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FAQs about Yellow Tangs 1

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Related FAQs: Best Yellow Tang FAQs, Yellow Tangs 2, Yellow Tangs 3, Yellow Tangs 4, Yellow Tang FAQs: Identification, Tang ID, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction, Black Spot Disease, Purple Tangs, Striped Sailfin Tangs, Zebrasoma Tangs, Zebrasoma Identification, Zebrasoma Behavior, Zebrasoma Compatibility, Zebrasoma Selection, Zebrasoma Systems, Zebrasoma Feeding, Zebrasoma Disease, Zebrasoma Reproduction, Surgeons In General, Selection, Tang Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Fish Worm Diseases

A healthy Yellow Tang in captivity.

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Yellow tang's fins... Hi Bob, Thanks for keeping the site, and I've gone to it about 100 times looking for all sorts of useful information. It's nice to have a resource like this. <I can imagine, and am happy that with friends/associates we can/do provide it> I have a problem that I'm hoping you'll be able to help with. I have a 75 gallon reef tank with a 10 gallon sump. I have a cleaner wrasse (who is almost indestructible, even though I've read a bunch of things to the contrary) <The few that "make it" to/through acclimation can be very tough... the vast majority perish before> a tomato clown, and yellow tang. I have a few corals, such as a series of mushroom polyps, yellow polyps, a sponge, a gorgonian, 3 bubble tip anemones (I love when they split)<me too>, and a devil's hand leather. Anyway, the yellow tang's fins seem to be eroding. I saw this a day or so after I put him in the tank. I watched it for a few days, and it seemed to go away. Now, it's back. His tail, although it's almost whole, it's translucent. <Can, may regenerate its color>  It is slowly starting to erode though. I have been recommended to use something called Melafix. It says it's safe to add to the whole system, but I'm not sure about that. Probably a bad idea. <I wouldn't use this material here, and don't consider its use "safe to add to the whole system"...> What is the appropriate way to diagnose and treat this problem? <Mmm, to consider the history of the specimen, test your water quality, carefully observe other livestock... investigate ameliorative action (improvements to water quality, nutrition), specifically treat the specimen... Please read through the Yellow Tang sections on WWM starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm and the FAQs files linked> It seems to move fairly quickly, so, not sure what to do here. I appreciate your response. Again, thank you for your site. Steve <Read through those cited sections and where they lead you. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang not eating and having goose bumps Hi Bob, How are you doing? I am sorry to bother you with a couple of questions if you don't mind. <Never a bother> I just purchased a yellow tang recently. I put it in my QT for a week. No signs and symptoms but no eating, either. <Mmm, this is a sign, symptom> A few days after I put it in my 75g fish-only tank, it started having tiny goose bumps on its body (it is like needles being poked from inside out), no other signs or symptoms but still not eating at all. I've been feeding the whole tank with soft & moist pellets rich of Spirulina, formula 1 and 2, live brine shrimps sometimes. I thought it could be a certain infection, so I put it in the QT again and treated it with copper safe and Minocycline. Now it is still not eating at all. It's been almost 1 1/2 weeks now. <Not good> Forgot to mention that when it first got introduced into the tank, it got harassed by a purple tang (only 1/2 of a size) a bit. Could it be because of this reason? <Possibly... possible contributing cause... along with the trauma of collection, shipping...> I did solve this harassment problem by removing the purple tang from the tank for a couple days, changing all decorations, and putting the purple tang back into the tank. The problem was reversed, the yellow tang did chase the purple a little bit. It looks like those goose bumps are gone now but it is still not eating. Another question is my tank has an undergravel filter run with 2 powerheads. The tank is new, less than 5 months old. It has been running fine with a magnum 350 external filter, w/o protein skimmer/UVS. I have been reading almost every single article on your website.  <Then you are likely aware of the benefits, my promotion of skimmers... I would put one on here... to vastly improve water quality... If you don't think the gunk it removes is worth the expense... please contact me> My wife loves the fish tank but complains that I am on the internet all the time. I told her that keeping healthy fish is not the same as keeping a healthy dog. <One is much more interested in water, agile at retrieving balls than the other> I learned that undergravel filter can be a headache later on when stuff gets built up in the gravel --> sulfide gas problem. The 2 powerheads I use are reversible. Do you recommend that instead of sucking the water up, I should have the powerheads pushing the water down ? <Reverse flow as you have them> Thanks for your time and have a Happy Thanksgiving! Quang. <Do try some live macro-algae (greens, Caulerpa spp.) for your Tang, as well as vitamin soaked strips of algae (Nori, kombu)... and consider getting a bit of live rock along with the skimmer. Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang Hello Bob, I hope that you may be able to help me. I have kept a yellow tang for a year now. He is huge! :) I feed him all kinds of food stuffs and soaked in Selcon four times a week. He feeds of most of the things grown in my refugium. I have a concern about him though. I noticed this morning that along all of his fins it looks like the skin is thickening in patches. I can send a picture if that would help. I don't know what it might be. <Perhaps just "growth". Would like to see an image.> It doesn't seem to be bothering him. Swimming and eating like normal. I don't know what ich looks like on a fish, only what it is described to be. Maybe I am wrong about him and should get him to QT tank. <I would not move this fish> I have added some new damselfish about four weeks ago so I am wondering if it is a delayed stress reaction or those fish gave him a present. I do have a neon goby that has been cleaning him. Could it be that my tang is irritated by being cleaned? <Possibly this or as you speculate, some part due to the new damsels> I hope you can help! I can send a picture if that would help! Owan <Please do. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang Dear Mr. Fenner, Let my say first off how much your last email meant to me. I hope you remember, sick tang, lost the job & my best friend. You gave me some advice that has made a difference in the past few days. Thank you. <Indeed, a pleasure to be of service.> I think I am able to take the latest development with my yellow tang far better because of your advice. :) I have a picture as an attachment to this email of her fin. Three holes (sorry if the pic is fuzzy) at the top. You can't see it in the pic but it is starting on her bottom fin as well. <Ah yes... can see it in the next/attached mail. Not ich, but "rapid growth" to "blame" here. Have seen this sort of missing bits of fins often... in the wild, and in collecting this species. Nothing to worry about.> I still have not ruled out ich, but no white spots all about so I am wondering. I would think it was some kind of infection. I checked the water quality but besides my low Alk all is well. I have never tested for iodine. I will go to my LFS and see if that might help her. She has been on Zoe & Zoecon twice a week for months. I get some Macro algae from a friends tank to help her out. She eats Nori and brine shrimp too. Formula 1 & all over my 80lbs of live rock. I will go out and charge for a QT if you think it will do her a service. Two other thoughts have run through my mind as well. One is that I added a bubble coral about two weeks ago. Could the stress cause that? Or a bump in the night against it's stinging fingers? Also I have a cleaner shrimp. A nip from it maybe? <Perhaps, but once again, this will heal/grow in place on its own with your good care and time going by> I called my LFS and they have a neon goby for sale that I have put on hold. Would it be too much stress on my tang, or a good help to any possible problems? <Of benefit> So sorry for the long letter!! Take care and I hope to hear from you soon. I'm off for an interview. :) Libby Nickas <Good luck, life my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Tang
Mr. Fenner, What a relief to hear that the tears on my tang were due to growth. I guess that would explain her odd behavior in the last few days. :) My LFS is quarantining the neon I spoke of for me. I will be able to pick him up next week. Thank you yet again for all of your help. I am so grateful for all you have done for me. Libby Nickas <Glad to be here. Bob Fenner>

Tang problem Hi there! I've got a yellow tang, just recently acquired. I went through a bout of ich and black ich with him which was treated with a small amount of formalin and freshwater dips. <The latter's root cause, a turbellarian worm, was worked up for a couple of theses by an old roommate in college. My general take on the species is posted on our site here: http://wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm> He has been fine for several weeks now but now seems to have developed what looks like reddish blotches around the base of his tail, on both sides of the body. <Likely a consequence/subsequent of your treatments... the formalin burns off/kills all it touches> the fish is eating well as usual, a varied diet of romaine, seaweed selects and flake food. He seems a bit irritable, but so far none of the other fish in the tank have any similar symptoms. I've been unable to identify the disease which might be causing it....could it be some kind of abrasion? <Yes, of a sort. An "environmental disease"... keep the system stable, optimized and all should clear up. Bob Fenner> thanks so much!

Yellow tang I wrote to you the other day about my aquarium with what I thought was a really bad case of ich. I am in the process of slowly bringing down the salinity and have the temperature currently at 80 degrees although all of the infected fish except for the yellow tang have died. The clown fish that is fairly new seems to be doing good so far. My problem today is a big one though. The other day as I told you the yellow tangs eyes got cloudy although he never got the white spots until today and just on his fins. This morning he looked a little better but didn't eat as he had yesterday but then this afternoon to my horror he has rather large patches on his side (about the size of quarters) that look like he was dragged across asphalt! They are off white and slightly raised and have a rim of blood around them. His mouth looks like it also has a rim of blood around the lip parts. He is swimming normal and his gills are moving at a normal speed but just looks terrible and isn't accepting food at all. At this point I just don't know what to do, it breaks my heart to see him look so ill. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. <Sorry to read of you and your fishes' woes. Please read through the following section: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and the links and FAQs beyond. Eminently important that you understand the root causes of your troubles here, and means to establish balance in favor of health in your system, livestock. Bob Fenner>

RE: Yellow tang I read the link that you sent but am afraid that it is too late for my tang. Although he is still alive for now he is on the bottom on his side just laying there. I brought in a water sample and all the levels were right on. <Of the phenomena that we test for...> My question now is is whatever is wrong with the tang going to be contagious to the clown fish? So far he seems to be fine, no spots of any type even in the dark with a flashlight but I am very worried about him. Would some form of medicated food prevent this? <Hmm, not likely communicative... Bob Fenner>

RE: Oh, no! I've got the "gimme's"! (small yellow tangs) Thanks for the response! However, now I have ANOTHER question (hope I'm not being a pest). I asked my LFS to see if he could get some smaller yellow tangs in the hopes that I could get one that wouldn't squabble with my little hippo (he was even smaller than 1.5 inches when I got him - I feel like he's my "baby"). Yesterday I went in there and he had three smallish yellow tangs - about 2 inches long. That's the smallest I've ever seen them. However, they looked like they had goose bumps on their sides. Not big zit-like bumps, but little tiny bumps not very closely packed. They were the same color as the rest of the fish, which was the brilliant yellow of a healthy yellow tang. No signs of ich, either. Are these bumps something that occur with juvenile fish of this species? Or is it a severe "red flag"? (Oh, and the fish were acting pretty normal, and eating as well.) <Natural... stress related...> I hope you had a great time in Key West. The Keys are my all-time favorite vacation spot so far, and I hope to move down there next spring if I can get hired by one of the defense contractors at the naval base down there. <Mmm... perhaps self-employment is in your future.> Thanks again for taking the time to answer my previous question! Sincerely, Gina <A pleasure my friend. I would buy one of these small Yellow Tangs sooner rather than later if you intend to keep one. Bob Fenner>

More then HLLE? Dear Mr. Fenner, I am wondering if you can help me understand something I have read in your book about Yellow Tangs. I have a 80 gallon reef aquarium, 20 gallon sump/refugium. Berlin Skimmer, 70 pounds of live rock. The only fish who calls it home is my yellow tang. My water quality after months of fiddling around has reached a perfect balance. No stray voltage (had it tested.) I am treated this tang for HLLE by way of Zoe vitamin supplements and Iodine. It is a slow process but thanks to your web sites support, as well as your book, I feel I have made progress. <Ah, good to read of your continuing progress> My question to you is about a passage in your book about an unwanted variety of yellow tang. A yellow-white morph. the kind that has the white band across the body and is rather startling to see at night. The tang I have now falls into that description. A gift from my husband who knew I wanted a tang for many years, and now he is having a guilt problem thinking he (the tang) is a sickly doomed fish. I wonder if you could go into further detail about what causes this. <Very, very likely what you are observing is "fright", night coloration... not the novel genetic anomaly mentioned in CMA> Is it the same factors as HLLE?  <No> If not is there anything I might do to benefit this fish? <Certainly. Most any/all things that benefit water quality, nutrition, the mental/emotional well-being of this animal and its tankmates. Principally the addition of live rock and macro-algae here... Or in a tied-in sump/refugium... would stabilize water quality, add foods... Please read over this and related sections on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/yellowtf.htm> The tangs I see at the fish store are a golden yellow (going by the Crayola crayon color scale) and mine is a pale lemon yellow. I hope that if you are able you could send an answer or direct me to a book or web site that could help. Any advice is so very welcome.  <Yours color will come back... through an understanding of the underlying causes of such loss... water conditions, nutrition. As stated, please read through the WWM site> Pictures of the Tang can be provided as well. Also I must add the white band that runs across her body is visible during the day (4X96 watt power compact lights). Thank you, Chris <Your intelligence and caring show through your writing. You will be successful. Bob Fenner>

Adding new fish I am going to be adding 2 new fish to my 150g tank today and was wondering what I can do to keep my yellow tang from bothering the new additions? The tang bothers every new addition relentlessly. No matter where the new fish go he goes after them. It drives me crazy. Thanks! Kevin Ballard <Either remove the Tang for a week or so while the new additions become established in the tank, or partition the Tang into a corner, float it in a colander etc. in the tank to keep it away from the other livestock... I know it's hard to catch... use two nets of size, a friend who's good with the other one...  Moving decor, leaving lights off, feeding... won't likely help here. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang Hello Robert, I have written to you before commenting on how much I like your site. keep up the good work!!) <Will endeavor to do so my friend> I have a question for you if you don't mind. I have searched online for answers to what is happening to my Yellow Tang fish but couldn't find anything. Maybe you could help? As you can see in the pictures there is some reddish areas towards the back of the fish. <Yes, good close-ups... petecchial markings (blood evident, likely septicemic) along this specimens lateral line on the flank...> It is redder then it shows in the photograph. These red blotches are on both sides of the fish. They don't seem external. It looks like the blotches are coming from within the fish. <You are correct> It kind of looks like abrasions but from the inside. The fish has been eating normally and the water parameters are all in acceptable ranges. I have not added any new fish to the tank and there doesn't appear to be any aggressiveness going on. He has been eating a variety of frozen foods and dry seaweed type foods. I am at a loss as to what is happening and I would hate to lose a fish to something I had no clue about. Thanks for all your help. <Do start administering a multiple vitamin and iodide preparation to this fish's diet... do you have live rock, macro-algae in this system? What sort of filtration? What supplement practices? What other livestock (this gives good clues as to what may be going on) and any of them presently mal-affected? Bob Fenner> Mike

Yellow Tang Dear Mr. Fenner, I wanted to write to you and tell you the news about my injured yellow tang. I know you receive many e-mails in a day, but you encouraged and educated me when my Tang was scraped by some LR. She died last night. I doubt it was an water quality problem. My water as been outstanding. I think the stress and lack of feeding just did her in. <Yes my friend. Sorry to hear of your loss> I wanted to thank you again for all of your help. It was a comfort to know that in case of an emergency, when none of the books or web-sites could lend a hand, you were willing to guide me. It means a great deal to me and others as well I'm sure. <And a great to me as well> I would like to ask a question if I could. I read through you Q&A each day and found something interesting. Someone mailed you about an automatic top-off for there system. I went to the DIY link on your site and found a few but nothing like what you suggested in your reply. Could you elaborate or send me to a site that would give me that set-up? <Mmm, wish I knew how to make drawings on these devices... a very simple device can be made by simple inverting a pop-bottle (all plastic) upside down, filled with water, with the end down, underwater in the sump... if/when the water level gets low (from evaporation) the water will leave, being replaced by air...> It would be something for my main and QT tank that I would love to have. Warm regards <Do take a look again on "Oz's Reef": http://www.ozreef.org/ for other ideas on topping-off water/make-up plans. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang and tomato clown Need help My yellow tang looks terrible.  From what I've read it sounds like a vitamin deficiency. Loss of color, fins look terrible etc.. Been feeding him green seaweed sheets though and no improvement. Ordered some vita-chem. to put in tank and soak food. Any more ideas? <Do try one or two of the new fish foods... Spectrum, Omega-Sea... And look for a vitamin AND iodide/ine supplement to add to food/water> Clown Tomato swimming funny upside down sideways almost does complete flip then acts fine. Does a lot of this unnatural swimming though. Acts like he has no balance or is just allowing the current to push him around. This is new behavior though. Both fish are still eating. I have a royal Gramma and some blue damsels they appear to be fine. I noticed a little gill scratching though. <The Clown is fine> 0 nitrites 0 ammonia. nitrates in the high range though 8.4-8.6 I think. I didn't have the info here. <Hmm, this is likely your water pH> Water temp fairly warm 84. I am having trouble with red algae so I disconnected my power heads from the under gravel filter. I bought some cheap GE aquarium light could this be helping the red algae? <Possibly...> Have protein skimmer, Fluval 304, used to have underground filter. Monthly water changes and filter cleaning carbon in the filter. I got ten turbo snails to help with algae they don't touch the red stuff. Keep the green under control but is this a good idea with the tang in there?- Couple of hermits 55 gal tank <No to most anything eating the Red (actually Blue-Green Algae, Cyanobacteria. Please read/heed: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> I've had fish before never a yellow tang though but I think his is a vitamin deficiency. The clown though is he just acting or some type of parasite? Copper treatment. Feed them all frozen brine flake and dry pellet food fresh seafood the tend is the only one that eats the alga sheets. Help, Roger <No to the copper, yes to altering, augmenting diets... do add (some/more) live rock... and look into culturing macro-algae... Study up on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com... and we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Recovering Tang Mr. Fenner, I would like to give you an update about my Yellow Tang. From the base of her gill to the base of her tail the gash looks to of scabbed over. It is quite dark in color. I think it is as normal as can be expected. <Yes> My Q.T. has conformed to my main tanks water qualities which are perfect. The only difference is the Q.T. has a lower SG. I have two question that I have not been able to find through my research the answer to. 1) Her right fin is immobile. When she was injured, the first two days after she was using it. Now there is nothing. This is causing the most twirling swimming that I have ever witnessed. She can get around, albeit not so well. She has scarcely eaten the past three days. Could this be a delayed pain reaction?  <Yes> Or based on my limited information could you guess and say that is sounds like permanent damage to the fin? <Likely and hopefully not permanent> I can give more detailed description if you would like. I want to keep this as short as I can for your sake. :) 2) The damage to the gill appears to become more red and irritated as time goes on. Could that be because of it's consistent movement? <Yes> I would think that it could not scab over, or could it? If so what would that do to her breathing? It is bright red with a darker red ring around it. I hope that makes sense. <Sense enough. No scar, scabbing necessary or likely> I hate to have to ask so much of your time like I have been doing but I can't seem to find any information about this kind of injury. My LFS will not give any advice unless they see the fish. I can understand that. I hope to hear from you soon and thank you in advance! Anna <Do keep thinking positively. Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang Thank you so mach for all your past advice. You will never know how much I appreciate all the help you have given me. <Perhaps. I am strongly empathetic> Sadly again I have another problem with my yellow tang. He just seems to get one thing after another then he heals then something else happens. This time he seems to be turning red, almost like he is bleeding except the pattern is exactly the same on both sides of him. It is not elevated and is mostly on the upper portion of his body from his eye to his tail mostly around the back end. The cleaner fish seems to be hovering around him a lot too. My water levels seem to be right and he is eating like crazy and otherwise behaving normally. I do small water changes every other week. I haven't seen any of his tank mates bothering him with the exception of the cleaner who he seems to enjoy. Any thoughts on this? <Either water quality and/or something missing in its diet and/or someone bothering it... I would place a "unit" of activated carbon in your filter flow path, grow some macro-algae in place for nutrition and improving water quality, and take a wait/see position. Bob Fenner.

Yellow Tang Hi Robert, I've wrote you a while back about Lucy, my yellow Sailfin Tangs' ongoing septicemia. I took your advice and she's doing better than ever. Thanks for your impute. <Glad to read of your success> I've had her for about two years and am thinking about adding a couple of more like her. Whenever I've added any fish of the same size (Angel; Bannerfish), she's attacked them viciously so I took them out. How do you think she'd react to her own kind? And, if you think it would work out, how many would you suggest I add? <In how large a system? I would leave Lucy by herself if this is less than a couple of hundred gallons... Too much chance of negative interactions... perhaps some other species of Surgeonfishes found in Hawai'i would do... read over the www.WetWebMedia.com re these and try to get specimens decidedly smaller than your flavescens. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Rich Aylward

Black Spot on a Yellow Tang Hello again- Thank you so much for your help on two previous questions. I have a 55gal reef tank. My yellow tang has had two outbreaks of black spot. When he had the first outbreak, I did a freshwater dip and it was gone. Now about a week later, it is back. I have read some articles that say that dosing Vitamin C will help with this and other disease problems. What is your opinion?  <No problem trying... though what you are seeing/experiencing is "just" the Paravortex/flatworm completing its cycle on its definitive fish host in an infested SYSTEM... you will have to move the Tang to another system or leave the tank w/o Yellow Tangs for a month or two. Read over the coverage of this species and this disease on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm> I am using Zoe and Zoecon (which contains Vitamin C), at the recommended dosages, in the water and food already. Any pitfalls or recommendations to watch out for with the dosing Vitamin C? <None really... in practical terms... you could feasibly pour in enough to alter water chemistry (like lower the pH)... this isn't going to happen, and fishes treat this water soluble nutrient about the same as humans... no worries. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang aggression I have a yellow tang that seems to be getting aggressive since he got rid of his ich. The shrimp are hiding from him. I got so more live rock today and changed things around and the shrimp were coming out more. I would like to get two fish tomorrow so the tang doesn't get too territorial. Can I get a Koran angel,. Sailfin tang (red sea), and or a bi-color angel for my 37 gal. tank...(18 inches wide) with the yellow tang , two shrimp and a damsel I already have? <Unfortunately no. All three will get too large for this size system. You might consider a couple of an easier going damselfish.> I thought I would get more than one fish so the tang wouldn't pick on one. plus I just added the rock to change his environment. Cheryl <All good ideas... and the Tang will settle down as it settles in. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang Hi Robert, I have your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and it is my bible. Great job! <Thank you> I have a yellow Sailfin Tang that has had septicemia a few time and I successfully treated it with Maracyn II. Now it seems that whenever she (Lucy) gets excited/stressed, she starts to turn red (seems like high blood pressure) until she calms down and goes back to normal without using any medication. Any ideas on ways to prevent this? <As you state so well... to reduce whatever seems to get Lucy excited or stressed... reciprocally, to keep her/its environment optimized and stable. Hiding spaces, greens/algae in the diet, occasional soaking of foods in vitamin, iodide dip...> Thanks, Rich Aylward <You're welcome my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia.com>

New Yellow Tang I just purchased a yellow tang about a week ago. When I brought him home he seemed healthy and was eating well. Yesterday I noticed that he isn't eating (that I have noticed anyway) and one of his eyes looks swelled up a bit and on the top part of the eye it looks like there is some white fuzzy stuff. He is spending most of his time behind the coral in the corner but does come out from time to time. Another thing I noticed is his sides don't look smooth, instead it kind of has a raised rash look to it. There is no color change and the bumps are the same color as the rest of him. Please help. Even though I have only had him for a week I am already quite attached to him. Thanks. <Yikes... I do hope this apparent "rough" condition is transitory, due to handling and transport... If the animal is "coming out" a bit and eating, I would likely not "add medicines" other than perhaps a vitamin preparation to the foods, water for now. Do you have a biological cleaner in this system? Maybe read up on these issues (cleaners, vitamins) through the search feature on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>
Re: New Yellow Tang 
I just read something on your site about a Mandarin giving off a poisonous slime of some type. Is this true?  <Yes, well documented... how else might this often-bizarrely bright and slow moving animals avoid predation?> I just purchased one of these fish not knowing anything about it besides the little bit of info that the man in the store gave me. (He didn't mention anything about this slime though) I tried not to let any of the stuff into my tank but some might have gotten in there anyway. Could this have any thing to do with the problem that I am having with my Tang? <Possibly, yes.> His problem seemed to come on so quickly. His eye still doesn't look good and he still has the bumpy appearance to him but he seems to be out and swimming around allot more this afternoon. The pet store told me to use something called Melafix (not sure what this is) <A tree extract... by friends at Aquarium Pharmaceuticals... have heard accounts of it helping as a cathartic... little of deleterious effects> but when your email said not to I didn't. How long should I wait to see if this will correct itself?  <I would wait a couple of weeks> And what is a biological cleaner? I couldn't find it on the site. <Hmm, strange... there is a section entitled exactly as this... Do try using the Google search feature on the site, or scan the marine index. Bob Fenner>

Disease Question Hi Rob, I have for several months now a healthy yellow tang that was quarantined for a month prior to placing in the main tank. Today I discovered very tiny black or brown dots lightly peppered on its body (not the fins yet). It also seems to rubbing a bit. I under the impression ich is white in color, but this is dark. Do you have any idea what this might be? Also, how to treat it. Currently I don't see any change in its eating behavior or its behavior in general. <Yes... may be "nothing" but a reaction to light, mood of this specimen... perhaps the not-so-dreaded/ful "black" (or in your case "brown") spot disease of this species. Please see the coverage on "Yellow Tangs" on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com including the associated FAQs. Bob Fenner> Please help.....If this is a problem, I want to address it early. Thanks always for your help. Ed <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Treating tank for parasite! Hi Bob, My yellow tang developed a white spot on its dorsal and it and the 2 clowns I have were "rubbing" against the bottom and rocks. I went to the LFS and he recommended Kent RxP ( since I have crabs and a shrimp in the tank). I am not sure if it is Amyloodinium or gill parasites or what,  <Perhaps both, perhaps neither...> but I thought I would catch it early. I put in 2 caps for my 75 gallon - about 50 gallons of water 1 cap for 25 gallons - last night. Today the white spot is gone and they do not appear to be rubbing any longer. The Kent formula is a natural formula - I think it is pepper and it relies on the skimmer (charcoal to be removed during treatment).  <You are very close> My reason for treating the tank is twofold - I don't have to disrupt everything and hopefully ALL the parasites will be gone. <We hope> I realize that there is a cycle to all of this - but I really hate adding anything to the tank. I could certainly use any suggestions you may have. Thanks again, Russ J. <Please read over my exhausting (though not exhaustive) comments on "Marine Parasitic Disease" and "Parasitic Marine Systems FAQs" posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for much more on this. I would take a wait, look, see approach at this point here... avail my/yourself of cleaner/s... perhaps engage the environmental manipulation detailed on the WWM site... Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow Tang has spots on fins! Thanks for the reply , Bob. <You're welcome> Boy I should proofread these before I send them. My spelling isn't normally that bad. <This happens> Anyway, the "spots" on the Tang were gone that evening!!! SOO I am not going to do anything right now. <Ahh,, good> Thanks for the quick response to my message. It is very comforting to know that someone with your expertise can and will take the time to help Newbies like me. !! <We are friends... and comrades in the adventure of life... even in the esoteric endeavor of ornamental aquatics. Bob Fenner> Russ Jankowski

Yellow Tang Turning Red. Why???? Hi, I am new to this hobby, 6 months and unfortunately have not heard of you but the great people at reefcentral message board told me to ask you this question. Here is the thread to what has been said I would appreciate it if you can take a look at it and tell me what you think: www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=20967 <Hmm, many good suggestions offered here... on the why's of your Yellow Tang being "reddish"... Do agree that this sort of "petecchial" markings are often directly related to poor water quality, nutritional deficiencies, possible bacterial problems internally... and the suggested choices for improvement: pre-mixing and storing your new synthetic seawater, improving diet.... I would do both of these, suggest you soak Nori, other human-intended algae in a vitamin preparation like Selcon... ahead of offering... Possibly add a Cleaner organism as well... Please do read over the "Yellow Tang", "Environmental Disease", "Foods/Feeding/Nutrition" sections and FAQs on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for background, and hopefully something's there will jog your memory/observations as to primary causes.> Thank you very much and I hope to learn about you and info from you. Thanks again, Brian a.k.a. stars360 <Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Tang Turning Red. Why????
Thank you very much. I will look at that section later on today but what type of cleaner organism do you suggest.  I cannot get a cleaner shrimp because my trigger or eel will eat it.  <Too likely, yes. Look into tank bred Gobiosoma spp. readily recognized by most fishes as helpers... not food... Covered on the WWM site> and the only other organism I can think of getting is a cleaner wrasse. but from what I hear they are impossible to keep. so what do you recommend. Thanks again, Brian <Bob Fenner>

Dashing Tang Bob Hope your hanging out on the web this Good Friday. My Yellow Tang keeps dashing around the tank in a panic. All other fish seem just fine. I fed them some frozen Mysis shrimp last night before going to the in-laws a three hour visit. I soaked it in marine vitamins as usual and all fish ate with their usual gusto. When I came home the tang was a pale color and dashing around the tank every time it saw movement. I figured sometimes fish get spooked, nothing to get alarmed over. This morning the tang is still in the same condition and all other fish appear to be acting normally except for some strange looks at the mad tang. I fed the tank some Tetra marine flake so to keep the feeding light. They all ate again with gusto, even the tang! <Hmm, strange but not unheard of behavior... from a algae-picking, free-roaming, schooling species...> What could be the matter? No spots, discoloration (except just more a pale yellow) nothing that would seem abnormal. Nothing was placed into the tank except for food so I don't think it could be some introduced chemical or anything. Tank is 55ga. with 10 to 12 gallons changed weekly. 45lbs live rock, Emperor 400 (no bio-wheels) and a Remora Pro skimmer with surface skimmer box. pH 8.2, ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate 20ppm, 79 degree water with plenty of water movement. Nitrogen test assure me everything is fine with ammonia and nitrites. I am very concerned. This tang is very gorgeous and has been getting nice and filled out over the last three weeks. Its fins are superb! I feed it frozen Formula One, frozen Mysis, frozen brine shrimp, dried green marine algae from Ocean Nutrition (daily) and some Tetra Marine flake. Vitamins are added to food three to four times per week. Thinking maybe possible stray voltage? (no grounding probe) <Not voltage... just time to adjust...> Help! <None needed... placing other Hawaiian marines would likely speed acclimation along... but do just try to be patient. Bob Fenner> Zimmy

Yellow Tang nutrition Hi Bob, got a question for you about a yellow tang. I will first give you a rundown on my tank, 35 gal, running for about 2.5 months. PH- 8.1, NH3 <1, Nitrite<1, nitrates 4-5, Salinity 1.023 ,76 degrees. Anyways back to the tang, she eats very well, loves lettuce and flake food, has beautiful coloring, (I just put her in this week). I started the tank with 3 damsels all of which are still alive, every once in a while she will take off fluttering around the tank once sort of sideways almost as if she is being chased and then she returns to normal, I have seen her do this twice. Have you seen this before, is she just playing or is it something I should be concerned with? Thanks. <Natural behavior for such a fish (Zebrasoma flavescens) being new to such a small volume, with three territorial fishes in place... Do yourself and this Sailfin Tang a big fave and stop feeding terrestrial greens (the lettuce) and look into human-intended algae like Nori... which you can cut into sheets and feed with a plastic clip... Much more on foods/feeding/nutrition and "Tangs" posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com... "read it", "believe it", "live it" (Fast Times at Ridgemount High, eh?). Bob Fenner>

Fish health question Hello Dr. Fenner, <Please, just call me Bob> I have been trying to research out a potential problem on my own, but with no luck. So I decided I needed to ask you for some advice. <Okay> My problem is with my yellow tang, about 3" and in my tank about a month. Purchased him from the same LFS I purchased everything else in my tank from with very good luck. The tank is 7 months, 46 gallon, fish, inverts, stars, leathers, polyps, mushrooms, cleaner shrimp, crabs. All of the chem.s are at zero, nitrates at 5 - 10, calcium at 360 380 (been building the level up), pH 8.2, temp 77. Have been working on getting rid of Cyano and green hair algae. Lots of air bubble coming from algae. Was hoping the yellow tang would eat some, will not touch any algae at all. Working on the Cyano with Carbon and doing R/O water changes, 20% every 2 weeks. <Hmm, do read the "Algae", "BGA/Cyano" and "Control" sections on the Marine Index on the www.WetWebMedia.com site and associated FAQs files here... Yellow Tangs don't eat the types of algae you mention, but there are useful approaches to their control... listed on the WWM site> The problem I have is that at first I thought the tang had ICH. But the closer I looked at him, it looked different than ICH. When I look straight at him in the tank, I can not see any signs, no spots or grains. He eats food like a little pig (no algae though) No unusual behavior regarding rubbing or scratching, swimming the same. <Ah, astute of you. And glad to read you didn't overreact in "treating" this symptom...> But when I sitting on the floor looking up at the tank, I did notice that he has almost a "sand paper" effect on his skin. But there is no discoloration and his skin looks yellow with no white specks. Whatever it is, it looks under his skin. I also notice this effect on his fins, but it look more like very tiny clear specs that you can see through. When I look close at the fins, they appear to be specs, but almost translucent. <Likely only your sharp vision and the fish's scales> All of the other fish are OK. I have noticed small bubbles on the tail fin of my Flame Angel. But those seem to come and go. They look similar to what is on the tang, but the tang's does not go away. This has been going on for about 4 days now. In your opinion, could this be ICH or what do you think it might be? <I would monitor your livestock... and maybe place a "Cleaner", add a vitamin prep. to their foods...> Thank you in advance for any advice you may have, Dave Konwinski <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Lines on Yellow Tang Dear Bob, When it arrived, I gave the yellow tang a dip with R/O water with pH and temperature adjusted to 8.2 and 77. <Okay... something like this in its shipping water we presume...> It's been 4 days in the quarantine tank (10 gallons of water from the sump of the main system, no detectable chemicals, sp. gr. 1.022, w/Skilter, small powerhead, and a chunk of well seasoned live rock.) <Sounds about right> Every other day I replace 25% with water from the main system. He has eaten very well since the first day, Spirulina flake and grape Caulerpa from the rock I gave him (he cleaned it off in one day). <Good> Perhaps because of my neophyte status I am overly concerned because the fish has irregular lines on its face and forehead which might be "erosion". Is this normal? If not, what should I do about it? While I have not yet needed them, I have a supply of all the chemicals suggested in your CMA book. <Probably no problem here... this species does display discernible "markings" to a careful observer as yourself... when stressed, tired, at night/dark... No worries due to its overall good behavior.> As always, your help is appreciated. Howard <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Sick Tang: Our Yellow Tang has been in the tank for almost 2 years. Over the past month or so, we have noticed that the top of his spine, when raised, is no longer smooth. Is this a sign of injury or disease? <A disease, yes... in a general sense... likely mostly borne of "old age", less than satisfactory water quality, a lack of some nutritional component or more, or... a combination of these and other influences... many things might help... Selcon to soak its food in... using Nori sheet as that food... growing Caulerpa et al macro-algae to feed it and improve water quality (in an algal filter as detailed on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com...> I see no other signs of illness and he still behaves normally. [I've been feeding Julian Sprung's Sea Veggies (purple), HBH Soft & Moist Large Pellets Krill, and Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets (mainly for the goby, but the Tang nibbles on them). Sometimes, I give them frozen brine shrimp. And sometimes, I soak the food in Kent Zoe before feeding them. Does this seem to be deficient? Is Nori sheet something I'd get at an Asian market? <Yes to the Nori being available from the Asian markets... that's where Jules and co. get theirs... And the Zoe should be fine... but do look for and add iodine/iodide every other day (just a drop of any preparation for pet-fish use) to the food as well... this will help> I will look into the algal filter you referred me to. Thanks. John <Very good. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang Mr. Fenner, I just purchased and received a Yellow Tang yesterday. I have green algae on the back and sides of my tank. My question is should I go ahead and leave food out on a lettuce clip for it or should I wait until it cleans up the green algae first? Thanks for your advice. Teresa <I would definitely be offering some "human consumption intended algae" as well as hoping this animal will find/discover your nuisance algae as well to be to its liking. Bob Fenner... who asks, "what if all you had in the way of cereal in your home was Cocoa Puffs? And you liked Raisin Bran? P.S., I like both.>

Re: Yellow Tang Thanks for your quick reply. When I purchased the tang, I also purchased some Seaweed Selects food for it. What would you suggest along the lines of "human consumption intended algae?" Thanks again. <This is identical... just with a fishy label and elevated price. Bob Fenner>

RE: Yellow Tang Mortality Bob, Can one put 2 Tangs in the same tank without them becoming aggressive towards each other? If I can't put another yellow, what about a blue or purple? Thanks, Steve <Yes, please read over the Zebrasoma and Yellow Tang/Zebrasoma flavescens FAQs files posted on the website: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

RE: Yellow Tang Mortality Bob: Thanks for the reply. Three follow up questions: 1) Why do the tangs look good when I get them?  <Appearances can, indeed be deceiving... there is a time lag between the copper poisoning and its resultant effects... We are "species centric" in our understanding... subjectively comparing our current experiences with those of the past... as homeotherms (warm blooded animals if you will) we are accustomed to A influence leading almost consecutively to be consequence... The world, universe is much broader my friend... Fishes show subsequences sometimes weeks, months, years later> 2) What do you mean by destroying gut fauna? 3) Is there anything I can do to save my current tang, i.e. special diet, medication, etc.?  Steve <Surgeonfishes have a mix of microbes, bacteria, protozoans... more that like E. coli in our intestines, or better, similar organisms in termites allowing them to utilize cellulose... With loss of these obligate co-digesters, the animal hosts suffer from nutritional deficiencies... Where do the Surgeonfishes et al. pick up these helpers? From ingestion in the wild (sediment, detritus, fecal pellets... Perhaps having a not-too clean system, with other healthy Tangs would re-seed the impugned fishes guts. Bob Fenner>

Quick Yellow Tang question Hi Bob Hope all is well. I have a 65 gallon FO setup, plenty of deco and filtration. I have one 6" Sohal tang, one tomato clown, one cleaner wrasse and one bi-colour blenny. Everyone is happy. I would like to make one more addition and am quite keen on something like another tang (angels and butterflies too hard for me just yet!). Do you think that the Yellow Tang could be introduced successfully to my system or should I consider another type of tang? Suggestions would be great. Thanks in advance. Andy Barnes UK <Thanks for writing. A Yellow Tang (or other Zebrasoma) is a good choice in its own accord and should go fine in your system (though there is sure to be some "jousting" with your Acanthurus Sohal initially... Do take a read through my ratings of all Surgeonfishes posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com with a large pot of tea on hand... There are many to consider... but the Sailfins as I mention, the Combtooth Tangs (genus Ctenochaetus) and some of the smaller Acanthurus would be worthy additions. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: quick Yellow Tang question Thanks Bob. I should have mentioned, my nitrates are quite high (100ppm) and I can't seem to lower them despite 1/3rd water changes every 3 weeks. Everything else is fine (Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, PH=8.4, temp=79F, Gravity=1.20). I have a wet/dry and will be installing a large skimmer next to the sump. The fish are all quite happy and healthy. Will the Yellow Tang be okay with the Nitrate levels? <Likely yes... in the shorter term... weeks to a few months... while I help you to reduce this metabolite's concentration. Please read over the nitrate section on the WWM site under the marine index, and "Algae Filtration"... and "Wet Dry" filtration, look to removing the plastic media or DLS here (if you use either)... and your hint to sump, macro-algae use... And the areas on Plenum, Refugium, Chemical filtration as well...> BTW - I have your website set as my default page so that it loads every time I go online. I read stuff from it regularly - thanks must go to you for your hard work, which many people must benefit from. <Ah, how gratifying to read, sense the kinship, camaraderie here.> Thanks, Andy. UK. <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang Hi Bob, I just bought a yellow tang about four days ago. He is very healthy he gets along with all my fish which are maroon clown, humbug damsel, volitans lionfish, Picasso trigger, niger trigger, porcupine puffer. But there is one problem he will only eat brine shrimp and nibble a little bit at formula 2 (plant based food). I put romaine lettuce in there but he won't eat it. I afraid he is not eating a well balanced diet which is necessary for them to still healthy and alive. Bob what should I do to get him to eat a well balanced diet.? What kind of plants will he for sure 100% eat with out any problems? Thank you Bob please respond soon. <Read over the Yellow Tang and survey pieces on Surgeonfishes and associated FAQ pages archived on the www.wetwebmedia.com site.  Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang Bob, I currently have a saltwater aquarium set up for approximately 9 months. I have had no problems with damsel fish. However Dwarfs angels I have. I currently have a 29 gallon tank. The yellow tang has been in the tank for approximately 45 days. The yellow tang still has a very good appetite but he seems to be losing his color. Is there something wrong? Do you have any suggestions on what I can check? Please let me know when you get a chance. Thank you in advance for your help! Craig <A bunch to go over here... a twenty nine gallon system is too small for all but the smallest dwarf-dwarf Centropyge angel species... and way too small for a Yellow Tang... I would aim your sites for smaller fish species and add some live rock to this system to improve its stability and water quality overall. Take a read through the marine and reef livestock selection materials stored on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang with blood spots Bob, I have a 120gal tank with a snowflake eel, small lionfish, hippo tang, and yellow tang. My yellow tang had blood spots, I put him in a hospital tank, treated him and then returned him to the tank. A month later when I bought the lionfish, the yellow tang got blood spots again. Once again I treated him. After returning him I noticed that he and the lionfish were having confrontations with each other. A few days later the blood spots showed up again. Is the lionfish causing enough stress to cause this? If so, what is your opinion on what to do? On the tank I have an aqua ultraviolet sterilizer but I guess its not helping much. Any help would be appreciated.  <Good observations here... it's possible the Lionfish is somehow contributing to the "overall stress" which I do think IS the principal cause of the "blood spotting"... but would look to improving water quality in this system and improved nutrition as a cure... add some live rock, macroalgae, sheet algae like strips of Nori (from the oriental food store) to this Tangs diet, and the spots will disappear.  Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang Hi Bob, How are you?  Thanks for answering my previous questions; I need your help again.  I purchased a 3" yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) from my local retailer a few days ago.  I placed the tang in my 29 gal. quarantine tank (w/ live rock). I came home today and noticed the tang has developed a pinkish/red streaks on the pectoral fins and similar colored blotches on the head.  The tang is eating well, but a little shy during my presence.  Should I worry?  Is this some type of disease?  If so, what measures should I take to remedy the tang? Thanks. Dan <Hmm, "not yet" is my best response... this petecchia is probably transitory... not evidence of some malingering or impending infection... I would wait for a week and see if the bloody markings "just go away"... If not, there are steps that we can go over to aid its recovery. Bob Fenner>

Fish Bob, Do you think a yellow tang will get along with my lionfish or will he get killed? I want to buy a 6" yellow tang. Do you think if I put 10 fish total in my tank, all around 6", will that work or is that too many fish for my 120 gallon tank? Also, will a porcupine puffer get along with my lionfish? Chris <A Yellow Tang should get along fine... with the Lion, as long as it is big enough to not get inhaled... and doesn't turn out to be one of the few "mean" specimens that becomes intolerant of slow-moving tankmates... And the Puffer as well for about the same reasons... Just assure that there is a good feeding regimen for getting food to your Lion once the Puffer becomes established (they're hogs)... and I would work up to about eight fishes of these sizes...Bob Fenner>

Help! Infestation, Yellow Tang Dear Mr. Fenner, In order to treat a Yellow Tang for an infestation I have had her in a 20 gal. quarantine tank with a Magnum HOT system (Biowheel 30 & Magnum filter with mechanical filtration media only) for nine days. Unfortunately, the filter had not sufficiently matured and despite frequent water changes as well as the addition of Cycle, I cannot seem to keep the water conditions stable. The tang seems unaffected, i.e., is active and eating well, and has not exhibited any scratching or flicking since the third day of treatment. My question is this: would I be better off returning her to the main tank before the two-week course is up or to continue to struggle with the quarantine tank, exposing her to both ammonia and nitrites (and complicating seriously the matter of keeping the copper levels consistent)? Thanks very much. Rob Duff <Hmm, what sort of "infestation"? Most Yellow Tang problems are easily rid by simple freshwater dipping. Please see our site re this species of Surgeonfish, Dips/Baths, and Quarantine... Home Page. Bob Fenner>

Ailing Tang Hello Bob, I have a yellow tang that was in a 30 gallon in bad water conditions. Now I changed it to a 10 gallon quarantine. He's breathing hard and is not as active, probably staying in the 30 gall too long.  What can I do now to get him ready, before I put him in the 55? He's breathing hard, and is eating very little. Not swimming that much, only like drifting in one spot.  I know it is my fault, but I want it to recover in quarantine before I add it to the 55. <Keep the animal in near darkness, add an airstone... and a bit of live rock with some greenery on it... lower the specific gravity to about 1.018 (this will aid gas solubility)... and keep your fingers crossed. Bob Fenner>

Problem with Yellow Tang Hello Bob, I am having a problem with my yellow tang. I have a 135 gallon marine tank, and just got started a couple of months ago. First I added some damsels, then one clownfish, and a yellow tang. Today I noticed that the tang looked a little white. When I examined him more closely I noticed he had a white film on him that covered some of his body and even part of his eyes. Besides some algae growth everything else looks good. The salinity, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels are O.K. and I add fresh filtered water weekly. I have had the tang for over a month and do not want him to die. Please let me know what I can do. Thanks, james <Hmm, do need to know more about your system and the other livestock... but would encourage you carte-blanche w/o knowing more to look into bolstering this animal's immune system by way of feeding... Do look into the oriental food store/section and purchase some "Nori" and/or other algae intended for human consumption there (just non-seasoned), and soak this in a bit of vitamin mix (Selcon or "baby vitamins"... liquid prep.s for human babies) and feed it in strips... the first few times the fish probably won't recognize the algae as food... but it will quickly learn. Also, if you don't employ live rock in your tank for food provision, improving water quality, do consider adding at least some. Lastly, a caution re "treatments" with chemicals in your system for perceived infectious, parasitic problems. Don't. Likely that after a month they are not a root-cause of your tang's difficulties. Instead, look to water quality as a cause, and consider manipulating it (lowered specific gravity, elevated temperature...) as detailed in materials stored on our site: Home Page.  Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tangs Hey Bob I'm putting together a Hawaiian bio-type FOWLR. It is a standard 48", 90gal tank. I bought the tank used and it came with one yellow tang, (3-1/2 inches or so). I wanted to put in three yellow tangs, as they are so common in parts of Hawaii. I have a line on an great, healthy, eating well XL-tang (6 inch) at a LFS that also has a stock of small sized (2-3 inch) yellow tangs.  My question is: If I introduce one of each size, on the same day, to the tank with the one yellow tang already in existence. Will I start WW 3? Or will they stand a decent chance of adapting? Will staggering their physical size like this help at all? There is a lot of live rock, lots of spots to hide. The existing yellow tang seldom ventures more than 8 or 9 inches from a little area he seems to call home--and his territory has a little cave that he hides from me in.  Thanks! Randy <I would definitely just add two of the smaller Yellow Tangs (Zebrasoma flavescens)... they will be far more adaptable to your circumstances and live much longer, happier lives... and draw out your existing animal.  I invite you to read over the Hawaiian section of my most recent book, posted on the site: Home Page , and the input there on this Sailfin species of tang. Bob Fenner>

Tang Scratching I have a 50 gal. reef tank. I have a yellow tang, and just recently seen it  scratch. I thought it has ich but I see no white spots. I can't get the fish  out of the tank, due to all of the corals and live rock. I also see the  fish is developing somewhat which looks like a rash along the back section.  What is this red stuff developing on it? Does it have ich? <Maybe not... and I wouldn't go to extraordinary lengths to remove it at this point... as if it does, so does your whole system... If they will fit, look into and place some biological cleaners (Lysmata shrimp, Gobiosoma gobies) and hope that these helpers will turn the tide of balance in your favor. Bob Fenner>

Problem with White-spot in tank Help me, my tank is new, 1 month old 46 gallon tank I have a hermit crab, 5  anemones and a yellow tang in my tank. There are white spots on my tang and  began scratching on rocks what should I do ?? The water is very cloudy and  the nitrite is 4.0 which was really high in the beginning but now it is  lowering. I bought a 10 gallon tank which now will be my hospital. I bought  MarinOomed so I am planning to medicate my tank. And watch it for a couple  of days is the right thing to do please inform me I am stressed out myself  and thinking I am going to have the white spots on my skin!!!! <Well, what you should have done (you no doubt know now) is to wait on the tank completely cycling... and run the Tang through a dip and quarantine period... ahead of placing it... Now, you should treat the tang in the Ten gallon system, leave all fishes out of your main system for at least a month, place a biological cleaner ahead of returning your Tang... and hope that the "ich/white spot" has not become entrenched in the system. There are a few other items to attend to in your treatment of the fish, lowering specific gravity, elevating temperature... all of this is detailed in articles archived at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com... under the "Marine Articles Index"... Please give these materials a once-over, and we'll cure up your one fish and have you on a/the right path soon. Bob Fenner>

My fish is sick Hi Bob I have a yellow tang that has red splotches along his spine and near his tail spikes. It almost looks like he is bleeding internally. However there does not seem to be anything else wrong. I recently had an outbreak of Ick that I used Copper Power to treat. All the infected fish seem better and the tank has had the treatment for over 2 weeks. Help Jerry <May be residual copper poisoning... or some sort of secondary bacterial (prob. Vibrio) infection... I'd just wait it out. Bob Fenner>

No longer sick but not eating Well, Bob, Bennett is clear of black spots and is looking perky this a.m. Dorsal's up and silky looking. But, he's not eating. Guess this is part of the process. Just thought I'd fill you in. He's not throwing in the towel yet, but is definitely giving me ulcers. 'Think I'll go campaigning. I'm running for Town Council and can't hang around the tank wringing my hands all morning. Ginny <Hmm, starting to sound like an outtake from Norman Rockwell's "displacement behavior" paintings.... Don't worry on both counts. Bob Fenner (who ran for City Council in San Diego once...)>

Yellow Tang Died I had a Yellow Tang die recently, I had it for six months and it appeared  fine, looked healthy and was eating. It's illness came on very rapidly and it  lost most of it's color then it refused to eat. Can you tell me what you think happened to it, it had  no visible external diseases and all my tests indicated everything was  alright in my tank. <Likely a cumulative nutritional disorder... very common with this species (and other tangs)... due often to the "urban-myth" of feeding them terrestrial greens like the nutritionally zero lettuces... A related possibility is the loss of gut fauna from exposure to copper, other medications, that kill off the necessary microbes in their "stomachs"... Does any of this sound familiar? There are other less likely causes of mortality... internal parasites, genetic defects... Bob Fenner> Pathogen Bob, Some of my Tangs (Yellow, Naso, Sailfin) and my French Angel (Juv. changing) have developed black specks. They showed up really well (had a lot) on the Yellow Tang so I've moved him to a hospital tank with Copper Safe. I can't move all these medium to large fish into the 10 gal hospital tank so I've dropped the salinity to 1.018, temp 79-80. The tank is 100 gals, has LR and houses Tangs (Yellow, Sailfin, Naso, Sohal), a Foxface, a Volitans Lion, a small Picasso Trigger and a Lemon Butterfly. Any idea what the black specks might be or how to treat? The fish are not scratching on the rocks and all have good appetite and are not lethargic. Thanks for the help. Tony <Might be the relatively free-living (versus pathogenic/parasitic) turbellarian (flatworm) Paravortex, the celebrated cause of "black spot" disease of Yellow Tangs... it does occasionally show itself on other species in high density situations... Another long shot are one of a number of Microsporidium infections... but the observation that it rapidly showed up on such different fish stocks... Nah... The Black Spot should "just clear up" on your other fishes... but leave the Yellow Tang out of the system a good month... and consider adding some cleaner organisms... Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tangs I have 2 Yellow Tangs. Is it possible to put them both in the same tank??? Can You ever put more then one Yellow Tang in the same tank??? <Yes indeed... have two downstairs here in a twenty. Depends on size (best about same) and putting both in at same time... and temperament of individuals... Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tangs I tried it. They fought, so I had to remove one. Any suggestions on what to do next??? I would like to put the 2 together, so I can have a tank that has good algae growth <Take out the one that was the apparent "winner" for a couple of weeks and then return it to the tank where the other has been living without it. Bob Fenner, who says... they may well be "incompatible".>

3 Yellow Tangs I have a 125 gallon reef tank with about 100-125 lbs of live rock. I have two Black Domino Damsels and 3 Yellow Tangs. The tank is about 3 months old. Last night I noticed that one of the tang's eyes seemed to have a "bubble" on it - it is cloudy looking and around the base of the bubble and eye has kind of a light blue tint when you see it at a angle. I asked the local fish shop and they thought that the tang must have bumped its eye on some of the rock, but they were unsure as to what to do to help this problem. All of the levels in the tank are within the correct levels and all of the other fish are doing fine, and they are all eating fine including the one with the "bubble eye". Will this go away by itself or is there something that I can do to help my fish? <Good powers of observation, and I agree with the sharpie at the shop... If it is only one eye, on one specimen, likely the pop-eye is due to a physical trauma... And I wouldn't try to "treat it" as in moving the fish or pouring chemicals in the tank... Likely it will heal, but might take a while (a few weeks to months)... Adding a Cleaner Shrimp would help... Maybe one or two Lysmata amboinensis... to clean away necrotic tissue and make the fish "feel more at ease".  Bob Fenner>

Intro Order Bob, I have a yellow tang, six line wrasse, royal Gramma and a damn blue damsel  that beats the hell out of the Gramma (but I can't catch him!). I want to  introduce a pair of maroon clowns and a hippo tang. Do you suggest removing  the yellow tang in order to do this? I have heard they can be nasty to newcomers. <Well, mainly matters on how big, how many nooks and crannies you have in this system... and the individual personality of your Yellow Tang... but I think if the tank is big enough (let's say a hundred gallons) you have good odds, not only of the Zebrasoma behaving itself, but even toning down that darn Damsel! Bob Fenner>

Still in trouble! Hello Mr. Fenner, In my last message to you, I told you about my yellow tang that I recently purchased. I told you that he developed a weird patch of something on his left side behind its fin. I told you before that it looked like the gunk that is left over after you peel a price tag off of something. Well, that was almost a week ago that I told you about this and asked for some help. Since then I think the patch has gotten bigger and it looks more like a rash now. I talked to three different pet stores to seek more advice. One store told me it was fungal, the next said it was bacterial, and the last said it was parasites and that I needed copper. Well, in looking at available medications, I came across a product called KANACYN. On the box it says that it treats both bacterial and fungal infections, so I decided to try this product first (getting two out of three). I began treating the fish in my 15 gallon quarantine tank on Thursday of last week. The fish still seems to be eating the sheets of algae that I put in the tank so I think that is good, but lately, more and more of his body is turning white (stress I am assuming) and I think his left eye, which is on the same side of his body as the rash, is also starting to turn white and cloud over. The fish doesn't really scratch himself on rocks but he does seem to twitch a lot and he hides under a pile of rocks pretty much all of the time. Well this is about all of the info I can think of to tell you, if you have any other ideas (I respect your feedback far more than any local pet shop) I would really appreciate hearing about them. Thanks once again for this extremely beneficial service. Spas <This definitely sounds bad... and may well be bacterial, maybe fungal ultimately... but likely "environmental" in real origin. It sounds more and more like this specimen was too roughly handled ahead of your acquiring it. I do hope it turns around... try to keep conditions "quiet" in the tank... and if you can soak the algae sheet with a little water and place the Kanamycin sulfate on it (as a powder) to try to get more of the antimicrobial into the Tang. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang in QT Hello Mr. Fenner, I have a problem with a yellow tang that I have had in my quarantine tank for  about a week. When I brought him home from the pet store I did not dip him  because I am unsure of the whole procedure. How do you do the dip.....do you  acclimate the fish to your system water, then put it in the freshwater dip  that has the same ph and temp as your system water, leave him in there for a  couple of minutes and then just put it directly in to your tank? About my problem, my yellow tang has developed a sort of brown patch (not  quite as big around as a dime) on his side. It is on the left side of his  body right behind his pectoral fin. The patch kind of looks like the sticky  gunk that is left behind when you peel a price tag off of something and it  looks like a light brown color. Yesterday he did not seem to be bothered by  the spot but today it looked like he was trying to rub it on decor in the  tank. What do you think this problem is and what should I do? Ammonia is  zero and Nitrite is zero, Nitrates were about 10 ppm. I changed 3 gallons of  water last night. He is in my 15 gallon quarantine tank which is filtered by  a hydro sponge filter. What kind of medications do you recommend and how  long should I do it. I am completely new to treating disease so any advice  you can give would be greatly appreciated! Thank you very much for helping those that need it with this service! Spas <Actually, what you describe is likely just a form of "stress coloration"...  and I wouldn't go overboard at this time in removing, treating the specimen. My standard route for acclimation, dips/baths and treatments can be found  in articles archived at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com Good luck, Bob Fenner>

Observation on yellow tangs... Hi Bob, I wrote you a few weeks back, explaining I had a large loss of fish in  my show tank due to ich. It was a strong infestation. Only fish that remained  was a small Lunare wrasse, and a Fiji damsel. I am somewhat a expert,  maintaining 25 or so salts / reefs for people for about 15 years...anyway,  after letting my tank "dry out" for 3 weeks (large h20 changes, new UV, and  poly-filters, etc) and just observations for spots on the last two. I went to a LFS to get some food and saw a 29 gallon tank with a dozen or  so Yellow Tangs getting along well, and clear of any spots, etc. They had the  3/$50 deal so I thought it would be a inexpensive test putting them in...I made  two observations after that which changed my view on 2 points. Always when  buying Yellows or other tangs, I stayed away from ones with pinched stomachs,  thinking they were not eating or having digestive problems. I picked out 3  that did not have pinched stomachs. When I put them in a holding tank after  the trip , 2 of them did have it!...They all ate right away. I then  transferred all 3 later to the show tank and the 3rd had it to. So, it must be  short term (I hope) stress related reaction. Second note, all three were getting along pretty well in the holder, but  the largest somewhat picking on the other 2. I found it odd that when I put  them in a 125 gallon tank , pretty much all to themselves, that they hung  together constantly, and still displayed some "tail slapping"...my thought  here is that the "minor scraping" is a natural behavior of some sort, because  they all could have found there own space. what you take on these items. Sorry for such a long note. Thanks...Joe Marshall <Hmm, lots of interesting observations here. For one, three weeks is not long enough to "let the system go fallow" in the hopes that a persistent ich problem will dissipate completely... more like two plus months are really required in an established system... But maybe the Yellow Tangs did "bring along" the new ich problem with them. Do agree that some "scratching" is natural. And have seen, many times, similar behavior amongst Tangs like you describe. They do "associate" like this in the wild... and are less inclined to "joust" when crowded in small volumes of water... but are probably much more stressed in these circumstances. Hope you are able to try some biological cleaners to straighten out the ich problem at this point... I would hold off on any other fish livestock from this system (and as an old timer, retired, from the service end of the interest, isolate any gear... nets, specimen containers.... mixing water between your other, and customers' systems). Bob Fenner>

White/Yellow Tang I have a yellow tang that is white (the front half, anyway) 23 gallon 1.024 salinity 79degrees.  He is alone in the tank, except for a little live rock.  My four year old daughter "fed" him with some sodium bicarbonate. (yes, I know, why was it  left within her reach... I had been setting up a 5 gallon experiment and left the room for more  stuff) It was enough to turn everything white (chemical rain from hell). So after some  scrubbing and a 20% water change not to mention some serious powerhead scraping, the  precipitation stopped. So, needless to say, my water is well buffered... but how would this affect the tang? As a side note, this is an extremely friendly tang, as almost nothing will stress him out. (he is  the fish that chases the cat) and has been disease free for the entire time I have had him. Thank you very much, Chris P.S. I just wanted to thank you again for all the priceless info you give out!! <Thank you for writing, and I'm very glad it wasn't the child that ingested the Baking Soda... and not to worry re the Yellow Tang... though the "bicarb" is alkaline... it isn't that "strong" or "fast" a base to do immediate, ongoing or long term damage... if the animal is alive (which It likely it is... if it lived long enough for you to do the water change, etc... and write this message)... It should be fine. As a related side note, this and other tang species actually consume an appreciable amount of calcareous gravel bits in the wild that play a triturating (chewing) and biomedia role in their "stomachs"... An important consideration for aquarists who eschew the use of substrates... and people who keep tanks under long copper exposure (killing the beneficial microbes living amongst the grit in their tummies.... Bob Fenner, who is very glad to be "out here".>

Yellow tang Hello, I wrote you sometime back about the bad luck I was having keeping my  fish alive.  They all died accept my cleaner shrimp who is still kicking. So I  drained the tank washed all of the coral and everything inside and out. I  also went over kill on the filtration, I now have a 150 gallon tank with a  underground filter with 4 power heads, a rainbow fluidized bed, a magnum  canister running all carbon and a skimmer. Here is my problem, to cycle the tank I added some maturation fluid and went down to the local store for some  sacra-fish. I got 3 blue-yellow tailed damsels and a yellow tang, also 3  black mollies that I converted over to salt water. Well, the tank has cycled  all of the levels are zero and nothing died. Now my yellow tang thinks he is  Rambo or something when I try adding additional tank mates. He goes on a  rampage before I can get the net out of the tank. We only have one small  fish store that I won't go to because I think there business practices are  bad and the huge pet place where I got them. But I went back and told them  the problem and the 16 year old with 4 pounds of metal in his face said  bummer dude. I would like to add some more fish but don't want them to be a  target for the tang. What should I do?  Thanks O wise one, Mark Pinkston <Hmm, interesting email... Well, you can probably upset the balance of the established Yellow Tang by raising the bar with a next level "meaner" specimen... of adequate size... like another tang species, trigger, puffer, or angelfish... You might likewise be successful adding three or more of something all at once. Like Heniochus butterflyfishes.... Or something prickly, unpalatable like a boxfish, or Sharpnose puffer... Or something's really fast like a Thalassoma wrasse... Or catch the Yellow up in the corner in a BIG net and let him "hang there" for a day or two while the newbies get situated. Bob Fenner, who will lift a little something from Kahlil Gibran for your bejeweled clerk. "By adornment, we acknowledge our ugliness". From "Spiritual Sayings">

2 Yellow Tangs Hi Bob- Could I keep 2 yellow tangs in a 125 FO without much of an aggression  problem. Or would I need about 5 to 6? Thanks. <Two should be fine, even interesting in a 125... in fact, you could have three... at about the same level of agonistic behavior. Bob Fenner>

4 Yellow Tangs I purchased 4 yellow tangs for my 150gal tank, the pet store assured me that  it was safe. However they are nipping at each others fin and they are  beginning to look very ragged. What can I do, should I put more in so they  can get along. I was also wondering if it was beneficial for my tank if I  don't scrape off the green algae growing on the 3 sides of my tank( for  Phosphate removal). Thank you <Almost feel like Gandhi (Mahatma) here (though I am never to be worthy of his attention)... but either remove one or add one more... strange as it may seem, small odd numbers of this species (amongst other shoaling fishes) are best kept together... That and offer greens (best, sheet algae from the oriental store) daily. Bob Fenner>

Stress Marking Hi Bob, Could you please help me with a problem with my yellow tang? I just purchased him yesterday and he has this weird stripe down his sides. It is yellow when the lights are on for a while but  when I first turn them on in the morning it is white. (see photos) He was not like this when I purchased him but the stripe  appeared when he was in the bag on the way home. My tank is fairly new but after having water tests the guy at the store said I  was ready for fish. Please let me know. Thanks, Erik <No worries. This is just "stress marking/coloration"... and you will see it first thing in the morning when you turn the light on... or when a new fish is introduced into the tang's environment... or when you clean the tank... Nothing to do, but seek to make the tank optimized and stable as an aquatic world. Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang and reef I just purchased a lovely little yellow tang from the LFS, and right now he's in my quarantine tank so I can observe him for a little while (2-3 weeks). I plan on putting him into my 29-gal reef tank (the only other fish inhabitants are a purple Firefish and small tomato clown). My question is, should I do anything as far as treating the quarantine water as a preventative measure copper, etc.) Or should I just watch him for a few weeks, and then transfer him via freshwater dip? Also, should I put anything in the freshwater dip, or will it be enough to just be fresh? The only reason I felt comfortable getting a tang for my reef tank was because I have the quarantine tank. So I just want to use it to its best! Thanks! Kathy Hatzigiannakis <Well am I asked, and well shall I try to respond. You are right to be concerned re the introduction of the Yellow Tang. Surgeonfishes are notoriously susceptible to ich, and bringing it into established systems. I would run the incoming fish through a freshwater (plus or not) dip before placing it into quarantine... and probably just keep the quarantine tank water at a low spg. (1.017 or so) and leave it at that. Other fish groups I routinely keep coppered, but not generally Tangs...Bob Fenner>

External Parasite Bob, Chris again, thanks a lot for the info on the hippos, will definitely consider them for my reef. Another question though, my 3" yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) seems to have some sort of external parasite that doesn't seem to be bothering him too much, except he has become extremely shy. covering his sides are tiny dark specks. They aren't even visible until close observation. He is the only fish in the tank but there are a large amount of inverts. Any treatment ideas? I really miss his roaming throughout the tank.  Thanks again, Chris.  <Wow, the return of Paravortex! Seems like only yesterday my old (now) friend Mike Kent was looking for a Masters and then his PhD (piled higher and deeper?) thesis topic, and set on this turbellarian flatworm that is almost just a commensal (not very parasitic) on the Yellow Tang. He was "foolish" enough to write and have published (in Aquarium Systems' quarterly infomercial SeaScope) the oh too easy cure... a simple freshwater dip... And so thereafter we couldn't find any Yellow Tangs with Paravortex (aka Black Spot Disease of Yellow Tangs) to study! Want more, read the topic articles on the wetwebmedia.com website. Bob Fenner>

Black Spot Disease/Paravortex Bob, Thanks so much for the resources, I'm glad somebody is as excitable about such subjects as myself! but would you believe that I'm not a sophomore in college but a sophomore in high school! And my internship is high school credit related. My marine science classmates can't stand me because I'm so obsessed with the ocean, and I have the highest grade (my marine science teacher told my whole class that I knew more about coral reefs than he did!) I can't wait to get started on the thesis. Still think I should submit the article for publication in FAMA, etc.? How do I prevent the Paravortex on my tang from returning? Will a pair of boxer shrimp do the job? thanks again, Chris  <Yes, absolutely you should submit your findings and cogitations on what you've read... to FAMA, AFM, even TFH! The Paravortex will probably not reappear if you dip the hosts, place them in another system for a few weeks and replace them to their original system. Boxer shrimp (family Stenopodidae) will definitely help. Less aggressive Lysmata (like the ever-popular L. amboinensis from the Pacific) are less testy if you have touchy (make that edible) livestock.  Bob Fenner>

Tang not eating My yellow tang isn't eating well, the only food he'll eat is the hair algae in the tank, no prepared foods or even lettuce, Any suggestions? He's getting really thin because there isn't much hair algae in the tank.  Thanks again, Chris <Yes, a few suggestions. Try some Nori (from a fish store, Ocean Nutrition, Two Little Fishies) or an oriental food store/section. Tie it with a rubber band to a piece of coral decor or rock and sink it on the bottom. Bob Fenner>

Yellow tang with parasites I am 2 months into the reef keeping hobby. I have a 37 gallon micro reef (Eclipse 3) with 22 pounds of live rock. Tank mates include: one yellow tang, one diamond goby, one green brittle star, one pencil urchin, and a few snails and hermit crabs. The yellow tang first got small black spots on him 4 weeks ago. I dipped him in Seachem's Paraguard, and fed him Tetra Anti Parasite flakes for 10 days. Low and behold the black spots appeared on him 3 days after the dip, while still being treated with the medicated flakes. I have dipped him 4 times since, each time the black spots reappear within a few hours. Any advise would be GREATLY appreciated. Also have the Eclipse systems proved to be adequate filtration systems? <Hey there. Well, there seems to be a bunch of incidences of black spot disease on yellow tangs (Zebrasoma flavescens) this year. Must be a new or lazy collector in Hawai'i not doing the simple freshwater dip that knocks these flatworms (Paravortex) off at the source... So, you will have to do it, and maybe move the Yellow Tang to another system for a few weeks for the worms to die out in your main system (they have short life span intermediate forms that drop off, metamorphose and look/swim out looking for new hosts). Do you know how to do freshwater dips? If not, there are instructions in an article concerning baths/dips for marines, as well as a piece on Yellow Tangs that covers Paravortex infestations on my wetwebmedia.com website. Don't worry and don't overreact regarding this black spot problem. By itself it is not nearly as debilitating as the medications people (including you) subject their hosts to. This parasitic disease won't spread to your other livestock. Bob Fenner>

Black Spots I have bought several yellow tangs and each one I have had has developed black spots on them. I have a reef tank . I have consulted a local fish store and they told me it was black ick. They suggested that I place the fish in a fresh water dip for seven minutes with a air stone running in the fresh water. Could you please advise what you think this might be, and how to stop it or what to do if it comes back? This has happened on three or four yellow tangs. I have other fish and they have never developed this. <Hey Stacey, can tell you as this causative mechanism was an old roomies Master's and Doctorate organism du jour. "Black spot" disease of yellow tangs is none other than a turbellarian (I know, usually free living) flatworm (Phylum Platyhelminthes) of the genus Paravortex. After Mike Kent did his thesis/es and these made the pet-fish literary circuit, this little black worm about disappeared from the hobby as collectors and shippers of Z. flavescens ran them all through a preventative freshwater (plus other stuff in some cases, like copper solutions) prior to shipping them (mainly from HI's big island) to the U.S. Anyhow, it turns out Paravortex is not very debilitating, but can be a concern, and is easily eliminated by that bath that should have been done in hula-land. I'd go ahead and "dip" them. Bob Fenner>

Red Blotches I have a yellow tang that has developed small red blotches along his dorsal and ventral sides, and around his mouth. His appetite and behavior are unaffected by this red coloration. I am just curious to what this is, and if it needs to be treated. I have a blue damsel fish, and a clown fish that are not affected, by this red coloration. <Rich/Cynthia, how long have you had the tang? This could be just a stress-induced trauma making the markings, could be cumulative result from capture/handling stress resulting in "secondary" bacterial infection (still a problem), or...a few other possibilities. On the basis of other fish's good apparent health, not much to do, but keep on keeping on with routine maintenance and feeding and see if the animal self cures. I would not utilize "medications" of any sort other than food supplements in/with natural "greens".  Bob Fenner>

Surgeonfishes: Tangs for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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