Territorial purple tang, and general fish stocking.

Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by anathema, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. anathema

    anathema Guest

    So my current 120 is my first tank I've had that's large enough to house multiple "big tank" fish. Before it crashed last year, my stock list was:

    Gold spot rabbitfish
    Fridmani basslet
    Lyretail Anthias pair
    5 blue eye cardinals
    Midas blenny
    Purple tang

    I really enjoyed the fish behavior in this tank. The anthias were always out in the open, and this tended to draw the others out too. The tang and rabbit kind of paired up as buddies but didnt seem to fight. When the tank crashed, I lost everything except the rabbitfish and basslet.

    Current stock list until today was:

    Gold spot rabbitfish
    Fridmani basslet
    Purple tang
    Clown pair (plain misbars)
    Neon goby
    Red mandarin

    The problem in the tank is twofold. First, the tang and rabbitfish are so skittish that they bolt for cover and hide when anything in the room moves. They also panic the whole tank when they do this. When I restarted the tank, I just had the rabbit, tang, and basslet. I added the clowns and goby partly as dither fish to calm them down, but it didn't seem to work.

    I also added a lamarck's angel, which disappeared the first night after being added to the display. I suspect the tang, as the tang was picking on it. I then added a porcupine puffer, which seemed to be fine but in the morning looked severely beaten, with a chunk missing from his face. I pulled him out of the display but he also died. I suspect the tang again.

    Occasionally the rabbitfish will have scrapes or cuts on him, though when I try to observe these fish they just hide until I leave. Even during feeding, the tang is the bravest but only darts out to grab food and hides again. The pre-crash tang didn't behave this way, but it was a larger specimen and also didn't act aggressive to the rabbit that I ever saw.

    Today I pulled the tang out, and he was probably the most difficult fish I've had to catch. Had a trap in the tank for a week, he would eat the food up to the door but not go in. Too smart to bite a hook. Didn't even seem dazed when I spotlighted him at 3am. I had to drain the tank to get him, which is my last resort.

    After pulling the tang, I added a lamarcks angel, lyretail anthias, and a Midas blenny that I had been keeping out of the display. My hope is that the tank will become less skittish overall. The anthias is great, when you come near the tank he swims over to you. Much better than wondering where my fish are.

    Now the big question is, what to do with the purple tang. I really love these tangs, they are beautiful. My previous tang was nowhere near as mean as this one, either.

    As I see it, I can either:

    Swap the tang for another and see if the new one is less aggressive.
    Reintroduce the tang to the display after a month or so, so the he's the new fish again.
    Give up on having a purple tang.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts you guys have.
  2. euod

    euod Supporting Member

    Reintroduce it after you finish loading your tank with the fish that you want.
    I totally regret getting rid the purple tang that was very aggressive in my tank.
    Gotta say, if you had such a hard time getting him out, he surely deserves to be in there.
  3. Apon

    Apon Volunteer

    my yellow tang actually beats up my purple now ( small short battles).....they used to get along when they were small as I introduced them together. but now they are getting bigger so I guess its a competition for territory and food. They are not shy though as other fish are out all the time. Do you plan on having more than one? I used tp have 3.
  4. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

    My only concern with reintroducing the purple tang is that he might be a model citizen for awhile then revert back to his old ways. How about a trio of tangs ? Maybe two yellows and a purple ? Get them small and introduce them together...and hope they play nice for a long time.
  5. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Jim just because you added 18 tangs to your tank doesn't mean he has to (or should) ;)

    As to the tang situation, I probably would make them sit in time-out for a bit, then reintroduce.
  6. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    How often do you feed the fish? The naughty purple tang should be returned to the display as the last fish. The gold spot rabbit will get too big for your 120 (assuming it is properly cared for). Order of entry is key when adding fish and I would add at least 3 fish at a time.
  7. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

    Hey...I only said three tangs ! Of course the easiest way is to put him on time out, but I'm concerned he might act up (be prepared to drain the tank yet again). I like Erin's suggestion to introduce three fish to keep the aggression down and a fat fish is a happy fish.
  8. euod

    euod Supporting Member

    Fish hoarder. I'll be right over to intervene and take your new ventralis harem and black snowflakes :)
  9. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I realize that Jim, I'm simply of a different philosophy than you when it comes to fish, I have 2 tangs (yellow and tomini) and 1 foxface in my 180 and I already think I'm pushing boundaries as far as large fish in a tank that "small". When I upgrade, not sure I'll get any more large fish either, although that mindset might change mind you if I see algae popping up on rocks faster than they can chew it down.
  10. anathema

    anathema Guest

    Wow how often does it happen that people validate the option you are hoping for. :D

    I was tempted to try putting him back in after a month or so, but kind of thought it might be stupid. Seems like most of you don't think that's too horrible an idea.

    I never planned to have more than the rabbit and the tang for big fish. I hadn't even planned the angel, but after a bunch of thinking I decided I'd get one because they swim out in the open a lot, and that's what this tank needs. I consider my tank "heavily stocked" as is, I usually go with a very low fish population compared to some tanks I've seen. However since I am running a skimmer on this tank I've gone heavier than normal. Equal parts display/sume-fuge-bonuscompartment water volumes helps too. All told the system has approx 220 gallons of water, so I might even have a bit more water in support systems than display.

    I have an autofeeder that feeds twice a day when I'm not home. In addition, if I'm leaving for a few days to a week, I'll drop in a softball or bigger ball of some macro algae. Either chaeto from my refugium or I bring home algae from the bay whenever I find a big chunk, usually ulva, sometimes others. There are only a couple kinds they like. It often has stuff on it like amphipods or caprellids that they chow on too. I try to not let them go more than a few days without algae to nibble on, UNLESS I see algae on the rocks in tank. Then they get starvation rations. No free lunch, let them eat bryopsis. :crown: The rabbitfish will even eat valonia, but I have to let him get hungry. I'd say this might be a factor, but I have been feeding a lot of algae in recent months and haven't been forcing them to eat from the rocks much.

    I also drop in a cube or two of various frozen foods at least once a week, unless I'm not home. Sometimes much more often, and much more heavily. It depends on how the tank looks. My actual bellweather is a pair of brittle stars that aren't the fastest moving thing in the tank. If they are plump I consider the tank well fed, and they stay pretty plump.

    Thanks for all the advice, especially since it was what I wanted to hear. :p
  11. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

  12. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

    Okay you got me...I'm definitely a "fish guy." :p
  13. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    sounds like a mimics humans too, all you need is one "big scary person" and others tend to stay away from an area.
  14. anathema

    anathema Guest

    Hmm after just 1 day the behavior of the fish in the display has totally changed. The new fish have settled right in, and the anthias stays out full time. The angel nipped the anthias's tail in quarantine but they had only one hiding spot there. In the larger space they ignore each other.

    After feeding tonight, all the fish were out. Even the rabbit and basslet, which hid with the tang in the tank. The rabbit even kept his blue and orange "calm" coloration the rest of the night, which he hasn't been doing much lately.

    I miss the tang's color, but I really prefer a peaceful tank over the way things were.
  15. anathema

    anathema Guest

    Or a little fish with a complex. :p

    Tang is 2.5" and rabbit is closer to 6" but the tang still wanted to be the boss.
  16. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Tang has a knife, and is willing to use it!
  17. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Slightly related:

    I added a Sailfin tang a couple of weeks ago, with mild worry it would get along with my Foxface.
    But I think the sailfin was a bit lonely and scared in the quarantine tank for a month, because it
    stuck the to Foxface like glue for about 4 days when introduced. Hardly ever more than an inch away.
    I think the foxface even nipped at it a bit for some peace.

    After about a week though, things calmed. Now they are pretty much just friends.
    Interestingly, the smaller Sailfin seems to take first dibs on the seaweed when I put it in.
    Might be something to that carrying a knife comment.
  18. h20player101

    h20player101 Guest

    You should always be nicer to people heavier armed then you! :)
  19. anathema

    anathema Guest

    Or find a way to get them exiled.
  20. treylane

    treylane Supporting Member

    I'm not sure if purples are as dumb as scopas... but I've definitely had temporary-banishment-then-reintroduction work when my scopas tang wouldn't stop bullying a new addition. Sumped him for a few weeks while the new addition (a butterfly) settled in properly, adjusted some rockwork and added him back, and he was ok with all the fish that were in the tank when he was reintroduced.

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