable conditions. I think that you need to consider a much larger (like 180-300 gallon tank, maybe more) tank to maintain these fishes in a happy and healthy state for anything close to their natural life span. Also, you need to re-assess your equipment to deal with the copious amounts of waste that these fishes give off. A protein skimmer for these fishes is an absolute necessity, as is liberal use of activated carbon or other chemical filtration media, which should be changed regularly. Employ regular, small water changes on a frequent basis. You'll learn a lot from this episode, and you'll have a great deal of success if you take into account some of the needs that these fishes have...Stay on top of things, slow down, read a lot on the WWM site, and you can turn things around. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Sohal Problems Thanks Bob, look forward to hearing your comments on why this fish perished as well when you get a moment.  I am really perplexed on this. <Have read over your input a few msg.s down... does sound like either general stress or a lack of oxygen was the cause of your loss... a thirty gallon system AND the dip water need to be vigorously aerated for this type, size fish> I guess I am also still confused on where WWM "stands" in terms of a "minimum sized" tank in adulthood for the A. Sohal. <I'd say at least two hundred gallons... many folks seem to buy juveniles, intending to move them to larger quarters later.> While you say it reaches only eight inches in captivity, I believe its Anthony that says it should reach two feet no matter the situation <I have dived many times in this animal's range (mainly the Red Sea)... can't seem to get fishbase.org to bring up... but I've never seen one more than a foot in standard length... please read the article archived on WWM again... it states that some open ocean Surgeonfishes approach two feet in length> and anything less than that is a sign that we're stunting its growth.  Would an eight inch fish, fully grown, be stunted? <Not IME/O. Bob Fenner>

Sohal Problems Also, let me comment on the ambiguity of your section on the Sohal.  It's hailed as the "best tang in the world" on the entire opening page. <No my friend. The title has a question mark after this... as in "Is this the best tang in the world"? I've modified it per your input: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Asohal.htm> This is part of the reason I considered this tang, along with positive comments from other experienced fishkeepers.  Of course, I  should have read deeper into the FAQs where I would find out that (at least according to some of your staff) it is almost never for the home aquarium because of its size.  Even here, there is some inconsistency in the advice given.  In many of the comments made by your staff, the Sohal is given the thumbs up in larger home systems.  Yet in others, the person is berated for even considering this species in the private system.   I love your site and it has given me so much great information.  I hope we can all continue to learn from it. <I know I do. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Marc

Big Tang, Reef, What Size Trouble? Dear Bob & Co., Probably asking for it but here we go. Bought a Sohal Tang that was 1 week at the LFS. Brought it home into my QT for 2 weeks but never made it. Didn't find any fare I offered palatable for one week though appeared healthy. Worried and sympathetic I grabbed it and tossed it into my main tank (150g FULL BLOWN REEF, assorted Acro sp., Monti. sp, LPS, clams, Asfur Angel (3in) Potter's (2in), Yellow Tang (1.5 in), Blue-throat Trig (2in), pair of Nigripes Clowns (1 in), and a small toad angler (2 in), shoal of green Chromis (for the angler)). Ok 2 days later the Sohal busts out with ICH. I've been in this hobby for sometime and know the mistakes I have made in this case. On the positive side the Sohal is munching everything green, red, or brown that is algae in the tank. Such a proficient grazer, but is yet to eat anything offered. About 3 days later the Asfur, Yellow tang, and Trigger started to show same symptoms but to a much less degree (scattered dots, perhaps 10 on each fish). Checked water chemistry knowing things will be stable and they were. So far I am in the second week of this...fish do not seem stressed at all...no scratching, heavy breathing, flashing, fighting. ( I think I am very lucky to have what appears to be only white-spot disease (Cryptocaryon), as opposed to velvet (Amyloodinium) which I understand will kill in combination. I tried to use a hand magnifier but couldn't see any white dusting). They do the same dance when I walk by, thrashing about in anger...FEED ME PLEASE!!!!This morning the fish outside of the Sohal seems to be recovered from the dots. But I do know that they (dots) are most likely in the free swimming stage, going to reproduce. I'm not panicked because with each of these cycles of dots to no dots...the dots seem less and less, in fact the clowns showed no symptoms at all. But will this cycle be ongoing perpetually for the life of this tank or its inhabitants? Will someday one side succumb to the other? Sans regular maintenance what else can I do? Regards, Dennis <Alright Dennis, I'll spare berating you for doing something you know is not very bright...... I MUST wonder with all you have invested, what on earth were you thinking? Do you gamble? Anyway, aside from a torturous teardown, I would get a few cleaner shrimp, a few cleaner gobies, and some medicated Tetra Antiparasitic food and go for it for a couple of weeks.  Feed nothing but the medicated food according to label directions. I break it into smaller bits for smaller fish. If this doesn't work, then it's QT and copper time for one and all and at least one month of no fish in your reef.  Tell me you won't do this again! No more Russian Roulette!   Craig>

Acanthurus sohal (Note: amend article on WWM) Hi crew, <Howdy Peter> Just a quick note. I've noticed several emails concerning Sohal tangs lately. Just thought you should check your website link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Asohal.htm It's rather contradictory to your email responses, specifically concerning size: "Though some open-ocean surgeons approach two feet in length, the Sohal max's out at about eight inches overall length." <Mmm, well... I agree that this isn't clear (enough)... Will amend to state: "generally max's out at about eight inches in captivity". This sounds like a more-accurate, meaningful stmt.> I know you all are very busy on this site, so I just thought I'd point this out to you. Great site! Keep up the good work! <Thank you. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Peter

Re: Acanthurus sohal housing By harlequin I meant harlequin the shrimp, not the wrasse.   <Yowsa... my bad! A big difference. Still.. do try to feed the harlequin shrimp with cultured Asterina stars or live-bearing brittle stars. It is horrible to buy wild sea stars like chocolate chips from the LFS no matter how cheap they are. The mortality on import for many of these sea stars is over 50% (with some at 90%!!!). So that means 5 to 9 stars die on import to get you one live one to feed the shrimp. Asterina are easy to breed like mad! Simply cut/frag them... you can get hundreds in weeks> Not crazy enough to try housing a harlequin tusk wrasse with my defenseless corals and inverts.   <bless you heart my friend.. although some folks keep young Harlequin wrasses in reefs> What I should have said was that by happy with my assortment of fish I am aware that adding any more would probably make me overstocked to the point of having to deal with ammonia toxicity every 2 weeks. <agreed <G>> There is also a refugium running on the system that I built (24x12x12 inches, <excellent!> have  not bothered to calculate volume in gallons), the biggest that would fit under the stand. The mandarin has been fat and happy for about a year, so there definitely are plenty of critters in there to eat.   <very good to hear my friend> I know I will be upgrading to a 250 gal at minimum in they next year or two. I am fully prepared to pawn the regal blue the moment I see fighting, the blue would most likely be on the losing end. <agreed> My original plan was to sell the regal blue before getting the sohal.  The guy at the fish store said I should give them a chance to work it out first, or something to that effect, so I am giving it a shot. <OK> I may have bitten off more than I can chew with the sohal.  Maybe keeping my Goniopora alive for 3 and 1/2 years and counting gave me delusions of grandeur (it is throwing 3 buds, I am so proud).   <excellent to hear... keep up the good work too> Right now the tang is still in the wait and see phase.  I have seen differing accounts as to how large these Sohals can get when kept in captivity from a juvenile stage, <please understand that the range in mature sizes is entirely dependent upon good or bad husbandry and tank size. The natural adult size of the fish cannot be changed. Definitive scientific studies have been done on this subject! And saltwater fishes (unlike freshwater fishes which are more inhibited in growth by competitive hormones) require long runs of space to swim. It has been demonstrated that fishes that survive in a 200 gallon long tank (say 10 feet long) will stunt and die prematurely in a 200 gallon tall tank (say 4 foot long). This is not a debatable subject... hobbyist accounts to the contrary are bunk and wishful thinking. If that crap were true we'd be seeing pygmy nurse sharks in 20 gallon aquariums <G>> as well as differing accounts as to the level of their aggressiveness depending on whether the sohal is first or last into the tank.   <also crap... the difference in aggression is determined by individual, not order of purchase. Science again> Some people say up to 15 inches at a maximum, other places say 20, so its hard to know what to believe sometimes.   <believe science my friend... human beings are likely to grow 5 to 6 feet tall. If they suffer kidney failure or other imposed complications in the developmental stages of life, they may not even reach 4 foot tall or live to see 40 years old. Half height and half life span is still an unrealized potential> It seems like the people who have had the worst experiences with these fish tend to be the most vocal.   <I cannot say that I've had a bad experience with this fish... but I talk to several people each month killing them in small home aquaria> I guess my main question was how fast can I expect this fish to grow?   <that will be relative to swimming space and otherwise good husbandry. Adult size in 5-7 years naturally at a modest pace. Can be realized in slightly less than five years with optimum care (big public aquaria)> The tank is fed about 3 times a day, approximately enough for the fish to consume in 30 seconds. <excellent! 3 or more feedings daily is quite helpful and healthy for fishes> Thanks again. Michael McAllister <best regards, Anthony>

Alas... Another Sohal First off I would like to say that I love your site, it is one of the most informative sites for the marine fish keeper that I have seen.   <thanks kindly, my friend> I am a 4th year marine biology student and the university of west Florida, but due to their lack of marine biology curriculum for undergrads I have to do most of my learning on my own. <understood... and keep learning <G>> I recently acquired a 3.5 inch sohal tang.   <Ughhh! I really wish pet stores would stop selling this beautiful fish. 2 foot long as an adult, most stunt and die prematurely in private aquaria. This is truly a public aquarium fish at best> I have a 75 gallon tank, 4 feet long and 14 inches wide.   <<<sobbing>> can't speak...> The tank is currently populated with a small collection of LPS and polyp corals, a coral beauty angelfish, false percula, regal blue tang (exact same size as the sohal), <oh, geez> Rainford goby, <no really... just shoot me now. Rainford gobies categorically are one of the most difficult fishes for captivity... living on the infauna and epiphytic material of Derbesia algae! Adequate substitutes in captivity are not easily proffered. Most Rainford's eat well enough but still die in less than one year in captivity... very few live to see two. Unless yours is over two years old... please don't reply with "ya... but mine looks fine" <G>. Heehee...> mandarin goby, <with these last two fishes, you really MUST have a large fishless refugium plumbed upstream> assortment of hermit and emerald crabs, and a harlequin <Yowsa! Stop the presses... dude! You have a Tuskfish, blue regal tang and a sohal tang (with other fishes too!!!) that total a collective length of over 50" as adults!!!! You literally need to have a 600gallon tank to even be in the low end realm for keeping these fishes in the 5 year picture. Else, they will stunt and die prematurely like everyone else's> and skunk cleaner shrimp (I am very happy with this assortment of fish, and do not plan to add any more).   <I'm glad you're happy with your assortment of fishes... that makes one of us <VBG>> I have a lot of live rock with healthy coralline algae growth. To my surprise, the sohal and the regal blue seem to be getting along beautifully with absolutely no aggression.   <dude... your sohal is only 3.5 of 24" total inches and hasn't started sexually maturation yet. You have my sound promise that he will begin wrecking the tank and fishes in less than a year> They even seem to bump casually sometimes while swimming, or when grazing on the same area on the live rock. However, given the Sohal's tendency for territoriality as he matures, I have a feeling that this is a peace that cannot last a very long time in my 75 gallon tank.   <you said it brother!> How long do you realistically think I could get away with housing this sohal in this setup?   <that depends... what time does your watch say... > Also, what size tank do you think I should upgrade to in order to house this community of fish for the next 5 to 7 years safely? <Michael... do look up the adult sizes of these fishes on fishbase.org   I would never recommend a Sohal for a small private display. What if you get a tank 10 feet long and 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall (400+ gall). That is still a tank that is only as wide as your fish is long and leaves a very short run for it to swim. Its the equivalent of a six foot tall man living his entire life in a living room sized space. Yowsa. My advice is to find a bigger home for the sohal tang and enjoy the rest of the fishes in a commercial 200-300 gallon aquarium> Thanks, Michael McAllister <best regards, Anthony>

Sohal tang and Majestic angel Hello WWM crew! Cheers, Paul!> Quick facts: I have a 125 with 50lbs. LR and about 60 or so lbs. of various base rock (lace and reef rock), all well-matured. I have 7.5 watts per gallons worth of MH and PC lighting. Water flow is moderate for now. <improving soon we hope> I also have a canister filter (Filstar XP3) for added filtration. NH3= >0.5; NO2= 0; NO3= 20; pH= 8.3; spg.= 1.0225; Temp.= 78. Current inhabitants: 3 green Chromis; clarkii clown; c. banded shrimp; hermit, left-hand, and scarlet reef crabs; pink tip and tube anemone; and a feather duster. I've been looking over your site; very cool by the way; <thanks kindly> and have a  couple of questions about a Sohal tang. <don't bother <G> you do not have tank even remotely big enough to responsibly house this creature as a sub adult let alone as an adult. I dread the fact that pet shops even sell this public aquarium fish. Sohals get 2 feet long as adults. Your tank is 2 feet wide at best. It would be inhumane for anything under 600gallons by some estimates. Fish do not grow to a tanks size any more than a St Bernard puppy locked in a closet will. The animal will either get good husbandry and outgrow the vessel fast, or it will stunt and die prematurely like most do in private aquaria. Sure... you might get 3-5 years out of it... but not 30+ like possible. Cruel at any rate. I realize that you did not know this bud... but... now you know :)> First: I have found a Sohal at a LFS that's about 5-6 inches long and looks great. I almost got it the other day but I noticed that it was flashing against the substrate. I had been there a couple of days before and it was showing no signs of this so it's just starting. One or two of the fish in other tanks seemed to have what looked like ick. <do be sure to quarantine all new fish at home in isolation regardless of how good they look at the shop.. else it is Russian roulette with living creatures> All of the SW tanks are on a central filtration system so the manager offered to keep the tang and treat him with the others with Cu Sulfate before I got him. <outstanding LFS! Kudos to him... very responsible. Do tell us the name of this merchant and we will post it on the daily FAQs with thanks for his good salesmanship...Oh... wait a minute, that would be good husbandry of an animal being sold inappropriately for captivity <G>> He will have been treated for a week when I go pick him up. <at which point we'll get really abusive to you in e-mails <G>. I hope you are a masochist at heart:) > Will it be ok if I put him straight into my main tank instead of QT'ing him again? <QT again?! He was never QT'ed in the first place... time spent at the store where numerous hands and nets go through numerous tanks everyday with fishes of all degrees of health is not QT by any stretch of the imagination. Even kept isolate at the store... what happens if the kid making $5/hr scraping algae doesn't wash his hands between the tank of new infected fish and the tank with your fish one hour before you go to pick it up? We say it often... there is no such thing as QT at a pet store or wholesalers. QT is 4 weeks at home in isolation> What are your feelings about giving a Paraguard bath for an hour or so? <weakly effective> Second question: They also have a Majestic Angel, about 4 inches, would it be ok to put these two together? <it would be possible in a big enough tank. Sohals have a well deserved reputation for maturing into ferociously territorial fishes. Another big fish like the angel could just get pummeled just the same> How close together should I introduce the two? Today is Tues. and I plan to pick up the tang on Sat. or Sun.. <if you run two separate QT tanks... they can see each other in the new 1000 gall tank in 4 weeks <VBG>> If my question is long-winded, I apologize!! <no worries bud... I'm long-winded too :) > I'm a first-timer posting a question on your site. <welcome my friend... I almost regret the strong-armed reply I just gave you... heehee... but, rest assured. We are here to help you succeed. We have no fish or filters to sell you and will give you plainly honest information based literally on decades of experience. I do hope that you will write again. My best regards to you in your endeavors> Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank much, Stephen Baker. <kindly, Anthony>

Re: Sohal tang and Majestic angel Anthony, thanks for the quick reply! That really sucks to hear about the sohal, I had my heart set on that fish. <yes... bummer. And we are getting lots of e-mails about them this week. You can tell when large shipments make it into the country :) > However, I don't like the idea of getting an animal and not being able to make it as happy as possible. <agreed... we have to take the long view, and a 2 foot fish living possibly more than 20 years and easily more than 10 requires an extraordinary tank> I knew that it got big but I didn't think it would get that big in the aquarium, <a common misconception perpetuated by people trying to sell big fish!> I've read mixed opinions on the size it would reach. <no mixed opinions... just mis-information. You cannot dwarf a fish any more than you can dwarf a human or a horse and not expect lifelong complications in health or longevity> Thank you for the advice though, I will definitely be taking it! I'll just save that fish for when I get that saltwater swimming pool in the future, hehe! <awesome!> I'm thinking about maybe not getting the Majestic as well; not sure; your opinion? <actually a fine fish... but needs to be a focal point and worked around in the tank> I suppose since I've got you again I'll ask you a few more questions; hopefully it's okay if they're multiple topics!! First: I know that this is a question that will mainly apply to my interests and other factors which you may not know but, what other tangs would be able to satisfy my taste for the beauty of the sohal? <nothing like it in color or pattern. Similar shapes in other large pelagic Naso species but some of them get bigger than the sohal!!!> I was thinking of maybe another Naso (mine got killed by my old Huma Huma [aptly named, Hannibal] after I swapped stands and put the two back in the tank, a Kole, a Purple, or a Red Sea Sailfin. <the Kole is hands down the hardiest, smallest and best algae eater of the lot. If you do get another Naso... stick with lituratus (lipstick). At least they are smaller at 16-18"> Maybe even numerous of the previously mentioned, again, your opinion? <mixing tangs of like or different species is always risky and never recommended. It often works, but just as often or more so does not in the long run. If you must... keep only one per genus. My question is why bother mixing tangs when there are hundreds of beautiful marine fishes from so many other compatible families instead. Why risk the stress and mortality of a known stressful mix. Enjoy rare hamlets, comets, wrasses, etc. So many fish to pick from. Check out the catalog at The Marine Center online to see some incredible rarities> Will the Purple bully any of the other fish? <the purple or the Sailfin can be extremely aggressive> I've heard that these fellows can get seriously irate with any other fish in the tank, especially another tang! <understatement of the year> Second: IYO, which would you go with, 20K or 10K MH, <10K will give you better growth and better/truer color... but 20K has a better blue look if you like blue> I'm still running 5500K and am going to upgrade soon, lots of fluorescent yellow-green algae being produced from these guys!! <6500K Iwasakis would be the best for growth... 10K Aqualines or Ushios may be the best for color and growth in balance> Third: I have been at a loss with my test kit since I got it. At first I didn't pay attention since my tank was cycling and it was still new. However as time has went on, I have become increasingly suspicious of my NH3 test contained within! I have the Aqua. Pharmaceuticals (Saltwater Master Liquid Test Kit) as I'm sure everyone else has or has had at one time. Sorry, I drifted!! <I have a lot of concern with liquid test kits in general.. they can be as accurate as dry reagents... but they have a shorter shelf life and are easily corrupted> My NH3 has been, since my tank finished cycling, at a constant reading of 0.5ppm. It has never been anything different that I could tell, except maybe on occasion. Other LFS' have measured it and not had that high of a reading (Unfortunately, I have not had many outside tests except when I wanted a second opinion of my cycling progression, or when I just happened to think of doing it). Regardless, everyone's is always lower than mine either by a lot or a little. Is it possible that my test kit could be off. <possible yes> I thought that if I have no NO2s, than my NH3 should be at zero as well, <not necessarily... ammonia can be produced and linger or be taken up without even being converted. The nitrification process is not literal or absolute> I have now and in the past, had small bioloads in the tank. I'm lost here and I need a map, bad! This makes me cautious to ever buy anything for fear of my H2O quality. <brother... you are overreacting <G>. The slight lingering ammonia could simply be from too high of a water flow rushing through a wet dry filter, sand filter, canister, etc. Or... just not having quite enough live rock. All are easily corrected> Your opinions please! Do you recommend any certain test kits? <Hach and LaMotte are reliable investments... all other hobby kits are just that> Hope I have not made you pull your hair out with the plethora of questions I have just thrown at you. <nope... just hearing you use the word plethora made it worth it... I know have a reason to mention a cornucopia of ways that I enjoy chatting with fellow aquarists <G>> If so, let me know, I'll work on it next time! <no worries... our pleasure> Any and all help, as I said before, is greatly appreciated. I wish I had known about this site when I first got started with my NACL H2O tank :-) <ha! Well now you know... its all uphill from here!> I would like to, again, commend you on YOUR quick reply, and may I say " kudos to YOU and the rest of the WWM crew!"-Stephen Baker, Huntsville, AL.- <thanks kindly, Steven... our best regards. Anthony>

Sohal tang Dear Mr. Fenner Just yesterday I have noticed that my Sohal Tang has 2 small holes above one of his eyes. I think it might be HLLE but am not sure (I have a lot of LR so it could be from him swimming into a piece, but to me it looks like indents above his eye not a scratch or abrasion). <It sounds more like HLLE to me, too.> I feed him life line green formula (for tangs, angels etc.) and all the other inhabitants of the tank are fine. <No one food makes a complete diet. Try adding some frozen Formula II and Nori.> Nitrites=0, Ammonia=0, Nitrates=20-40, Ph=8.2, SG=1.022. I was told to purchase a disinfectant such as formalin <Truly terrible advise for treating HLLE.> but I wanted to get expert advice before I added any chemicals to the aquarium. <And an awful idea to dose anything to your main tank.> Thank you for your time and help. Ian <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Sohal Tang hi, WetWebMedia crew!  <Aloha!> I have a 8 inch shoal tang in my 240 gallon tank. My question is he's got a really deep pitting on his cheek? I know that it's not HLLE. What else could this possibly be? Any advice would be very appreciative! Thanks in advance, your fellow Phish geek, Carlos! :0) <hmmm... tough to say. But it would not be a surprise or uncommon if it was a mild bacterial infection causing the divot (perhaps soon to be a lesion). In freshwater cichlids, such infections of the olfactory pores on the skull are misdiagnosed as hole in the head disease. Such conditions are often prevalent in aquaria that are overfed, overstocked or simply light on water changes. If you are doing less than 25% monthly (and that is quite modest for a tank of large fishes) then your level of dissolved organics may very well be high enough to be rather unsanitary. Water changes and iodine supplements may be stimulating. Catching the fish and swabbing the wound with Merthiolate would be better... if it gets much worse, you may need to consider antibiotics in a QT tank. Best regards, Anthony>

Sohal tangs and a reference to Gothic Art Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob conducts field experiments in Oz to determine the threshold for aggression in wild dingoes through a series of imposed stimuli. He will first begin by taunting them with an outrageous French accent, then he will shave the buttocks of an alpha male and return him to the pack, and finally he will confine a group and force them to watch the film, Waiting to Exhale (the Piece de resistance)> Was just reading your article on sohal tangs. Sounds like they do well and a nice fish to have in the tank.  <yes... physiologically a hardy fish in captivity> I currently have a 90 gal. fish only with a panther grouper, Foxface, Picasso trigger, and a small three striped damsel. All are juveniles with the Foxface being the largest at about 4". Would this tank size be ok for a sohal tang? Would I be overloading the system by adding this fish? Thanks in advance for your help. Tim <perhaps as you suspect my friend, the Sohal would be too large and indeed overload the tank. They are admittedly tough to find small among imports and even if you could, the responsible care of this monster of a tang requires a 6 foot long tank at minimum to begin with. Many strange captive induced stresses and diseases can be attributed to such otherwise unnatural confines. Do admire this fish from afar until you get a larger aquarium. A truly unique fish... I admire your taste <wink>. Kindly, Anthony>

Sohal tangs and a reference to Gothic Art II Thanks for the reply! Would love to see a documentary on Bob's trip. Well, regrettably, I guess I have to forget about the sohal. I was thinking maybe an angel would be nice substitute. Really would like a Koran, so I pose the same question. Could I have one in my setup? <The Koran is a good choice, but the grouper is still going to quickly outgrow your 90.> If I have to go smaller maybe a blue ring angel. <Slightly more difficult, but not much. Another good choice.> Could one of these fish be added without any problems? (i.e., overload, conflicts) <Yes, choose one.> Also, my tank has been running about 6 weeks now. The nitrates are not even really detectable (>10 ppm) and I'm wondering if I should do a water change now or can it wait. <It never hurts to do a water change.> Thanks again for your help. Tim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Sohal Tang I am hoping you can help me. I have 2 tangs, one purple and one Sohal. The purple tang appears to have very small spots on him, smaller than what ich normally looks like. Both tangs are rubbing against rocks from time to time. The Sohal has only a couple of white spots, its not worsening however. Also there are many little with bugs (about 1mm) on the glass of my 125g tank. Water quality is good. Do I raise temp?.. drop salinity?...stop feeding?.....keep the tank in darkness?...drown myself in the tank? <Mmm, I would likely try the first two, slow down on the third, and none of the last couple. Do you have cleaner organisms in this system like Lysmata Shrimps or Gobiosoma Gobies? I would place these... and add vitamins and HUFA supplements to their foods... May be just stress markings of some sort... and not an actual parasitic or infectious disease agent at work here. Please read through the many Tang sections on our site starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm and the related linked files.  Bob Fenner>

Sohal vs. Sohal Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you for your time in answering various questions and I hope it doesn't take too much of your Holiday time. Here is my situation. I have a 165gal with a 5" Harlequin Tusk, a 5" Sohal Tang, a 4" South Seas Devil Damsel, and 3 2" yellow tailed damsels with about 90lbs of live rock and 30lbs of base rock. Lights are on from 11am to 9pm. All the fish eat well. The Sohal likes Nori algae, Mysis shrimp, and an occasional silverside. <Yes... a true omnivore> The issue is that the Sohal seems to fight himself in the reflection on the glass caused by the lighting. When the lights are off and the ambient light from the room is on he freely swims around the tank, picks at the LR, and breathes slow and easy. When the lights are on he nips at the back glass where his reflection is and does quick figure eights against the glass. He also does a little shimmy parallel to the glass before he flips into another figure eight. His breathing is hard and he seems to have scraped his forehead once or twice during these antics. I have read bulletin boards and chat rooms as well as researched the FAQs and it seems that the tang species is prone to this sort of behavior. <Yes... territorial... to an extreme at times, cases> I have only had the tang and tusk for 1 week. Prior to that the sohal was in a small (10gal) holding tank. Will the Sohal "learn" not to do this anymore or should I be worried at all?  <Very likely this specimen will learn to ignore (shades of B.F. Skinner!) to not "over-react" to its own reflection... I consider that this overt behavior may be of value (to you and the other livestock)... Good for this Sohal to have an "outlet" for such action.> The tank is situated so that all 4 sides are viewable so I had hoped I don't have to cover the glass. Any help or input you could think of would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Steve Morvay <Thank you for your well-thought out message... I could suggest some mechanisms for reducing, eliminating the reflection (coatings mainly), but I would do as you make reference... wait, let the animal work itself into a more casual repertoire with its semblance. 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=12023rum 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 voluble 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

Sohal Tang I saw a beautiful specimen of a Sohal Tang today my LFS and was very much taken with it. It was about 7-8 inches in length. <Yikes... a great fish species, but large to start with...> They also have a Huma Huma Trigger about the same size. This Huma Huma Trigger is in a tank, about a 30 gallon I think, all by itself because they said it was very aggressive. <Likely yes... in such small quarters> They also said that the Sohal Tang is very aggressive and probably wouldn't be able to be put in the same tank with anything, except a rare few other fish. <At this starting size, likely> I currently have a 75 gallon with only live rock, some live sand, crushed coral and a dead marine tree looking branch in there. Would it be possible to put both the Huma Huma Trigger and the Sohal Tang in the same tank together and keep them that way? <Yes, I give you good odds that these two would co-exist fine in such a system... much more than the current circumstances they find themselves in> If not can you tell me what would be possible tankmates for the Sohal Tang? for the size aquarium that I have? Thanks Robin <Please search through the many survey articles on "Marine Fishes", "Livestock Selection" articles and "Fishwatcher's Guide to the Fishes of the Red Sea" posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com here. You will know. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sohal Tang Thanks for your quick response. I really appreciate your honesty. My LFS said that a Sohal Tang is a one fish only per tank kind of fish. I was very disappointed as I would have really liked to have had it. I just may go back yet. Thanks Robin <Unless the tank is very large yes. Take a look at the article on Acanthurus sohal I have archived on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for more. Bob Fenner>

Too Small Sohal I recently purchased a 3" Sohal Tang. He was in great shape when purchased with great color for his size and I was told by the dealer that he could handle himself community tank situations. However, he seems to be having trouble acclimating to my tank. It is a 55 Gal with quite a bit if coral and rocks to hide under. When I introduced him into the tank my 4"Niger Trigger and 3 line damsel harassed him into hiding for the first 3-4 days. After a week he has gained enough confidence to swim around the tank timidly though the other fish no longer bother with him much. At feeding times, he is timid and slow so the other fish beat him to most of the food. I've placed some strands of live algae in the tank as a source of food which he seems to be eating but I would to see him take the prepared foods as well and get a little more confident with the other fish. Am I expecting too much, too soon from him or does it seem to you like he may have trouble thriving in this situation? Phil Siani <A three inch Acanthurus sohal? This is really a small, perhaps too small specimen... if it's eating it should eventually adapt to the surroundings, tankmates it finds itself in... But I would move it to where it can be more dominant till it gains an inch or two in length... if you have another tank/system or even a sump with live rock for it to live in for a couple of months. Bob Fenner>

Tang Compatibility I have a question about Tangs. My LFS has a Sohal Tang (4in), and a Red Sea Desjardini Tang (4in). I was wondering if these two fish could be placed in 180 FOWLR tank along with my Naso Tang or will this create a problem? Will all these fish outgrow this tank? <These three should mix together well enough... all are found together in the Red Sea and surrounding areas in the Indian Ocean. Bob Fenner>

Sohal Tang Bob I have had a Sohal Tang in my 120 gal reef for about 6 months. There is also a Purple Tang. The Sohal thinks he is the boss.  <He is> He also has been a good eater until the last several weeks. He is looking like a skeleton now, and does not even bother the Purple Tang any more. I'm afraid that he is dying of starvation despite all the food. I feed dried algae, frozen foods, etc. Quite a variety. Is there something I'm missing here? The Purple Tang is healthy and well nourished. Is their diet the same generally? I'd hate to see this beautiful fish die. Thanks <<It may well be that the Sohal is missing something in its diet... do add more/some live rock with appreciable algae growth on it... And a plastic container, glass dish with very fine coral sand... these tangs need the "grit" in their systems... and your fish should pick it up and ingest it if you place it. Otherwise, do get your hands on either "children's vitamins" in a liquid prep. or a commercial product (like Selcon) that are about the same, and soak the foods you're offering in advance of feeding them. Bob Fenner>>

Sohal Tang killed a fish! Well - the Sohal Tang we purchased from FFE about 3 months ago just decided, in the last week, that it no longer cared for our Red Sea Sailfin and began to nip its dorsal/tail fins, and in the last 2-3 days started to bite the sailfin's mouth. The Sailfin quit eating of course and just hid a lot. We were not able to get the hospital tank setup in time and found the Sailfin dead this morning. We have a 50gal. tank with 6 shrimp (2 cleaner, 3 fire, and 1 coral banded), a Red Sea Cleaner Wrasse, a Coral Beauty, a few cucumbers and a flame scallop. We have a few mushroom colonies and 100lbs of live rock. We're in a constant battle to stock this thing - slowly, and seem to take two steps forward, one step back at each and every point. Our question, then, is - what's with this Sohal? Are the typically aggressive (by the way, he darts about quite a bit, but doesn't bother any of the other fish in the tank or any of the inverts (all are smaller then the sohal whereas the Sailfin was of similar, though slightly smaller, size). Will the sohal continue to be that aggressive now that it has taken over the tank? What can we safely add / not add to the tank going forward? Thanks! <<Yes to the Sohal being an aggressive animal as it ages/grows... and a fish that needs much larger quarters... at least a hundred gallons... and to be introduced to an established "social dynamic" about last... I am sorry to have to inform you that you will be hard pressed to introduce much other fish life to the fifty... Do you have plans for a larger system? If so, I would stock it, let it run stocked for a month or more, then try moving the Sohal there... Bob Fenner, who has an article on Acanthurus sohal archived at www.wetwebmedia.com >>

Sohal Tang Hello and thank you for always responding to my questions. I changed over to a 135 gallon tank a while back and I want to add a new fish. Currently, I have a large emperor angel (7-8 inches), a clown trigger, purple tang , green bird wrasse and a fire clown. I was going to add an Atlantic Blue Tang, but FFExpress was out of them and did not expect anymore soon, so I purchased a Sohal Tang. I had read some information about this fish and I figured it would probably by ok since all my other fish are rather aggressive in nature. However, today I read some accounts saying sohal tangs had killed other tangs. I was wondering what you think of adding this fish to my collection, and if the sohal would be a danger to the purple tang or any of my other fish. If so, I have a couple of days to change my order from FFExpress to something else. Thanks for you help, Heather Mann <<Well, there is some variability in the species (Acanthurus sohal), but by and large (more than 95%) of incidences, I'd give you the go ahead with the addition... This Red Sea endemic (have an article on it at www.wetwebmedia.com) is really a good animal if/where started small, particularly in an established (social dynamic) system. I don't think you will have any problem... the Purple tang species and this one are found together over most of their ranges...Bob Fenner>>
Re: Sohal Tang
Thanks for getting back with me so quickly! They said the fish should be only about 4-5 inches, so I think that would be rather small for a sohal tang. I'll go ahead with it and see how it goes. Thanks again, Heather Mann <<Think you'll really enjoy this fish... a beauty, and quite intelligent. Bob Fenner>>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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