Yellow tang in hospital tank, unsure of issue

JustinMN18

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Hello,

I have made a couple posts and comments about this, but figured I'd give it one last try to see if people can maybe help me pin point the issue my tang is having. Here's a breakdown.

About 6 days ago I noticed my YT hiding in the shade and not eating normally. Usually very active eater with reef frenzy, nori, and pellets.

5 days ago I tested for ammonia (Red Sea) and stray voltage. If I am testing the voltage right, I'm getting 0.00. Ammonia was 0.2. I posted on here, and was assured it wasn't toxic ammonia. I tested ammonia again the next day (4 days ago), and it looked like 0.4. I dosed prime, did a 10% water change, cleaned some sponges and filter socks, and the next day (3 days ago) I got a reading of 0. Tested ammonia again two days ago, and it read 0.

My yellow tangs symptoms:
1) swimming weird, kinda like shaking its head or "scratching against the water" is how id put it.
2) hiding all day under rocks
3) lack of interest in food all together
4) faster breathing
5) slight red coloration on the bottom fin by the tail, very slight red coloration towards the back of the fish sides.

Parameters during this time (other than ammonia which is above)
Nitrate: 30
Phosphate 0.26 (using nopox currently to slowly bring down)
pH: 8.0-8.1
Salinity: 34
Alk: 8.8
Calcium: 450
Magnesium: 1350

I added an IceCap CO2 Reactor about a week before I started noticing these symptoms to bring my pH up from 7.85-8.0. Initially there was a larger swing up to 8.3 but has since come down to the range listed above.

All other fish are swimming and eating normal. No specs of white on anyone. No one swimming into my gyre flow.

I put the YT in QT on 7.14, copper at 0.86. I did this in case it had velvet or ich. It has been in copper now for 3 days and the copper is at 1.5. Yesterday I added 1 dose of Kanaplex to the tank in case of a bacterial infection. I'm running a HOB filter, heater, air stone, and a very small powerhead in my 10 gal tank.

I tried metroplex, focus and garlic, but the tang wouldn't eat.

This morning I did a freshwater dip to see if I found flukes. I haven't seen anything like Humble Fish has posted in his forums, therefore I continued copper and didn't swap to prazipro.

I'm sorry for the long post. This week after the tang was put into QT I upgraded my UV from a 15 watt to 25 watt on my 100 gallon tank. Ik it's not the ideal wattage, but I figure it's better than what I had before. 60gph to 150gph.

Long story short, I have no idea what's wrong with the tang. I really thought it was ammonia at first, but my other fish seem completely fine, as well as my nems, star fish, urchins, shrimps, crabs, etc. If anyone has any advice on next steps, thoughts about what it could be, or other things to look for I'd greatly appreciate it. I've googled a lot and feel really burned out by all of this.

Thanks
 
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JustinMN18

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One thought that I've had is this... Is it possible that the ammonia spike that I had was truly toxic, causing the tang to "start" acting weird, and as the ammonia was removed, the symptoms were just delayed in the same timeline? I guess maybe that could explain some of the symptoms I saw (according to some googling). My tang hasn't had cloudy eyes, issues with the fins looking frayed, and wasn't gasping for air at the top of the tank. None of my other fish have been showing these symptoms.

These are my fish (other than the tang)
-Foxface (seems a little reclusive, but is eating and swimming around)
-Flame Hawkfish (2)
-Pearly Jawfish
-Clowns (2)
-Royal Gramma
-Firefish
-Starry Blenny
-Melenarus Wrasse
-McCosckers Wrasse

And then I have 2 tridacna clams, 3 BTAs, 7 rock nems, LPS and softies, 1 starfish, 2 urchins and some shrimp. None of them have had any problems. That's my main "idk" feeling about the ammonia spike being the cause for the symptoms that the Tang is displaying.
 

Jay Hemdal

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Hello,

I have made a couple posts and comments about this, but figured I'd give it one last try to see if people can maybe help me pin point the issue my tang is having. Here's a breakdown.

About 6 days ago I noticed my YT hiding in the shade and not eating normally. Usually very active eater with reef frenzy, nori, and pellets.

5 days ago I tested for ammonia (Red Sea) and stray voltage. If I am testing the voltage right, I'm getting 0.00. Ammonia was 0.2. I posted on here, and was assured it wasn't toxic ammonia. I tested ammonia again the next day (4 days ago), and it looked like 0.4. I dosed prime, did a 10% water change, cleaned some sponges and filter socks, and the next day (3 days ago) I got a reading of 0. Tested ammonia again two days ago, and it read 0.

My yellow tangs symptoms:
1) swimming weird, kinda like shaking its head or "scratching against the water" is how id put it.
2) hiding all day under rocks
3) lack of interest in food all together
4) faster breathing
5) slight red coloration on the bottom fin by the tail, very slight red coloration towards the back of the fish sides.

Parameters during this time (other than ammonia which is above)
Nitrate: 30
Phosphate 0.26 (using nopox currently to slowly bring down)
pH: 8.0-8.1
Salinity: 34
Alk: 8.8
Calcium: 450
Magnesium: 1350

I added an IceCap CO2 Reactor about a week before I started noticing these symptoms to bring my pH up from 7.85-8.0. Initially there was a larger swing up to 8.3 but has since come down to the range listed above.

All other fish are swimming and eating normal. No specs of white on anyone. No one swimming into my gyre flow.

I put the YT in QT on 7.14, copper at 0.86. I did this in case it had velvet or ich. It has been in copper now for 3 days and the copper is at 1.5. Yesterday I added 1 dose of Kanaplex to the tank in case of a bacterial infection. I'm running a HOB filter, heater, air stone, and a very small powerhead in my 10 gal tank.

I tried metroplex, focus and garlic, but the tang wouldn't eat.

This morning I did a freshwater dip to see if I found flukes. I haven't seen anything like Humble Fish has posted in his forums, therefore I continued copper and didn't swap to prazipro.

I'm sorry for the long post. This week after the tang was put into QT I upgraded my UV from a 15 watt to 25 watt on my 100 gallon tank. Ik it's not the ideal wattage, but I figure it's better than what I had before. 60gph to 150gph.

Long story short, I have no idea what's wrong with the tang. I really thought it was ammonia at first, but my other fish seem completely fine, as well as my nems, star fish, urchins, shrimps, crabs, etc. If anyone has any advice on next steps, thoughts about what it could be, or other things to look for I'd greatly appreciate it. I've googled a lot and feel really burned out by all of this.

Thanks
What copper product are you using? If you aren't at full dose, your fish won't get any real benefit from it. Copper takes up to 72 hours at full dose before things will start to go into remission - trouble is, some fish don't have that long, especially if there was a delay in ramping up the dose.

For a FW dip, you will not see dead flukes unless the fish has Neobenedenia, the other species of flukes are too small to see without a microscope. It can also take 2 to 3 days post-dip, before any improvement is noted.

I prefer to see zero ammonia. 0.20, at a lower pH is tolerated by most fish, but 0.40 at any normal marine pH is going to be an issue.

Are ALL the other fish completely symptom free? That makes me wonder if there is actually a parasite issue here - I would expect to see some carryover with the other fish at some point.

Jay
 
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JustinMN18

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What copper product are you using? If you aren't at full dose, your fish won't get any real benefit from it. Copper takes up to 72 hours at full dose before things will start to go into remission - trouble is, some fish don't have that long, especially if there was a delay in ramping up the dose.

For a FW dip, you will not see dead flukes unless the fish has Neobenedenia, the other species of flukes are too small to see without a microscope. It can also take 2 to 3 days post-dip, before any improvement is noted.

I prefer to see zero ammonia. 0.20, at a lower pH is tolerated by most fish, but 0.40 at any normal marine pH is going to be an issue.

Are ALL the other fish completely symptom free? That makes me wonder if there is actually a parasite issue here - I would expect to see some carryover with the other fish at some point.

Jay
Thanks for your response. I am using Copper Power, and testing with a Hanna checker. All of my other fish appear to be normal. My foxface has been a little reclusive the last 2 days. No flashing, and is eating. But he's a hard one to monitor because he has always gone into camo mode pretty easily.

If I put nori on the clip, he will come and tear that thing apart. He doesn't hide like my tang did, but has been staying close to the rock where the tang typically was.

None of my other fish seem to be having any other issues. I did notice my melenarus wrasse flash once or twice the day I did my water changes, but since then he has been actively swimming and eating throughout the tank. All fish appear completely normal.

That's kind of why this ammonia thing keeps bugging my brain. Maybe the tang was just the most sensitive to it, and I didn't give it enough time to heal? I'm not sure. Tang doesn't appear to be flashing in QT, I'm not seeing red anymore, but the tang still won't eat (I'll try again in about an hour and a half with pellets).
 

Fish Think Pink

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Thanks for your response. I am using Copper Power, and testing with a Hanna checker. All of my other fish appear to be normal. My foxface has been a little reclusive the last 2 days. No flashing, and is eating. But he's a hard one to monitor because he has always gone into camo mode pretty easily.

If I put nori on the clip, he will come and tear that thing apart. He doesn't hide like my tang did, but has been staying close to the rock where the tang typically was.

None of my other fish seem to be having any other issues. I did notice my melenarus wrasse flash once or twice the day I did my water changes, but since then he has been actively swimming and eating throughout the tank. All fish appear completely normal.

That's kind of why this ammonia thing keeps bugging my brain. Maybe the tang was just the most sensitive to it, and I didn't give it enough time to heal? I'm not sure. Tang doesn't appear to be flashing in QT, I'm not seeing red anymore, but the tang still won't eat (I'll try again in about an hour and a half with pellets).

I defer to Jay on all things, but concur yellow tangs are very sensitive based on my yellow tang vs other tangs and other fish/inverts/reef inhabitants I have

My yellow tang loves live red ogo. Its the one food my yellow tang tore up right from the start while everything else initially it was hesitant to eat. Even once eating food like rest of fish, if I add garlic or any other supplement/vitamin then they will not eat it. My BF just 'redesigned' my refugium (read - trashed it...) while I was traveling so I have more red ogo (replacement) on order with AlgaeBarn, arrival expected next week.
 
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JustinMN18

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@Jay Hemdal if it is ammonia related (which I can't confirm but my gut feels that way at this point), and the refusal to eat/faster breathing is now due to stress, do you have any thoughts on a way forward?

I'm ok keeping the tang in copper for X (?) Number of days while I observe the main tank for possible parasites. Of would it make sense for me to remove the copper, and dose something like prazi? Or maybe just observe the tang in qt, un-medicated while I observe the main tank?

I'm trying to limit potential harm and stress to the tang, while also not make major league assumptions that could throw everything off. Seriously, thanks a lot for your input.
 

Jay Hemdal

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@Jay Hemdal if it is ammonia related (which I can't confirm but my gut feels that way at this point), and the refusal to eat/faster breathing is now due to stress, do you have any thoughts on a way forward?

I'm ok keeping the tang in copper for X (?) Number of days while I observe the main tank for possible parasites. Of would it make sense for me to remove the copper, and dose something like prazi? Or maybe just observe the tang in qt, un-medicated while I observe the main tank?

I'm trying to limit potential harm and stress to the tang, while also not make major league assumptions that could throw everything off. Seriously, thanks a lot for your input.

High ammonia is more or less a transient issue - once it is resolved, the fish should recover in a day or two. I've also not seen rapid breathing as a primary symptom of ammonia issues.

The faster breathing can be a symptom of protozoan disease (which copper will help with), or flukes (which copper won't help with). Less commonly, it can be a result of bacterial issues, or a few even rarer problems..

This is a long shot, but can you post a video of the tang? It *might* give me some additional clues....

Jay
 
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JustinMN18

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High ammonia is more or less a transient issue - once it is resolved, the fish should recover in a day or two. I've also not seen rapid breathing as a primary symptom of ammonia issues.

The faster breathing can be a symptom of protozoan disease (which copper will help with), or flukes (which copper won't help with). Less commonly, it can be a result of bacterial issues, or a few even rarer problems..

This is a long shot, but can you post a video of the tang? It *might* give me some additional clues....

Jay
Thanks a lot. I've attached two videos. One has no flow in the tank, the other has everything running. Fed pellets, and it didn't eat them. I'm thinking maybe do another water change.

It visibly looks normal to me.. I think? But I can't explain the no eating and fast breathing (I think).
 

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Jay Hemdal

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Thanks a lot. I've attached two videos. One has no flow in the tank, the other has everything running. Fed pellets, and it didn't eat them. I'm thinking maybe do another water change.

It visibly looks normal to me.. I think? But I can't explain the no eating and fast breathing (I think).
The water seems murky, with particles. Based on the previous ammonia issue, I think there is a water quality component to this - a good water change may help alleviate that. The tang is breathing a little fast, but not excessively so.

Jay
 
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JustinMN18

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The water seems murky, with particles. Based on the previous ammonia issue, I think there is a water quality component to this - a good water change may help alleviate that. The tang is breathing a little fast, but not excessively so.

Jay
Ok, I'll get a water change done this morning.

In terms of the path forward, if it's not scratching anymore, and doesn't appear discolored, would you continue copper "just in case" and dose the kanaplex? Or discontinue and just observe? I'm not sure how the lack of eating should be considered either. Thanks a lot.
 

Jay Hemdal

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I think you need to go at least 14 days with the copper. I hate dosing antibiotics in a tank that may have ammonia issues, it will just harm the beneficial bacteria. I don't see any indication of an external bacterial infection.

Make sure that your water change is sufficiently large - 25% at least. I've done 25% daily on some tanks, just to keep the water quality up.

Jay
 
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JustinMN18

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I think you need to go at least 14 days with the copper. I hate dosing antibiotics in a tank that may have ammonia issues, it will just harm the beneficial bacteria. I don't see any indication of an external bacterial infection.

Make sure that your water change is sufficiently large - 25% at least. I've done 25% daily on some tanks, just to keep the water quality up.

Jay
Cool, thanks a lot. I'll pass on a second dose of antibiotics, and maintain copper for now. Thanks for your help.
 
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I think you need to go at least 14 days with the copper. I hate dosing antibiotics in a tank that may have ammonia issues, it will just harm the beneficial bacteria. I don't see any indication of an external bacterial infection.

Make sure that your water change is sufficiently large - 25% at least. I've done 25% daily on some tanks, just to keep the water quality up.

Jay
Hey Jay,

I just wanted to follow up with you regarding eating, or the lack thereof. I drop food in (pellets, reef frenzy) twice a day as well as attach a small piece of nori by where it sits, and it hasn't eaten. I've tried a little garlic on the pellets, and that seems to MAYBE get the tang's attention but the tang never goes for the meal.

Tang has no discoloration that I can see, I haven't noticed any scratching, and overall it looks like a very normal tang. Is there something I can do to help it eat? Or is it just going to starve to death because it's nervous? Not sure. The tank has no lights, it just uses ambient room lighting which I think is good enough for the sleep/awake cycle.

Also.. I have an ammonia alert badge on the tank. I did a 25% water change the other day when you last commented, and performed a 50% water change yesterday, making sure to suck out the uneaten food. The ammonia alert badge is showing constantly the 0.02 "Alert" green color I think. I've been dosing a little Prime as well. I guess my question for you is... how accurate are those? I'm surprised that it would show ammonia given the prime, and 2 pretty substantial water changes back to back.

Thanks again,
Justin
 
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Jay Hemdal

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Hey Jay,

I just wanted to follow up with you regarding eating, or the lack thereof. I drop food in (pellets, reef frenzy) twice a day as well as attach a small piece of nori by where it sits, and it hasn't eaten. I've tried a little garlic on the pellets, and that seems to MAYBE get the tang's attention but the tang never goes for the meal.

Tang has no discoloration that I can see, I haven't noticed any scratching, and overall it looks like a very normal tang. Is there something I can do to help it eat? Or is it just going to starve to death because it's nervous? Not sure. The tank has no lights, it just uses ambient room lighting which I think is good enough for the sleep/awake cycle.

Also.. I have an ammonia alert badge on the tank. I did a 25% water change the other day when you last commented, and performed a 50% water change yesterday, making sure to suck out the uneaten food. The ammonia alert badge is showing constantly the 0.02 "Alert" green color I think. I've been dosing a little Prime as well. I guess my question for you is... how accurate are those? I'm surprised that it would show ammonia given the prime, and 2 pretty substantial water changes back to back.

Thanks again,
Justin
I’m not a huge fan of ammonia alert badges, but many folks have great luck with them. Does your local store test customer’s water? Maybe you can get a confirmation test done.


I wish I had some way to get your YT to eat, but ultimately, there is something suppressing its appetite and that needs to be resolved somehow.

I reread the entire thread, and still can’t come up with any clue as to what could be going on. Just to clarify; the fish went off feed, was moved into a QT with copper. The other fish are still eating o.k. in the main tank? Have you considered trying a freshwater dip in case it is flukes?
Jay
 
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JustinMN18

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I’m not a huge fan of ammonia alert badges, but many folks have great luck with them. Does your local store test customer’s water? Maybe you can get a confirmation test done.


I wish I had some way to get your YT to eat, but ultimately, there is something suppressing its appetite and that needs to be resolved somehow.

I reread the entire thread, and still can’t come up with any clue as to what could be going on. Just to clarify; the fish went off feed, was moved into a QT with copper. The other fish are still eating o.k. in the main tank? Have you considered trying a freshwater dip in case it is flukes?
Jay
I can try taking the water to my LFS, but unfortunately, they don't open until Wednesday. I guess in the meantime I will trust that prime will detoxify the ammonia and nitrite if there is some, and just do water changes every day/other day depending on how the fish looks.

My fish in my DT appear to be eating normally. They all come out and eat the food as it falls, and then swim around as if nothing happened. No one is showing discoloration or spots (thankfully). I check every night when the blues are on primarily near the end of the light cycle.

I added the tang to QT after several days of noticing the changing behavior and lack of eating. It was pecking a bit at rocks while it was hiding, and if a stray piece of nori or chaeto came by his spot, he'd nibble on it. But he wasn't coming out for frozen or pellets.

It went into Copper Power at about 0.86. It is now sitting at 1.65. I know 2.5 is ideal but I'm hoping to not add stress. I also did 1 run of Kanaplex (2 days). The YT has been in QT in some level of medication since 7/14, and I haven't noticed the erratic swimming behavior at all while in QT.

I did a freshwater dip on the second day of QT, and didn't notice anything like Flukes (which I have reviewed posts regarding this from Humblefish, as well as a youtube video showing a tang being dipped). There was a little stuff floating in there, but nothing that looked like pests.

Last night it seemed like it was giving attention to pellets soaked in garlic.. probably the most attention I've seen it give food. So I'm hoping maybe tonight there will be progress. But IDK.
 

Jay Hemdal

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One observation - if there IS a protozoal issues (and I'm not 100% sure that there is) a dose of copper power below 2.25 isn't going to do anything. The trouble with copper is that if you don't get to a full dose, you don't see any benefit. If you don't want to go to a full dose right away, you should reconsider using copper at all, and try something else like hyposalinity.

Jay
 
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One observation - if there IS a protozoal issues (and I'm not 100% sure that there is) a dose of copper power below 2.25 isn't going to do anything. The trouble with copper is that if you don't get to a full dose, you don't see any benefit. If you don't want to go to a full dose right away, you should reconsider using copper at all, and try something else like hyposalinity.

Jay
Thanks for the insight. I can continue to ramp. I just tried feeding pellets again, and he gets close, but doesn't take the nibble. But looks normal and isn't hiding in the pvc.

Is it wrong of me to wonder about putting him back into DT and seeing if he gets back to normal?
 

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Thanks for the insight. I can continue to ramp. I just tried feeding pellets again, and he gets close, but doesn't take the nibble. But looks normal and isn't hiding in the pvc.

Is it wrong of me to wonder about putting him back into DT and seeing if he gets back to normal?
The symptoms began in the DT, so unless something has changed, I wouldn’t expect it to improve by moving it back.
Jay
 
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