Rookie question about purple tang


I have just added a few fish and corals to my reef tank. THe guy I bought the Purple Tang from told me that "It WILL get ick, but should fight it off ok" Sure enough, at day 2 (today) it's got some white spots on it's right side and is rubbing against the live rock. So is this a common thing with this fish, or did the guy I bought it from know he had a bad fish and was feeding me a line? Thanks in advance!
The good news is that, IMOHO, Purple Tangs are tough as nails. Now you're going to have to treat the tank. A few questions... as, I'm assuming you added this guy without quarantining him (A mistake you shouldn't make in the future):
-What other fish are inhabiting the tank?
-How long has the tank been set up?
-Do you have a quarantine tank?
-How big is th etank... what are the basic specs?
If you're only seeing a few spots, garlic might work. You're going to have to start feeding them garlic-soaked food ASAFP! Do a search on this board to look for recipes, techniques, etc. START THIS PROCEDURE NOW! The bad news is that your other fish can catch the parasites. Garlic could do the trick, provided you treat NOW and keep a close eye on your fish. I'd suggest getting the Q-Tank set up anyhow, as there's a chance you'll need to treat the fish there... if the garlic doesn't work. Also, if you were thinking about one handy piece of equipment to add to your setup, a UV would be a greta addition. This will keep you parasites in check. As for nbew additions, you might want to consider Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp(s). Take care of your PT and it will live a long time... here's a pic of my 2+ year PT with cleaner shrimp...

Good luck! BTW, I'm originally from Nawlins ;) ... Man I fish the Reds and Specs in Louisiana...


Yeah, I would try feeding with garlic soaked food, and hopefully your tang can kick the ick. If it does not start to clear up SOON, you should treat him sepratley in a hospital tank. I hope he kicks the ich....nice fish.


Thanks all! HEy Tangs_in_Pacifica, great too see some local folks here! OK, is it possible for a fish to kick the ick this fast? The tang is completely clear this morning, after having one whole side covered in the white spotty stuff yesterday. I had already been told about rolling the food pellets in garlic, and had been doing that for the past three days (since I got him). Also, I saw where you said treat the tank, well, this would damage the corals I have in there, correct? So if I don't treat the tank, every fish I add from now on is going to be at risk of getting Ick, right? And here's some info on my tank: 55 gal, plenum filter/skimmer/and Fluval 404, two powerheads in back corners for circulation, about 65 pounds of live rock, Live sand (about 5 inches) over plenum. As far as living things in the tank: Purple Tang, two clowns, a striped Goby, 3 turbo snails, two emerald crabs, one coral banded shrimp, hmmer coral, Starburts coral, Elegant coral, Flowerpot coral ad a cup coral. Plan on adding a bubble coral, cleaner wrasse and a reef clean-up crew in the next few days. thnaks all of you for you help, it is much appreciated buy a guy who would like to avoid his usual method of 'try it and see what happens!'
Do some more research on ich at this BBS. Yes, ich is still in your tank and will likely be there for about a month. You can try treating by feeding all of the inhabitants garlic-soaked food... keep this up for a month. The fact that you don't see any spots right now indicates that the parasites have evecuated your fish and are now at the bottom of your tank multiplying. They will be back, perhaps with a vengeance.
The good news is that many, myself included, have had good success with the garlic approach. This will have similar effects for your fish as it does with dogs and fleas. When the parasites return hungry, bent on finding a fish host, the noxious garlic odor/chemical that your fish will be secreting will keep the nasties at bay. Eventually, in a bout a month, they'll die of starvation. Then, and only then, it will be safe to introduce new fish. If you want to add a critter in the meantime, try a cleaner shrimp or two. Also, think about a UV filter.
Personally, I used to tear my tank apart and freak out at the slightest hint of ich, but garlic has changed that. Again, it will probably not work for serious infestations.

A= The trophozoites in the host's skin.
B= Trophont leaving the host.
C= The mature trophont with hundreds of maturing tomites.
D= The realeasing of tomites that penetrate the skin of the host fish
Here's a pic and desription of the life-cycle of the nasties you're dealing with. Feeding the fish garlic might accelerate step B by offending the Trophants so much that they want to get the f**k out of Dodge. Most importantly, garlic may help in the completion of step D, by making the host so unsavory for the Tomites that they avoid infecting a host and starve to death.
This is, BTW, the most common disease in the hobby.
[ June 25, 2001: Message edited by: tangs_in_pacifica ]


Active Member
Purple tangs are pretty tough and if you keep your tank clean and undercrowded you may get away with no treatment at all. I would feed him more then just pellets, like Zoe soaked seaweed selects, mysis, brine and anything else you can get him to eat.