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Saltwater Aquarium/Possible Tang Ich


Unicorn Tang
Unicorn Tang  

Unicorn Tang
Unicorn Tang  
Hi David,Ive had my unicorn tang now going on 1 year now and every once in a while I will see white spots but it will go away so i assume its sand or debry. Today I have noticed white spots all over him and possibly on his eyes and a mark on his fin. I am including a picture of this fish. I have a sand sifting goby in the tank and last night he kicked up the sand alot and the whole tank was cloudy for a few hours last night,could this be sand attached to him? Hes not rubbing on the rocks nor do the other fish have spots on them. If this is ich what do I do? I have corals in the tanks so copper treatment is out,but I dont have another tank right now. I havent added any new fish for a while now.

Thank you so much for your help!

Hi Taylor:

It's extremely hard to confirm from the picture, but it could be something other than Marine Ich; give it 24 hrs. to see if it clears up. If not then it could be Marine Ich, in which case you'll want to remove your infected Unicorn Tangs to treat them. Until you set up a separate quarantine aquarium as a hospital tank to treat them in, you could try raising the temperature of the aquarium. Try raising the temperature to 85 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 5 days, as Marine Ich won't last very long at this temp.

You could also try the addition of some scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp; they'll help by eating the Ich parasites off the fish. However these species of shrimp cannot go with the fish into quarantine, because the fish medication would most definitely kill them.

Another option that I recommend only to the Expert Saltwater Aquarium Hobbyist is to use a clean new sterile container (a Rubbermaid plastic container will work just fine) or a new small aquarium of 1/2 gal. To 1 gal. And take some dechlorinated freshwater (I recommend filtered reverse osmosis deionized freshwater only), and match the pH and temperature of your main aquarium saltwater, and give the fish a brief momentary freshwater dip, for approximately 2 to 3 minutes; this will kill off the external parasites.

You could also try feeding your fish anti-parasite fish food. This won't instantly cure them, but in the long run it will definitely help to boost their immune system. One that I can recommend is New Life Spectrum Thera A Formula Non-medicated Anti-Parasitic fish food; it helps boost the immune system to protect against parasites. Better quality online aquarium supply stores like will generally carry hard to find items like this. If not they can generally special order it for you.

I wish you the best of luck with all your future saltwater fish endeavors, and I hope the above information is able to help some.

Let me know if you're able to cure your Unicorn Tangs.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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David Ocreef


Technical saltwater coral reef related aquarium questions are welcome. Coral, invertebrate, and peaceful species of saltwater fish questions are welcome. Questions asked on Saturday and Sunday will be answered the following Monday. REMINDER: Please check the answers pool to see if your question has already been asked and answered. Questions typically are answered within a 48 hour period, however sometimes it may take longer.


I possess over twenty-five years of hands-on experience and knowledge in the ecology of aquariums. Beyond the traditional, I have successfully tested and sustained environments that have been uncharted territories for hobbyists, for decades. I am the first to admit I don't know it all because there will always be something new, amazing, and exciting to learn about, as discoveries are made. It's a hobby one can never outgrow, or grow tired of.

MASNA - Marine Aquarium Society of North America. Director of Orange County Reef Aquatics -

Publications,, and many others.

After High School, my experience and love of marine animals influenced me to take up studies in Marine Biology. Throughout college, I studied Microbiology with an emphasis on Marine Life, as well as numerous other sciences. I continued to advance in this hobby, by building a dozen or more saltwater ecosystems all utilizing Microbes as the major source of my filtration method.

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