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FAQs about the Sohal Tang Health

Related Articles: Sohal Surgeonfish, Genus AcanthurusNaso

Related FAQs:  Sohal Tangs 1, Sohal Tangs 2, & FAQs on: Sohal Tang IdentificationSohal Tang Behavior, Sohal Tang Compatibility, Sohal Tang Selection, Sohal Tang Systems, Sohal Tang Feeding, 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,

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Bio-load and wrasse compatibility. Sohal/Tang caudal spine    1/21/10
Hi Bob,
Sorry for the frequent e-mails, I figured I would keep this in the same message stream so you know what set up I'm e-mailing about. Last night I noticed that one of the defensive spines in front of my sohal tang's tail was 'stuck' in a partially extended position.
<Does sometimes happen with the Tangs that have mobile spines... not a worry... Generally corrects itself in time>
I wasn't home for most of the day, but when I fed him earlier in the evening he looked totally normal. In fact over the week he's finally gotten use to people being in the room with him and has stopped freaking out when I come close to the tank. He even begins eating off the algae sheets before I've finished suctioning the clip to the inside of the glass (he use to hide as soon as my hand entered the water).
I wasn't even sure what I was looking at first as I've never actually seen one of those spines extended. He is still behaving normally, but at this point I'm really worried that he's somehow injured himself and with the spine extended like that it will get caught on a rock as he swims around the tank. I also can't find anything about this particular condition/injury online so I don't know if it's normal (though I suspect not), if it can heal or if I need to intervene somehow. The water parameters are all the same as the first time I messaged you and the only thing I have added since we last talked are three SPS frags.
Thanks again,
<Not really a worry. 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 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 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>

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>

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

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.> 

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 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>

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 Thanks - Wayne

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>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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