hippo tang has spots

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Jun 11, 2023
Just noticed this morning a bunch of spots on my hippo tang. Spots kind of seem both black and white and kind of appeared overnight/in the last day. I bought this tang from my LFS and added to my tank about 1.5 months ago. Did not QT. This is the first time I've noticed anything off. Tang has been eating and swimming normally. I thought I saw a brief rub against a rock, but can't be certain. Rock rubbing makes me think ich, but would like someone else's opinion.

110 gallons with sump. Tank is about 5-6 months old.
5 chromis, 5 damsels, 1 angelfish, 1 hippo tang, 1 naso tang, 2 bangaii cardinals, 1 diamond watchman goby, 1 small frag of zoas, 1 frag of anthelia


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Hi and welcome to the forum:)

Are the white marks all the same size?
Do they look like grains of salt or bigger and more unusual shapes like in the pictures?

White spot should all be the same size (about the size of a grain of salt). If there are noticeably different sized white marks, it is unlikely to be white spot. However, tanks (surgeonfish) regularly come own with white spot in tanks and even though you have had it in there for over a month, it could still get white spot.

The black dots on the body are generally colouration and nothing to be concerned about unless they grow or change shape.

You can normally treat white spot by raising the water temperature to 30C (86F) and keeping it there for at least 1 week after all the white dots have gone. The corals won't like this temperature so you would have to move them out for a few weeks. Any white spot parasites that might be transferred with the corals should die without a fish host and the corals should be clean (free of any parasites) after a week or two on their own.

Increase aeration/ surface turbulence when raising the water temperature because warm water holds less oxygen than cool water, and saltwater holds less oxygen than freshwater.

It's also a good idea to do a huge water change and gravel clean the substrate before raising the temperature. Clean the filter too. This reduces the number of parasites in the tank that can potentially infect the fish.

If the white marks/ dots are still there after and haven't changed after 1 week at 30C, it isn't white spot and more pictures should be provided to try and figure out what the problem is.

Make sure the tank and angel get plenty of plant/ algae matter in their diet.
Hi thanks for your response. The marks are literally gone 2 days later. They were definitively larger than a grain of salt, but all around the same size and that unusual shape. I have no idea what this was/is. Do you think I need to take any action now that they are gone, or just wait and see if there is a change?


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White spot parasites do drop off the fish after a couple of days, but they shouldn't be big or unusual shapes. It might have been excess mucous caused by something in the water stressing/ irritating the fish and this has since passed and is no longer causing issues.

There are a few pores around its head that might be the start of head and lateral line disease. This is caused by poor water quality and lack of plant matter in their diet.

I would test the water quality for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and salinity to make sure it's good. And monitor the fish over the next week and see what happens. If more white spots appear in a few days, then move the corals out and raise the water temperature to 30C (86F) for a couple of weeks. If no more white dots appear, then just keep the tank clean and fish well fed and see how things go.
Ok. I think nutrition wise my tangs are getting enough veggie matter. They get seaweed strips every 2 or 3 days (turbo snails also assist in eating) and spectrum pellets twice a day. They also eat mysis shrimp that I add a couple drops of vitachem to. As far as water quality I do a weekly 15/20% water change. Current levels Ammonia: 0. Nitrite: 0. Nitrate: 10. I never let nitrates get higher than 10. As far as filtration I just have filter socks and a skimmer.
The water sounds fine but the tang should be getting plant matter every day. This can be algae strip or just algae growing on the glass or rocks, but they normally graze on algae all day so should be getting some each day.
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