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bio-load and yellow eyed tang

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tory

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
8
Location
Spokane, WA
Hi Terry,

I have three questions for you:

1. What do you consider to be the maximum inch of fish per gallon for a healthy reef tank? I'm sure that there are many factors--but, assuming there are no inverts or corals yet...what's the general rule (with an eventual reef in mind)?

2. I just got a yellow tang--and my yellow-eyed tang (that I was told is one of the least aggressive tangs) is relentlessly attacking and biting the yellow. I got the y-eyed first b/c, while they are territorial, they are more passive and once a yellow tang is added it can hold its own. The yellow tang is definitely not scurrying away or hiding...he just kind of turns his back and lets the y-eyed nip at him. He is eating and appears healthy in all other respects.

3. Do dottybacks always attack and kill shrimp? I cannot keep a shrimp alive...I have two dottybacks--one common (don't know the name) and one orchid...they immediately kill the stripe shrimp and eventually always find my fire shrimp. (they seem to live longer b/c they hide)

I'm thinking of removing the yellow-eyed tang and the dottybacks--and having Kevin keep them for me until I can get another tank set up. Is this the best choice? I really like having shrimp in the tank...I may just give the dottybacks away...

Thank you in advance.
Tory
 

Craig Manoukian

McKosker's Wrasse
Joined
Sep 22, 2003
Messages
237
Tory,

In response to your first question, the general rule of thumb is 1" of adult fish per five gallons of water. A key factor is the amount of bio/mechanical filtration.

Secondly, an important consideration for tangs is they are active swimmers and require a minimum of 48" of lateral swim room. Tangs generally do better when introduced as juveniles. I have a Yellow Eyed Kole tang that is a model citizen. I have a Sailfin tang that is the same size and other than a few displays and tail shaking they get along swimmingly. ;) The two tangs you have are from different genus and do not compete for food as can be seen by the distinctly different mouth structures. I am assuming the tank may be too small and there is not enough territory for the tangs to share.

I've never owned a Dotty Back so I will let someone with specific experience field the third question. :D
 

Jeff

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 10, 2003
Messages
168
Location
Covington, WA
So what size is your tank? I think that a general guideline is around 1" per 4-5 gallons of water, but all fish inches are not created equal. If you plan on keeping SPS I would try to minimize your bioload as much as possible, i.e. less fish.

My Kole is the most aggressive in my tank, though I don’t really have many aggressive fish. Some times establishing a hierarchy just takes a little time. If your tank is large enough for two tangs and they don’t seem to be scraping too bad you may just want to wait a little. Is the Yellow tang bigger than the Kole, that can help reduce aggression as well. You can also try removing the Kole for a little while and then adding him back to the tank so that he doesn't feel so established.

Some Dottyback are bigger shrimp eaters than others and it would be worth while to know what you have. I forget if Orchids are Fridmani's or not. But if they are they are supposed to be one of the more shrimp safe Dottybacks, but once they have eaten a shrimp they won't stop. You take you chances whenever you add a dottyback and shrimp.
 

tory

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
8
Location
Spokane, WA
Jeff and Craig:

Well...the thing is...I kind of knew I was over loading my tank a bit--not b/c I thought the fish were too many or too big at the present time--but, b/c I know that tangs get pretty substantial in size...however--I plan to get a much bigger tank for Christmas...

Right now (*gulp*) I have them in a 29 gallon. The yellow tang is bigger than the Kole, yes, by quite a bit--especially when he extends his dorsal fin. The fish I have in now are: Yellow Tang, Kole, Fire Angel, and two dottybacks.

Good idea about re-arranging the rocks...I think I'll do that when I change their water tonight.

I have a 50 gallon Aqua Clear filter, a protein skimmer and 45 lbs. of live rock. The Tangs are acting much more acromoneously as of late and at least the Kole is leaving my Flame alone now that it's focused on the yellow tang. And, they don't seem to be scrapping so much as tail wagging--so I'm hopeful.

The dottybacks are an orchid and a neon (I believe is the name of the previously referenced "common") The orchid actually 'learned' about the fact that shrimp are a delicacy from the neon... I'm just going to give them away. There is nothing very amazing about them--and, as I'm sure you'll agree, I already have too many fish.

Thank you
p.s. I won't be able to keep SPS until tank 2 (Christmas presents)...so, I'll keep that in mind!
 

Craig Manoukian

McKosker's Wrasse
Joined
Sep 22, 2003
Messages
237
Yikes, 29 gallons is awefully small as you know, and that is the reason for your fish woes. Too crowded and you can have tank rage. Wish for a 75 gallon or bigger tank and Santa will make those fish greatful for the new space they require.

I Have some great friends there in Spokane!
 

Jeff

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 10, 2003
Messages
168
Location
Covington, WA
Yes, I would say that a 29 gallon is definitely too small for even a single tang long term. Its always better to plan live stock on the tank that you have because sometimes a larger tank doesn't happen, not saying it wont but its better safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your pets.

I would plan for your large tank now by getting the smaller fish that you would like to move into your larger tank with a tang/s and then get the tangs when you have the tank. In a 29 a small dwarf angel, maybe a chromis or two and a small wrasse like a sixline would give you lots of activity and low aggression and maintenance. Then when you get your larger tank there will always be tangs to be had.
 

damer

Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2004
Messages
16
Location
Geelong, Australia
tory,

i think your tank is going to struggle long term to keep the 2 tangs going. sorry but it is far to small for two tangs. the reason for this is that they are generally herbivoreous grazers, they eat all day long, picking at algae. they need a lot of food because they basically dont stop moving. of course you feeding them things such as nori will help, but your tank may not be able to handle the ammount of nutrients you will be putting in and therefore the "bad" algae will bloom.

if you rearange your rock, try to make sure that you put it back so that the area that has been facing the light still gets light. if you turn it upside down, there is generally very little macroalgae established here (due to no light) it will come back of course but it will take time, which you dont have.

damien
 

Terry B

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 6, 2004
Messages
162
Hi Tory,

It looks like you are getting some good advice here. Your tangs are suffering from confinement stress and that can cause aggression. These two species would normally get along fairly well in a larger tank. When mixing tangs look for species that have different shaped mouths, different body shapes and different colors. This will make them less likely to consider each other to be competitors. You might appreciate an article in the Marine Aquarium Advice library called "Mellow Yellow...Maybe Not."
http://www.marineaquariumadvice.com/mellow_yellow_maybe_not.html

You might like this one to:
http://www.marineaquariumadvice.com/selecting_appropriate_species.html

Best wishes,
Terry B
 

tory

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
8
Location
Spokane, WA
thank you guys

Wow...

What do you recommed I do now to un-do this mess?

Should I ask Kevin to hold onto my 2 tangs until I get a 90? I did end up finding the dottybacks a new home. My fish woes really hit home this morning when I found my flame angel barely breathing. I put her in the hospital tank and she died anyway.

The tangs are my only two fish now. Kevin supplied me with a substantial bag of the green bubble algae and some red fuzz. (I'm sorry--I'm still learning the names) So, they have ample grazing options. And, they are completely peaceful to each other now. (have been for quite awhile)

I'm doing 20% water changes every other day to counter the amount of nutrients I'm putting in...and keep the bad algae under control. They certainly do graze all day long.

Also, if I use the incorrect names for fish or algae (or anything), please feel free to correct me--I'd appreciate it.

Thank you in advance,
Tory
 

Ed Hahn

Life is A Highway...
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
3,955
Location
Kennewick, Wa
Tory,
When you do a water change try to keep the water you are adding the same temp as the water you have inside your tank. This will cause less stress to animals you have. You may already know this. I also hope you are mixing your salt outside in a bucket with a power head before adding your new water to tank. I like to warn people about temperature and salinity when adding fresh water. Ok, I will go back to my rock...I wish you better travels in the future.
Good luck, hope you are hanging in there!
Ed
 

Craig Manoukian

McKosker's Wrasse
Joined
Sep 22, 2003
Messages
237
Tory,

How big are the tangs and do you have a skimmer?

What are your tank parameters?:
Ammonia
Nitrites
Nitrates
Ph
Temp

If the tangs are more than 3" each then you will be battling a bioload problem and ammonia spikes. A skimmer, if not already owned, would be most helpful. You could opt to get rid of one and spend the money on your new tank and then restock according to a well thought out plan.
 
Last edited:

tory

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2004
Messages
8
Location
Spokane, WA
One tang is 2" and the other is 2 1/2"...

I don't even have the test kits for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, or ph. I just take my water in for testing at the fish store once a week...last thursday alkalinity was good, good buffering capacity, but (suprise) nitrates were high. The stress level was creeping up too. The Temp is 79.2. Salinity is 1.023. And I do make sure the water temp. and salinity match when doing a water change. (I mix by hand though--not with a power head) I know that I can't simply feed less with Tangs...so, I guess I'll just have to find a place to keep my bigger tang for a few months.

I do have a skimmer--and 45 lbs. of live rock.

Side question: how often do cleaner shrimp normally molt? I have one and I'm watching him molt right now--the last time he did was 2 days ago. Seems awfully frequent.

Sorry for the trip back to saltwater kindergarden--I want to know as much as I can, though.
 

Craig Manoukian

McKosker's Wrasse
Joined
Sep 22, 2003
Messages
237
Well 4 1/2 inches of fish with a skimmer and that much LR should be OK for a few of months as long as the ammonia is not a problem. The tangs will not grow to much in that time and will readily move to your new tank after it has properly cycled.

Shrimp generally molt on a monthly basis, but will molt more regularly if their growth requires it.

Let us know the results of your next water test.
 
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