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FAQs about Odonus niger Triggerfish 1

Related FAQs: Odonus 2, & FAQs on: Odonus Identification, Odonus Behavior, Odonus Compatibility, Odonus Selection, Odonus Systems, Odonus Feeding, Odonus Disease, Odonus Reproduction, & Triggerfishes in General, Triggerfish: Identification, Selection, Selection 2, Compatibility, Behavior, Systems, Feeding, Diseases, Triggerfish Health 2Reproduction,

Related Articles: Odonus niger, Triggerfish, Balistoides Species, Red Sea Triggerfishes

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Red Tooth Trigger, evo. affinity w/ delphinids...   9/30/12
Hello, hope all is well. Perhaps you can clear something up. I read an article awhile back stating that the Niger (red tooth) trigger was a distant relative of the dolphin. I thought I saved the article but can not find it and it came up in a forum I am a member and everyone is thinking I am crazy as dolphin are mammals and the trigger is a fish. Have you heard of which I speak?
<Leon, you are quite right. Triggerfish are fish; Dolphins are mammals.
They are both chordates of course, and more specifically, both are vertebrates. So they have much in common. But their lineages diverged some 400 million years ago, and Triggerfish are far more closely related to bony fish such as Salmon, Goldfish and Perch than they are to Dolphins.
Conversely, Dolphins are much more closely related to birds, reptiles and amphibians than they are to bony fish like Triggers. Cheers, Neale.>

Marks on Niger trigger face  12/22/08 My tank is a 210g Aqueon glass tank. I have a 55g sump and about 180 lbs of live rock in the system, probably only about 40 lbs in the sump, the rest in the main tank. I run the salinity at 1.025, temperature 78 and with no measureable nitrites or ammonia. Nitrates range around between 20-60, <Mmm, too high... I'd be looking into (reading on WWM, elsewhere) re keeping this under 20 ppm Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above> depending on how recently I did a water change, which btw I do on a weekly basis, every Sunday I do a 30 gallon water change. I figure between the sump being about 2/3 full and the live rock displacing water, I've probably got about 220 gallons of total water volume, so that is around a 15% water change weekly. Can you tell me what these marks are on the Niger in the pictures? <Mechanical injuries... Nice pix> I bought this Niger about 4 months ago now, he has always been really healthy and seems to be doing well. I quarantined him in a 29g tank for 2 weeks, usually I do 4 weeks but it was so small for him I felt bad and after 2 weeks of seeming good health, I transferred him to the display. <Good. I would have as well> Anyway, he has these small white marks on his face about halfway between the gill plates and the mouth. About a week after I put him into the display he started showing them. I thought he basically scratched himself or something like that <This is so> and wasn't too worried about it. Then about a month later I see he has 4 marks close to his mouth and also some along his chin down by his trigger. Any idea what these could be and how I would treat for them? <Really only good care, feeding... Should heal with time, improvement in your water quality> Thanks! Grant <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

See why it's called "Red Tooth?"

Niger Triggerfish/Compatibility And Trouble Ahead  12/16/08 Hello, Hi Brian> I have a question about the Niger trigger and reef compatibility. I have heard and read many conflicting things about this fish. I just got a 2" Niger Trigger for my 120g reef tank. <Yikes!> Currently I have 1 Rose Bulb tip Anemone, 1 Green Bulb Tip, 2 Flower Anemones, a feather duster, yellow suns, various palys, zoos and mushrooms. I also have an orange sponge, toadstool leather, 2 types of candy coral, 2 types of torch, 2 types of frogspawn, hammer, and bird's nest corals. For my livestock, I have a Tuxedo Urchin, 2 serpent stars, a sea hare, 2 a mated pair of percula clowns (1 black, 1 regular), 1 Chalk Basslet, 1 Tiger Jawfish, 1 Pearly Jawfish, 1 Purple Firefish, 1 Diamond Goby, 1 Neon Cleaner Goby, <Brian, docile fish such as the Jawfish and gobies do not belong in the company of a triggerfish. As this trigger grows you will have problems with this matchup.> 1 Christmas Tree Wrasse, 1 Sailfin Tang, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Pink Cucumber, 3 Queen Conch's and many snails and now the Trigger. <You can probably cross off the snails on your list. Shouldn't take too long for the trigger to put these on his plate along with the Peppermint Shrimp for dessert.> I was assured by the owner of the store that he would be fine in my tank as he is so small. He has a larger Nigger Trigger in his 120g display reef tank and has never had a problem. <Very rarely will this occur. Triggerfish are generally aggressive and are not safe in a reef tank and are more suited for a rough and ready fish only tank. The risk is yours to take. Do read here and relate articles and FAQ's, it should change your mind quickly. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm> I would just like to get another opinion as there is a lot at stake if this fish is indeed not reef safe. Thanks for your time!! <You're welcome, and please capitalize all names of fish and invertebrates in future queries. Saves us time if we do not have to do it. James (Salty Dog)> Brian Van Allen

Re: Niger Triggerfish/Compatibility And Trouble Ahead 12/17/08 Thank you for answering so quickly. <You're welcome.> I just have 1 more question. Is there a chance that the Trigger could harm any of my corals, and if so, which ones are more at risk? <Yes, and they all could be at risk. Triggerfish are great at rearranging rock in the tank and any rock a coral may be on can be overturned or fall causing damage to the coral(s). Believe me, you will just be asking for trouble keeping this fish in a reef aquarium, especially with the inhabitants you have. Not worth the risk. James (Salty Dog)> Brian Van Allen

Niger Trigger Issue   12/12/08 Hello, <Jean> Your site is incredible and have helped my husband and I tremendously with our first go at a saltwater aquarium. I've read through every bit (I believe) of trigger behavior on your site, but my question goes a little beyond the answers that were offered. I hope you can help. <I as well> We have a 125 gallon saltwater Uniquarium with a Niger trigger (about 4.5"), a cow fish (same size), snowflake eel (18"), and panther grouper (7"). About 2 months ago we had to remove a domino damsel (2.5") because it was bullying the cow fish. <This species can be a terror> Ever since then, the trigger has gone into hiding and on a hunger strike. I read your site and was encouraged that triggers often hide and go on hunger strikes, but would soon get over it. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We can find wedged in different rocks, and use flashlight to see the body in good shape, but the tail is getting smaller. We are actually shocked it's still alive because we never see it swim nor eat. Perhaps the trigger is sorry to have his Domino buddy gone (it used to follow the trigger everywhere), or could it be sick? We are feeding them frozen squid daily, the others eat enthusiastically, and the water and temperature tests fine too. <Mmm, I do concur that the Dascyllus removal likely traumatized the trigger... and that this is an extraordinarily long adjustment period> The only other thing I can think of is back in May, when the grouper was smaller, the trigger tried to eat the grouper. We quarantined the grouper for two months while he healed and then reintroduced him to the group. Perhaps now that the grouper is bigger, the trigger is turned chicken? <This could also be an influence> We will soon have to trade in the grouper at LFS because he's getting too big for the system. Any suggestions you may have would be most appreciated! Merry Christmas! Sincerely, Jean <Thank you Jean... I do have a suggestion, or better put, something, given the circumstances, that I myself would do. I would systematically remove all rock, to a clean container, and after all was out for an hour or two, carefully, but differently restack it in another way... perhaps in two "bommies", towers if you will, one toward each corner... This simple rearrangement of habitat, and the sharing of a new trauma amongst extant tankmates, may well serve to have this trigger "get over" it current behavior. One other thing. Do know that Odonus are very social animals in the wild... always found in shoals of good to huge size... and that in small volumes (aquariums), by themselves, some individuals "do" just turn out to be "chickens". Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Niger Trigger Issue   12/12/08 Many, many thanks Bob. My husband is going to work at the new arrangement right away. Take care and cheers! <Ahh, very good... Have attached a couple of pix for your enjoyment... one from the trip last month in Raja Ampat, showing just what "scaredy cats" this species can be when approached by divers... and another from some years back diving at a break in an outer atoll in the Maldives... Lots of Odonus for sure. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Niger Trigger Issue 12/12/08 Stunning - thank you Bob. <Glad to share with you Jean! B> 

Niger Trigger comp.   8/18/08
Dear Mr. Bob Fenner <Akila> I have a small question about Niger Triggers compatibility. I have a 80G <Mmm, too small> tank with lots of live rocks. The tank only has a 4" Hippo Tang for now with a Bubble tip anemone, <Too likely to get chewed> 3 large (5") feather dusters and some snails. <Ditto by the Odonus> I want to know whether the addition of a 3" Niger trigger will harm any of my current species. If not, do you know of any other type of trigger fish which will be suitable. I want to introduce two 2" clowns, 3" Bannerfish later also. Please let me know your views, Thanks in advance for your advices. Best regards, Akila <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/odonus/faqs.htm and the linked files above. RMF>

Acclimation Advise - Odonus Niger, comp.    2/27/08 Hello Crew! <Scott> I should start with a big thank you to you and your crew. I have written before and gotten great advice. I also use the site search tool regularly. With my new iPhone it stays on most of the time (must to the dismay of my wife). Anyway, my system consists of: 135 Gal w/ 55 Gal Sump (partitioned with baffles created myself with your help! Dual overflow system to a sock filter directly to the raw section containing a Euro-Reef RS PS. Center section has 6" DSB). Main tank has LOTs of live rock with fine sand bed (sugar oolite). System is and will be FO. NH4-0, NO2-0, NO3-0, 78F, 8.0PH. Current Stocking: -3.5" Auriga BF (Very pretty white and yellow. Does the thread come in time, or depend on where he came from? <A bit of both... develops in later age...> Delicate eater.) -3" Picasso (awesome fish, fun to watch. Loves to build the tank surroundings himself. He builds tunnels in sand and blows sand out of his mouth everywhere. Jim Henson could have created this fish, he looks like a Muppet character. I can also hear him clap his teeth every now and then LOUD!). <Ah, yes> I recently took my wife to the LFS, where we both laid eyes on a beautifully colored Odonus. He was very active and personable. <Uhhh, and unpredictable> My wife really liked him. So, we took him home, fresh water dipped and he is now in QT awaiting his time in the main tank. I searched and read that the two can get along, but is pretty much a gamble. <Yes... and not a good one> So my question... What can I do to increase the chances of the two getting off on the right foot when I move Odonus to the display? A couple of LFS owners gave me advice about rearranging the rock, buying new rock, and introducing the Odonus at the bottom of the tank. I want solid advice... Thank you in advance.. Keep passing the word. Scott B. <Really not much one can do but follow the axiom re the "price of freedom" (constant vigilance) here... being ready to net out, remove or at least isolate the trigger/s should WWIII ensue. With the Balistids there is not much, any prior warning as to when complacency turns to overt predation. Bob Fenner>

Trigger Question... Odonus sys.   1/16/08 Hello All, First off, I would like to say I love the site! Very informative. <Welcome> Now to the questions--Currently I have a 20g FOWLR tank, 35 lbs of Live Sand, 35 lbs of Live rock, Hermits, Snails, 1 Atlantic Lettuce Slug, 1 Large Coco worm, and several baby feathers. I would like to add a Niger Trigger. <... not in a 20 gallon system> He is only 1.5 inch body size. I know he is not meant for a 20g, I will be setting up my 220g shortly, and let it cycle, plan on adding livestock in June. So I do not believe the Niger will outgrow the 20g by then. <I'd wait...> My question-- First off, I noticed in another answer you gave, to place "toys" in the tank to keep the Nigers busy. What would you consider a good "toy" for them? <Rocks placed where there are holes, caves to swim into and through here> Also--Will the Niger be ok in with my Coco worm? The Coco's tube is about 8 inches long, and a large crown. I am assuming, (But please correct me if I'm wrong) that I will need to get rid of my Atlantic Lettuce, I do not want to do this, but if that's what it takes to get the Niger, that is what it will come to. <The Odonus will "sample" all... eventually, likely to death. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your time!! Stace Also---Will I get a reply by email? Or will I have to search the site? I am hoping an email, but either way is fine. Thanks again!! <Ahh, we respond directly to all>

Trigger Aggression, Odonus    8/19/07 Hi gang, <Wes> Love your site! It's my go-to place for marine questions. Unfortunately I've read several of the trigger FAQs and also done searches of the site but can't seem to find the answers I'm looking for. I was hoping you can help me out? My fish list is as follows: 5" Dogfaced Puffer <Likely to get bullied> 4.5" Niger Trigger <Likely a bullier> 4.5" Sohal Tang <Likely the alpha individual here> 4" Bluethroat Trigger 3.5" Blue-spotted Grouper 12" Snowflake Eel <This last will have a difficult time feeding here> They're all in a 180 FOWLR. Over the last couple months, I've noticed the niger has been getting more aggressive towards my Bluethroat and grouper, chasing them around. This is not limited to just when they swim by its "home." However, they will sometimes be right next to the niger without getting chased at all. The grouper and Bluethroat will occasionally have missing or nicked chunks of fin, which I'm assuming is the Niger's doing (possibly the Sohal's, on occasion). <Yes> All of the fish have been together for about six months or so (with the niger being added three months ago and the sohal about a month ago). The sohal will also occasionally chase the trigger and grouper, but not nearly as much as the niger. None of the other fish are harassed at all. I feed plenty of formula one and two pellets every other day with occasional frozen foods. All of the fish have become pretty fat, so I don't think this aggression is due to long-term lack of food. In fact, I notice more chasing behavior after everyone's eaten. Almost none during (everyone's busy eating) and none before as they're all in that familiar pre-meal school, looking at me. Should I be concerned about this behavior from the niger? <Yes... will likely only get worse with time... missing eyes...> Should I start thinking about removing it? <I would, yes> If things are okay for now, what signs should I be looking for that would prompt a removal? Is there anything else I can do to reduce this aggression? I have tried removing the niger for a couple weeks then reintroducing, which didn't seem to help. <Perhaps moving the bulk of the decor, rock around every time you're in the tank seriously...> Not sure if it makes any difference, but when I first got the niger, it was actually slightly smaller than the Bluethroat. Initially, they seemed to get along with the Bluethroat being slightly dominant. By about a month in, the niger was clearly dominant. <Xanthichthys are generally not territorial... the genus is more open water...> Sorry for the long post, but figured I'd be thorough! Wes <I'd remove this Odonus; allow the Sohal to be number one... see how this works out. Bob Fenner>

Odonus niger compatibility   3/29/07 Hi WWM, <Samantha> I've used the site for advice for a long time, but have finally run into a problem I couldn't find any information on.  I have an established 180-gallon saltwater fish-only tank with an 8" snowflake moray eel, a 5" porcupine puffer, and a 6" Volitans lionfish.  They have all been co-existing for several months now with no health problems or aggression issues.  (I was concerned about the lion getting nipped at, but the puffer is very much the "wimp" of the tank, and avoids confrontation. <Good... sometimes can change... but often when "grown up" together, these groups of fishes do "live and let live"> Surprisingly, the most aggressive of the three has proven to be the eel.) Anyway, there is a Niger trigger who has been at the fish store a few months.  He is eating well, and has the most charming personality.  I was wondering if you think there's a possibility that he would be compatible with my other three fish. <Mmm... I give you about even odds that they all would get along now, AND into the future... However, as stated for the Puffer, there is always the chance of the Trigger turning suddenly>   I've read that triggers can be nippy with lionfish spines, but also that Nigers are maybe the most peaceful of triggers. <Amongst the most> If I could get the trigger, are there any special pre-cautions (besides the obvious, like QT-ing) I can take in introducing him to the tank?  I have fake rock decorations, about 30 pounds of live rock, and three feet of PVC piping (that no one's using) in the tank right now. Will he need more hiding places? <Mmm, no... will likely find a cave, area to sleep, swim to when frightened...> The eel and the puffer have each claimed separate fake decorations, and the lion prefers the open spaces. Sorry for the long-windedness, and thanks for any info! Samantha <No worries, and thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Diving with Triggers....and captive care   2/14/07 Thanks for the reply. 92 gal is a corner bow footprint. I decided on the Odonus. <Will be an okay addition until it reaches adulthood, say about 6-8".> The wife likes puffers - please tell me I could still add a puffer. <A smaller Toby.> If so, what type of puffer? <See above.> Then any room left for an Angel? <Long-term....no.> Thanks as always. <Of course.>   An aside... Triggers particularly like thumbs on divers. The occasions I have been bit by an ocean trigger was on the thumb while shooting some underwater video - blood is green underwater. It took me two times to realize I need to tuck in my thumbs... Watch your digits around these awesome fish... <Thank you for sharing....Adam J.>

Niger Trigger acting funny...  12/12/06 I have had the fish 3 months and for the most part has been the dominate <dominant> fish in the tank. The fish eats all the time and seems very healthy, until this morning. The fish has no intention of doing anything but resting wedged between rocks in the tank. Usually it spends it days swimming all over and moving small rocks. <Natural behavior> i did a water change yesterday like I regularly do, I have not added any new fish in a long time. The only thing I have added was some fully cured live rock only about 15 lbs. Does anybody have any ideas what could be wrong? <Could be "bummed" with the change in its world... might have eaten something on the LR that didn't agree with it...> Could the rocks have some sort of parasite on them? <Mmm, not likely> Any help would be greatly appreciated. As i am writing this email the trigger will come out swim for a couple seconds then dart back into the rock and wedge itself in there again. I have a fish only tank..175 gallon 1) Niger trigger 1) Huma Huma Trigger 1) Panther Grouper 1) Snowflake eel 1) lion Fish 1) Domino Damsel 1) One spot fox face rabbit fish 1) Scooter Blenny <Will be consumed> 1) Porcupine puffer Very little live rock ( working on that though) mostly base rock and dead Tonga Branch <Mostly a "wait and see" type problem/situation here. Bob Fenner>

Trigger Won't Eat - 09/08/06 We also have a Niger trigger that has stopped eating 2 and a half weeks ago and has gone to ground in the rocks. <<Not a good sign>> We have seen him several times during this period, he has no external signs of damage, parasites, etc.  Colour and markings look very good, breathing is normal, eyes are bright and actively looking at his surroundings. <<Hmm...is this fish a recent acquisition?  Perhaps this behavior is a reaction to its environment>> Tank has been established 10 years, 300 gallons, fish only all other fish ok, water ok, all we have done so far is extra water changes (not sure why) increase vitamins and essential elements we don't know what else to try, so I have been looking on the fish net for help and/or advice. Chris <<Well Chris...I have observed similar behavior before in other species (internal parasites I suspect)...unfortunately there's little you can do once the fish stops eating.  Do ensure your water quality is optimum, and keep trying to induce/offer food to try to get the fish to feed...and do a Google search of our site re "internal parasites".  Regards, EricR>>

Niger Trigger And Clam Compatibility...Clam Chowder In The Works   6/28/06 Hi, <Hello Jason> I enjoy learning on your site, and after looking through the FAQ's on Niger Triggers, I have not found an answer to this one. I would really like the opportunity to keep a Niger Trigger in my 125 gallon reef. I mostly keep soft corals and LPS with a few SPS thrown in...(gently glued in). From what I have read, this fish can get quite big, be aggressive to other fish and is a planktivore. <No such word, triggerfish are carnivores.> (Sorry for my spelling as English is not my mother tongue). <The spell checker works great for this.> As I accept these facts and can later accommodate a larger fish, I am left with one question. What would it do to my Crocea and Squamosa clams? <Make Clam Chowder.  Clams are on their menu in nature.> Thanks for your time. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)

Injured Goby 6/21/06 Hay love your site. <Thanks> I have a problem.  The last inch off my  EG's tail was bitten off by my niger trigger. <That is definitely a problem.  The fish need to be separated and the goby will need to be closely monitored for secondary infections.  Without more information it's impossible to give more advice.> <Chris>

Trigger Diet ?  - 03/22/06 I have a 6-7" Niger Trigger and was wondering about feeding and his teeth. <Okay.> Is shrimp with the tail on enough, or should I use some in shell clams to keep his teeth worn down? <Both are viable options, and I would utilize both as variety is key in the diet of marine fish.>   If clams are a good option, I understand I would pry them open partially before feeding, until he got ****** the hang of it, and later he would open them himself. <That would be a good method.> My question is, what do I look for in a clam other than marine origin? <They should be raw and uncooked.> Do I rinse in freshwater first? <Yes I usually rinse my food in R.O. water before feeding.>   Is there a better food for this purpose? <Anything of marine origin with a hard shell is fine for this purpose.> Are there parasite, contamination risks? <If you are worried about this you can freeze the food prior to feeding.> I have read through all the trigger feeding and health FAQ's and the articles, but couldn't find an answer. <Really? This is a common question, especially with puffers.> Thanks so much for any information you can provide...you have been a great help to me in the past with my aquariums. <Anytime, good luck. Adam J.>

Trigger System/Choices II - 02/27/06 Eric, <<Hello Bill>> THANKS for the very prompt reply. <<Very welcome>> I'm not sure but last post may have been misleading. <<Mmm, okay...>> The 90 gallon tank is going bye-bye, unless I decide to use it for my sump/refugium.  (the sump on the 90 gallon Cichlid tank is a 40 gallon breeder) <<Ah, I see.>> I've been looking at a 135, or possibly a 180. <<The latter is the better choice.>> Both are glass, and drilled.  They include a stand and canopy, and whatever lights I decide for a very reasonable price. <<cool>> I'm guessing the 180 would be the best choice for the three triggers--the Niger, Picasso, and Bluechin/Throat using the 'rule' of 1" of fish per 2 gallons of water <<A useless rule my friend...as are so many such "generalizations"...all fishes are definitely NOT created equal.  You must take in to account such things as feeding habits, swimming behavior, temperament, developmental retardation (as in putting a Yellow Tang/Blue Tang/Sohal Tang/Naso Tang, etc., etc., etc., in a 55 gallon system!), and more.  Unfortunately there is no magic formula (or rule).>> --or is it just wishful thinking and still need to go bigger-- <<Considering adult sizes...would like to see you go bigger for the long-term.  I think you could likely get by with the 180 for some time, but the Niger Trigger will eventually outgrow even this tank (can reach 20+ inches in the wild).>> Your thoughts and recommendations are appreciated. Bill Fletcher <<Regards, EricR>> Trigger System/Choices III - 02/28/06 Eric; <<Bill>> Again my THANKS for the prompt reply--that is the main reason we all come to this site. <<Very welcome my friend.>> Well, I had always heard that bigger is better, and I really did want a bigger tank anyway. <<Your chosen fishes will be happier/live longer for it.  Let me know how things progress.>> THANKS again, Bill Fletcher <<Regards, EricR>>

Niger Trigger   1/10/06 (I am resending the below message just in case it was never received. My virus scanner is on the blink and causing all sorts of trouble.) <Thank you for this. We have webmail issues off/on as well> Crew,     As always thanks in advance. I am having a problem with my Niger trigger. First off the long and not so short; 55 gal. <... too small a volume for this species.> FOWLR, pH 8.3, temp. 80, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate 0, calcium 450, Alk 7. I started to have trouble with the trigger after I rearranged my power heads in an attempt to eliminate dead spots in the aquarium. The next day the trigger was hiding under her sleeping rock but came out to eat at chow time. The next day wedged under the rock again, this time it wouldn't eat. Third day the same behavior, move to quarantine tank. <I would wait a week or two here... Triggers are given to such behavioral changes with slight changes in their environment> No treatment as yet because I have no idea what is going on. The other tank inhabitants are a small Scopas tang, a lawnmower blenny, a yellowtail blue damsel, a maroon clown, a large thriving sebae anemone, a long spine urchin, a pencil urchin, a coral banded shrimp, a cleaner shrimp, and various hermits and snails. <Am very surprised that the trigger has not (yet) consumed the last few> Nothing else is showing signs of distress. Filtration includes an emperor 400 with the bio-wheels removed and an aqua-c remora pro skimmer. I think it may be too late for her as she has stopped eating and swimming altogether, but does not have any other overt visible sign if stress or disease. Her diet included Formula One and Two soaked in Zoecon, frozen Mysis shrimp also soaked in Zoecon and lastly Wardley's freeze dried plankton also soaked in Zoecon. This is very distressing as this was the second fish added to the system after the tank was cycled nearly eleven months ago.     Thank you ever so much, Mike <Do try both an opened clam and on another occasion a "cocktail shrimp" (sans sauce of course)... and replace the trigger in its larger/est system. Bob Fenner>

In Absence of Sexual Dimorphism, How Does One Go About Sexing Odonus niger?  11/7/05 Hi there, I just have one really quick question regarding the red tooth triggerfish or Odonus niger. Do you know how to sex this fish? Sorry what i mean is do you know how to tell a male from a female any help would greatly be appreciated, Jarryd <Mmm, nope... as far as I'm aware this fish cannot be readily sexually differentiated externally. In the wild I've only encountered O. niger singly or in large, loose aggregations (never seen reproductive behavior). Bob Fenner>

Trigger foods  9/26/05 Hello, I just received a Niger trigger and he is by far the coolest fish I have ever owned! So what kind of veggies should I feed him? Spinach, lettuce, Nori, etc.?? Thanks Ben PS I have been feeding him krill and flakes.  <It's quite obvious that no research was done on the trigger before purchase.  Triggers are not algae eaters... Eat meaty foods, eat crabs, shrimp, urchins in nature.  James (Salty Dog)> Re: trigger foods  9/26/05 hello, sorry about not being very specific. I know that they eat meaty foods but require a diet of veggies. Some people told me that they need to eat some veggies once in awhile. Or are they lying? Thanks Ben <Balistids will eat, try most anything... will get all their necessary nutrients through meaty and prepared foods. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility  9/19/05 Hi everyone today I buy a fish... a niger triggerfish.  I always said that I would never buy a trigger but the seller said to me that this one was reef safe and that it would be no problem with my other fish (a big yellow tang (4"), 2 Firefish, true percula clown, yellow watchman goby, green Chromis and 1 cleaner shrimp).  First I didn't believe de seller so he give me a book (marine atlas) and it was true, it even said that if I want to have a cleaner shrimp I just have to put it in the tank before the trigger.  So I buy it (it's about 2") Now I come see on Internet, on your website and it don't give the same information... What's true?? <The truth is that none of the triggers are reef safe.  You may have been given dated information. Research a fish before you buy on the WWM.  Information here is kept current. James (Salty Dog)> Did I just made a big mistake? my tank is a 90 gallons with a 35 gallon sump I have some soft corals thanks! p.s. sorry again for my bad English

Niger in a 55 Hello All, <<Hello One. Marina here.>> Today I purchased a Niger. I have a 55gal w/one snowflake eel (10" long), one yellow tang (3" long), one Valentini puffer (3" long) one cleaner wrasse (2 1/2" long I know he's a short term fish. Thought I had ich)... <<Wait a minute, you're saying that you purchased this fish KNOWING that it wouldn't survive long-term??? That equals bad Karma, baby. BTW, one of the WORST choices for controlling ich, ESPECIALLY with such small fishes!>> ...one false percula (2 1/2" long) and one Anthias (2 1/2" long). <<Jeez, you've hit your limit a while ago, there.>> Niger is in qt tank for now. <<Ok.>> My intent is to move the tang, trigger and maybe the eel in a year to a 120gal. <<Why wait a year? These fishes, numbers, should be in such a tank NOW.>> My question, would they all be happy and play nicely in the 55 until the 120 is up and cycled? <<You are VERY overstocked as it is. This is, in my opinion (considering the habits of the fishes you've listed) cruel. I'm sorry to be so blunt about it, but there it is.>> In the 55, I have 60lbs or more of live rock, I do a 3-5 gal water change every other week and a 25% water change every month and a haft or two. <<That doesn't do enough, in my opinion, to keep water quality up, and it sure as heck doesn't give them the swimming space they need. Especially the tang and Anthias.>> No algae blooms, water test are in range and top off with R/O. <<As ever, I ask, "What is 'in range'?" Tells me nothing, and I'll remind you/all that this is ONLY the stuff hobbyists can test for, does not come close to telling the whole story, my friend.>> If you suggest not keeping all together, I do have a 30 gal reef, but if I can get away with it, I'd rather not move anyone out.. Thanks all Brenda <<The 30 is a nano, and outside of the clown no other fish would really be suitable for such a small system (I would have moved it there a long time ago.. unless THAT's already overstocked with vertebrate life). I hate to say it, but you've got to decide what's more important - having these fish now (all of which are quite readily available, so I don't see the point), or providing them the best you can in/for the long term.  I also hate to say this, but it really seems to me that you're not exactly taking into consideration the fishes' psychological health/welfare. Water changes are great, but the frequency in such an overstocked system leaves something to be desired, as well as the amount changed.  The tang alone is problematic in a 55, could do alright for a few months to a year as long as growth is stunted/delayed. But adding in all those other fishes.. whew.. Alright, as things stand, I really DON'T think they'll do well for more than a few months given husbandry, tank-mates, housing. Get the 120 NOW, or give up some fishes. Marina>>

How About Adding "Volume on the Cheap"? Niger in a 55 Take Two Hello again, <<Hi Brenda.>> Bluntness is not a form of cruelty, when it comes as a wake-up call to a potential disaster. Reason for delay in 120, basement is under construction. Really don't want drywall dust getting into water even with a cloth cover. <<Ah.. Can't blame you on that.>> The 55 housed the clown, Anthias and bicolor for a year. Puff came along, to help with a mantis problem in 30. Eel was a hitchhiker in large rock (lucky me). <<Holy Canoli.. you got a snowflake as a hitchhiker? Jeez, eyeah (lucky you).>> Bicolor mover to 30. Puff stayed in 30 until 3 months ago. Tang was given by Army friend shipped over. <<Ah, yes.>> Had him in QT tank moved him in 55 came down with black dots got cleaner for him. He cleaned him up good. I guess when I said "I thought I had ich", I should have finished and said worms. I would love to keep the cleaner, but everything I've heard and read, they don't have a long life expectancy. <<They do, but not in most captive situations. They require large, and large numbers of, fishes upon which to perform their duties. There are anecdotal stories of folks getting them to feed on other foodstuffs, but I have yet to hear of one living in a situation such as yours long term. This is why WWM, as a whole/group is so against the sale and purchase of these animals (for the most part).>> Any suggestion would help. <<Here it is: Are you able to add water VOLUME to any/all of these systems via additional sump or similar? Rubbermaid or similar plastic tubs can add 20-30 gallons for a small price, and all that would *really* be needed beyond that is some tubing and pump. If you could add macroalgae to them, even better, but it's going to allow you and the fishes a much larger buffer in all situations. Heck, these things can even actually act as tanks.>> Today was a big move day for some. Niger will remain in QT for a month or so. Clown move to reef. Have a small 12 gal nano reef; Anthias is there until I can think of something. Didn't move him to 30 because of cleaner and peppermint shrimp afraid he would nip. 55 has puff, tang and wrasse oh yes and eel. <<Whew!>> Mention water, cause I was hoping you might say "keep water quality good and you might get by for a year". <<Keeping water quality up can definitely help, but I can't tell you with a straight face that all these animals could get on for a whole year this way. Can you trade in some fishes right now? The cleaner, at least?>> Not this case. Failed to mention QT tank is 30 as well. If any of these moves don't seem reasonable, please suggest something.....I know get the 120 going........B- <<Heh, yeah. But, in the meantime if you could thin the numbers in each situation, and add water volume, then you could squeak by. On water changes alone... I am hesitant (but that doesn't mean add volume don't do more water changes). Additional chemical filtration (something not yet mentioned) is sometimes helpful, but can quickly become expensive. Again, reconsider the numbers/purchases here. You have a lot of trouble even if things do go smoothly, a crap shoot. And that's my best advice. Marina>>

-A Niger Fakes it- <Hello> I bought a Niger triggerfish a week ago. <Did you Q/t this fish?>  He seems very active with my damsel, but when he stops moving he lays on his left side on the bottom of the tank in the same spot. <Well they do tend to have personality "quirks" and each does different things to get us to pay attention.>  Is this normal behavior of this fish? <Could be, But I really need to know if this fish was q/ted or even freshwater dipped as it might be sick. Is it eating well, swimming normally and not having any spots etc?>  I have just a 20 gal. tank with crushed coral bottom and 5 live rocks. <Ok here is the problem, Not only was it not q/t ed its in a tank that is way too small for this fish. While it may be fine now and the laying on the substrate is normal (Mine does it sometimes to get more food), it will get way too large for this tank and will get sick soon if it isn't already. I hope your tank is not infected with any diseases from this fish, but please quarantine your fish for at least 4 weeks before putting them in your display. If any of them are sick or have ich then they will infect everything and its a hassle to get everything well. Also please research your fish on WWM before buying them. This fish will get 8" to 15" or more in some cases. Can you handle a 80-120 gallon tank for it?> Thanks, John  <Justin (Jager)> 

Niger Trigger Hello, <Hi. You Got Justin> I'm not sure who to contact or who to ask, I've been reviewing some of the information your site has about Niger triggers, Anyways I have a 3/4 inch long Niger trigger...and it seems to be hiding a lot during the day and laying around (from what I've read so far this is normal) <Yes and no.... Nigers normally swim very actively during the day and only hide when they are stressed or are being picked on or are sick with something. I am leaning toward the third.>  But, my concern is this; his eyes are REALLY glazed over. Everything else seems to be fine, but I'm worried.  All the chemical levels are correct, and all of my other fish are completely fine. I have an angel, two clowns and a couple damsels.  <Well it really only helps us to know the exact levels in the tank. Otherwise we cant simply take your word for it.> If you have any ideas...or know anything that might help him I would be very thankful ~Chris <Sure Well first I would catch the Niger and put it in its own Q/T tank for observation. The cloudy eyes are usually a symptom of poor water quality. By Q/T ing it you can help it by constantly having very high water quality and in case it is ill with something else it prevents any more transfer into your main tank. To help the fish for now go get some Epsom salt. Its sold at your grocery store. Put in 1 TSP (teaspoon) per every 5 gallons to help relieve any excess water pressure behind the eyes. Simply watch this fish and remove from q/t once the eyes heal. If they wont after giving good water quality and the Epsom salts, you might try a cloudy eye medication, but I really recommend this as a last resort. > <Justin (Jager)> 

Nocturnal Odonus Niger? Hello, <Hi, Mike D here> I am new at having a tank. I have a 125 gallon salt water tank. I have a yellow tang, an angel, Picasso trigger and a Niger trigger (Odonus Niger). At night the Niger is very active and likes to make splashing noises. Is this normal? I have been unable to find anything about the Niger fish being Nocturnal or anything else on this. Thanks. <The Niger trigger, sometimes sold in larger sizes as the Vampire trigger due to it's red teeth, can reach up to 19", so you may find that you need to upgrade to a larger tank eventually. To the best if my knowledge they aren't truly nocturnal but often occupy deeper waters, thus becoming "twilight fish" that are active in dimmer light. Not generally being as aggressive, when small, as the Picasso, it may be telling you that it needs an additional feeding now that the competition has eased off.  For whatever it's worth, the Niger is one of the few larger triggers that doesn't automatically eliminate tank mates as it matures as does the Undulatus, the Clown and the Queen, the hint here being don't add too many triggers lest you end up with a bloodbath in the eventual future.>

Niger Triggerfishes Hello,         What are my chances of success of keeping two Nigers in a 65 gallon? I have a 3" one in the tank now and would like to add a 6" one, will the size difference diffuse the aggression on the part of the original trigger? Thank you <Short answer: not good. This size tank is ultimately not large enough for one specimen. Would you like to be confined to a room about the size of your kitchen with a grizzly bear? Even if you both started off young/small? Me neither. Bob Fenner>

Niger Trigger I have a 135 gallon tank in the works.   <Oooo lovely>  I have had a 55 set up for about 6 months now. I've been planning on what fish to stock the 135 with, I was thinking a Niger trigger a Humu Humu trigger and a harlequin tusk? <I really would like to caution you about the two triggers. Let me be honest and tell you that I know people who have them together with good results and I know people who have them together with bad results. But triggers are aggressive and can hurt each other. They are also very competitive and might over compete with other fish for food.> are all these fish appropriate for my 135? Will they out grow it? Also would a Niger trigger be ok in my 55 for about 2 months? <Yes it should be just fine for a short period of time. But these fish as they grow need the mental stimulation of a larger tank. The ability to swim back and forth.> The one I'm looking at is about 3 inches right now. His tank mates would be a Scopas tang and a Percula clown fish. <Let me know what you decide Sharon, keep us up-to-date on your setups. MacL> thanks a lot Sharon

Big Nigers How big do Niger triggerfish get really? I've read they get 12 inches but also read they get 18 inches. I was am planning on getting one for my 55 gallon aquarium which is 4 feet long and also how long could I keep one in my aquarium before upgrading ***Hello, While Niger triggers are among the very best of marine aquarium fish, they are not appropriate for a smaller tank. Anything under 180 gallons will not house this fish long term, regardless of what you may read in a book. Yes, they reach 18" or so in the wild, this includes the fin trailers. In captivity, 12 to 14" is likely, meaning that it's MUCH too large to keep in a 55 gallon long term. The other item of note about this species is that unlike some triggers, they grow FAST! So if you put a 3" specimen in a 55 gallon tank, it's likely you'd have to upgrade the tank or sell the trigger at around the 18 month mark. You also don't say what else you have in the tank, which could be a factor as well. A much better choice for you given the tank size would be a trigger of the Rhinecanthus genus. This includes the Huma Huma trigger (R. aculeatus) and the Rectangulus trigger, (R. Rectangulus). They grow slowly, so you could keep a Huma Huma in a 55 gallon tank for years if you start with a 2 or 3" individual. Again, with the caveat that he may not be an appropriate tankmate for certain fish, and should certainly be the smallest fish in the tank regardless. They do well most of the time if added last as the smallest fish. Good luck. Jim***

Odonus First Aid <Hi, Mike D here> Good morning everyone, I could use some help. I have a six month old Odonus trigger, and it looks like he got a little to rambunctious in    redecorating and has a little  piece of coral or shell stuck in his chin,<Yep, this happens occasionally> it doesn't seem to bother him, but I am concerned about it.<Sometimes that's bad, as it's surprisingly easy to make a small problem into a large one because of human compulsions> Do you have any suggestions about how to go about removing this-??<MY suggestion is to wait until it does bother him, at which time he'll rub against a rock, a piece of coral or the bottom and remove it himself. If you feel that you HAVE to remove it, you can catch him in a net and simply pick the offending particle off with a pair of tweezers. While trying to catch him, he'll likely show you the wonderful way triggers dive into LR and LOCK themselves into place with that TRIGGER FIN evolved for just that purpose. Use care of course, so that the fish doesn't become severely injured fleeing from you, bringing me back to the point about making a small problem into a large one.> Thank you, John

Nasty Niger! >Greetings Crew! >>Greetings! >I've had a medium sized Odonus trigger and similarly sized yellow tang in my 150 for several weeks, and all has been well.  This evening I transferred my striped puffer, slightly smaller than the trigger, into the tank and all hell broke loose.   >>Oh my.. and here they're supposed to be so much more mellow than "other" triggers.  Shame on that fish! >The trigger chased the puffer for about an hour, until I took a damsel (that annoys me anyway) out of my smaller tank and threw into the mix.  The trigger then decided to chase him instead, until the lights kicked off and the trigger promptly went to his sleeping spot.  Now, my question is this. when morning rolls around, what should I expect?   >>More of the same, with a chance that the duel may not stop until the offending fish is dead.  I would watch closely. >Was this just normal territory-marking behavior?  The damsel is pretty good at running interference, but I know this isn't the long term solution.   >>It just may be.  You could try putting the trigger on a "time out" for two to three weeks in another tank.  This would give the puff time to make itself more at home, then the Niger would be the new kid in town. >Ideas?  Should I plan on taking the trigger back to my LFS tomorrow? >>I wouldn't be so quick unless it's REALLY obvious a fish's life is in real danger. >Many thanks, Dave >>You're welcome Dave, and good luck!  Marina

Swollen spines?? (10/12/03) I trust you guys and live by your advice, I hope you can help me! <Ananda here tonight, hoping I can help, too!> I have a spiny box puffer and three of his spines are swollen and white, I had a niger trigger with him and thought it was biting him, so I took the trigger out and was wondering if it was bites or a puffer disease. <Hmmm. Never heard of anything quite like that being a disease... the trigger, on the other hand, definitely has the teeth to cause damage...and even though the niger is one of the mildest of the triggers, triggers can be a real mean bunch. Do keep the two separate for at least a while so the box puffer's spines can heal. To encourage healing, keep the water quality pristine, and feed the fish a good-quality food, preferably something you can add a vitamin preparation to.> I am hoping to hear from you soon!!!  Thanks <You're welcome! --Ananda>

Niger Triggerfish Problems...(and I don't have any answers!) Greetings all, I've gone ahead and forwarded this, as I can't seem to find anything that is specific to this problem with "first teeth"(?). Any help, whether a direct answer or pointing me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated. Marina I have had a Niger Trigger almost 6 months. A week ago, he stopped eating ( for 6 days) and is constantly hiding is his rock. I have done all the tests necessary, and everything is normal. The temperature in the tank is around 80-81. He lives with an eel and a crab, and everyone gets along fine. Recently he started growing teeth. I called a guy who raises tropical fish and he said that the Niger Fish won't eat because he is teething and it hurts him to eat. I've read an article on your site that said when they quit eating that something is amiss. I am really worried about him. If you need any additional information Thanks for your time, Anne Marie <A few species of Triggerfishes tend to develop "external teeth" with growth, size... most obvious is the Niger. I suggest adding some whole hard material foods to this animals diet (shellfish, crustaceans). Assuming it resumes feeding (which it very likely will), this matter will help in grinding the teeth down to manageable size. Bob Fenner>

Niger Triggerfish Problems... >Hello, Anne Marie.  Sorry for not getting right back to you, but this query has me stumped. I have had a Niger Trigger almost 6 months. A week ago, he stopped eating ( for 6 days) and is constantly hiding is his rock. I have done all the tests necessary, and everything is normal. The temperature in the tank is around 80-81. >This is on the warm side.  I suggest lowering to 76-78F. He lives with an eel and a crab, and everyone gets along fine.  Recently he started growing teeth. >This is the confusing part, I've never seen a toothless trigger, not even planktivores like Nigers. I called a guy who raises tropical fish and he said that the Niger Fish won't eat because he is teething and it hurts him to eat. >If your fish were a human baby, that *almost* might make sense, but having raised two of my own (and helped one sis w/two more) it still doesn't really make sense. I've read an article on your site that said when they quit eating that something is amiss. >This would be true of just about any fish I can think of. I am really worried about him. If you need any additional Information please e-mail me. Thanks for your time, Anne Marie >Well, Anne Marie, as I said, you've got me stumped.  With *most* triggers (and puffers, and fish that haven't got "proper" teeth) one must provide them with the crunchy exoskeletons of arthropods and crustaceans to help keep their teeth worn down.  Without knowing what you've been feeding your fish, I can't say whether or not this might be a problem.  Also, because Niger triggers are just about the *only* "reef-safe" trigger (because of their normal feeding habits), I cannot declare that you must either begin feeding this fish these foods, nor can I say with any certainty that you must take matters into your own hands and do any trimming of any kind.  Would you be able to provide any pictures?  Also, specific water quality parameters are always helpful, as are dates of introductions, and any/all other changes noted in your logs.  Marina
Re: Niger Triggerfish Problems...
>Thank you for replying. >>Oh hon, that's what we're here for!  You're very welcome. >After I received your email, I slowly lowered the temperature down to 76-78 degrees. Yesterday he was laying on his side in the rock, but when I woke up today he was still in his rock, and floating normally. >>Good.  I also received a bit of information from Bob, just in this morning. >My Father has been feeding him a different kind of food. He bought Gamma Shrimp from Fosters and Smith Catalog. It comes in a thin frozen package...and My father would break a piece off and throw it in the tank. (He decided to tell me Sunday night.) >>I don't think there's anything wrong with that, except that here you were panicking thinking the fish had stopped eating altogether!  I'm not familiar with this shrimp, but Bob suggests that you feed the fish shrimp with their shells on (this is what I was going to suggest), it's what we do for most all other triggers and puffers to help wear down their teeth. >I usually go to the pet store and buy him a couple Roseys or I feed him a cube of frozen shredded shrimp. >>? Roseys?  I will strongly suggest not feeding anything live.  It's great to give them a boost, or if you're trying to get animals into breeding fettle, but not necessary when all others.  Plus, there is much the chance of introducing disease into the system--bad thing.  Also, if these Roseys are a freshwater animal, they're going to be very bad for the fish's health in the long run, has to do with the differences in fatty acids found in freshwater vs. saltwater. >(I usually let it warm up on its own.) I'm going back to my feeding routine today.  I will try to send you pictures today. Again, Thank you very much...Anne Marie >>I think that if the fish is eating, and you start feeding him the crunchies once or twice a week (at least) he'll soon be on his way towards normal growth (assuming he isn't already).  You're very welcome, Anne Marie.  Marina   

Niger Triggerfish Problems... >I tried feeding him the shrimp, but he will not come out of the rock. I took the rock and then tired to feed him, but he would not eat. My Father said he will eat when he gets hungry, but its been 7 days. >>Your father's right.  Have you tried the whole shrimp yet? >When I took the rock out he was swimming around, looking like his old self, and was a little angry. I put some of the shredded shrimp in the tank, and he would not eat anything. >>Ok.  Leave the decorations in place.  Removing them like this will only increase stress.  Why are the shrimp shredded?  Give him whole, and if you don't want them just lying in the tank then use a feeding stick (easily devised with a piece of clear, rigid, acrylic tubing and some zip ties). >When I put the rock back in the tank, he swam right back in and will not come out. Should I take the rock out altogether? >>No.  Let him be for a bit.  Fish can go quite a while without eating, 7 days is nothing. >The only concern I would have with that is the eel would have no place to hide. ( The eel is a Snowflake eel...I don't think I told you that...) Well, Thanks for the quick response again...Anne Marie P.S. I got the email from Bob...Thanks >>You're welcome, Anne Marie.  Just leave things be.  As a matter of fact, I'd withhold food specifically from the trigger for two or three days.  Feed only the eel.  He'll get the idea and come out when he wants.  Marina

Triggers and water parameters - 2/11/03 Hello Crew! I swear I'll stop pestering you folks one of theses days, but until then.....? <No worries. Paul in the seat and ready for lift off.....what can I do for you?>   If you wouldn't mind indulging me....I have a Niger Trigger in a 55 gal waiting for the last phase of cycling in my 125 gal before I relocate him there. <Good> This Trigger has the curious, and I'll admit, humorous habit of constantly moving substrate from the back of the tank with his mouth and then gracefully...politely, even, depositing it all over my/his live rock and  the front of the tank.  It never ends!  While I know Triggers do this sometimes, my question is, could this disturbance of the substrate explain my fluctuating nitrite levels from 0 to .25. <Possibly smothering the aerobic bacteria>  I also pose this question because this fellow has created peaks and valleys all over the tank and I mean deep ones. too....four inches in spots.  I seem to recall that you mention (don't recall exactly where) that this is ok if it is only 1/2 inch deep or so or am I mistaken? <I believe the 1/2 inch or so was regarding the depth of the sand bed in general if not maintaining a deep sand bed. If you want a deep sand bed then it would more than likely need to be over 4 inches throughout the tank. The high nitrite issue could also be improper filtration methods to handle the breakdown of ammonia to nitrite to nitrate processes. What type of filtration is being used? Live rock in this holding/quarantine tank? Is the sand live? Sponge filter or sump etc.? Maybe adding one of the additional filtration methods would be a good idea depending or not what this tank is used for. Not enough specifics here to really help you on that aspect. Sounds like your trigger is having fun though. =). Paul a little tired, as it is late and have a cold to boot. I may be missing something here...... > Again, I thank you and am so grateful for your words of wisdom. <Hardly words of wisdom. Was the 55 gal used for other animals or are there other animals being housed with the trigger? Were the nitrites always high in this tank before the trigger addition? Look in these areas. Ask yourself the "before" and "after" and see what you come up with. In the meantime I would change the water and get the nitrites down.> Michael   <Thanks Michael. Hope I inspired some thought and was able to lend an assist. Paul - going to bed.>

My Odonus niger Hi, I recently bought a niger triggerfish from my local petstore and added it to my 75 gallon semi-reef tank. the only other inhabitant to my tank was a red-Volitans lionfish that is about 4 inches in length. the triggerfish is a good 3 inches in length but still seems to be afraid of my lionfish. I am positive that the lionfish can not fit this fish in his mouth, although i do know they are quite surprising sometimes, but my trigger stays hiding in a cave in the back of the tank all day long, except for feeding.  I have had him for 4 days so far and he seems to refuse to come out and I have noticed that he has scratched himself on the rock as well. do you think he's just going to hide away and die? is there anything I can do to make him less scared. anything would be greatly appreciated. thank you so much for all of your help. <Well, this is a shy species actually... and it is very new to your system. I agree with you that it is unlikely to be swallowed by the Lionfish. I would not be concerned re the apparent scratch (these animals are tough, good healers), nor the lack of outgoingness of your trigger at this point. Give it another week or two, and it will be out and about much more. Bob Fenner>

Red Tooth/Niger Odonus Trigger Hello Crew: I am interested in a Niger (Odonus) Trigger which is approx. 5-6 inches long.  I do not know how long the people have had the fish.   <no matter... please be certain to QT for 4 weeks at home before you put it into your display> I asked where it originates from and they indicated the Red Sea.  I asked about the color of its teeth because I was told red usually means Red Sea or Hawaii.   <not necessarily... variability here. All are generally regarded as "Red Tooth" triggers though and it comes with age/maturity> The owner indicated the teeth were white, and they do not turn red till the fish is older.  Is this true? <yes... I would agree with that for most/all Niger Odonus> I would appreciate any assistance on this subject. Thank you for your response.  Regards, A. Mendelsohn <best regards, Anthony>

Niger Trigger - Odonus niger  Bob, At the moment I have the following setup running well. Tank - 4ft x 2ft x 2ft Capacity - 450l 120gal Filter - Fluval 403 Powerhead - Atman At-f102 4 Undergravel plates Lighting - 4 x 2ft Arcadia Fluor Tubes (2 x Marine Blue ) (2 x Power Glo 20W) Heating - 1 x 250 watt heater Protein Skimmer - 1 x Orca 35 skimmer Live Stock - Live Rock - 50kg 110pounds 1 x Coral Banded Shrimp - Stenopus hispidus 1 x Snail 1 x Blue Tang - Paracanthurus hepatus 3 inches 1 x Tomato Clown - Amphiprion melanopus 3 inches 1 x Coral Beauty Angel - Centropyge bispinosa 2 inches 1 x Bubble Tipped Anemone - Entacmaea quadricolor 1 x Star Fish - Fromia milleporella ???? 1 x Soft Coral - Nephthea sp ???? 1 x Bicolor Blenny - Ecsenius bicolor 3 inches long but only 1/2 inch high 1 x Queensland Dottyback - Ogilbyina queenslandiae 4 inches I was looking at adding a Niger Trigger to the tank say about 2 inches. Do you foresee any problems with that? <it is indeed a passive and reasonably well behaved trigger. One of the best for its family. Do watch carefully though... the shrimp is most at risk... possibly the corals but quite unlikely> Regards, Scott <best regards, Anthony>

trigger - reef <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> Just wondering about Niger Trigger reef compatibility.. <<Ok.>> I currently have a 55 gal tank with a custom acrylic 200 gal being built...but they are taking their time and are extremely busy, will not be finished till near Christmas, so I will probably not have it fish ready until this time next year. in the 55 there is about 100 lbs of LR, a couple emerald crabs, a couple peppermint shrimp, some xenia, some star polyps and some mushroom anemones. The current fish inhabitants are 2 tank raised clowns, 5 green Chromis and a juvenile Zebrasoma veliferum(2 inches) that I stupidly took off a friend out of pity, but have grown to love. I have also fallen in love with a small (same as the Zebrasoma) Niger trigger, beautiful specimen. 1) will it rip apart the rock work? 2) will it eat the shrimp? 3) will it eat the crabs? 4) will it eat the snails? 5) will it eat my corals? 6) will it eat or bother my smaller fish? 7) will it fight with the Sailfin? 8) will the Sailfin hold it's own? 9) will they settle down? 10) can I get this fish? 11) should I get this fish? <<Rather than answer those all individually, I'll just state it this way: out of all the triggers, this is perhaps the only one that could be considered 'reef safe'. What this means varies from person to person, but suffice to say the Niger trigger is a planktivore and finds its food in the water column. That being said, there are no guarantees... each fish is an individual and may choose to not follow the plan. There's only one way you are going to find out...>> Thanks so much, unfortunately, I think I know the answer to all these questions. Maybe my 200 should be for fish, and my 55 for a reef. <<Agreed, the larger volume would help.>> Chris <<Cheers, J -- >>

Niger (Odonus) trigger in reef Hello Crew, <cheers> I was wondering if a baby niger or pink tailed trigger would be OK in a 90 gallon reef.  <either are about as reef safe as it gets for reef tanks. Both are planktivores that feed from the open water column largely and pay less attention to benthic fauna... still, supervise as one would with a big angel or tang in a reef> Are these species more docile then other triggers and are they reef safe ? <the Niger Odonus is generally quite peaceful... the Pinktail can be frighteningly aggressive to other fishes> Thanks, Mario <if I was ever going to experiment with a trigger... the Odonus would be my choice. Anthony>

Salt fish Compatibility Hello to the WWM folks! >cheers, friend> I have somewhat of an urgent question... My good friend's father is in the Navy, and was just re-posted on the other side of the country!! He has a large aquarium which he is shipping with him, but has decided to sell off or give away most of his livestock. HE still has one little bugger for which he has not found a home...and he thinks my tank is a bit bare....I have a 55 gal tank, with live rock and a small school of Chromis (12) plus a small clown tang. <interesting already... how long have you had the clown tang? Most do not live beyond 2years if they even get that far along. They seem to fare "very well" for months and then die "mysteriously" of a dietary deficiency. Please be sure to feed this fish an EXTRAORDINARY variety of foods. HUFA rich (Selcon soaked), perhaps even install a fishless refugium inline for plankton> Well...this little fish that he cant seem to get rid of is a very newly acquired Niger Trigger <AKA the Odonus/Red Tooth trigger> ...which for some reason he bought at only about 1 1/2" (max)  <holy cow!> anyhow....he seems to assure me that it wont hassle my tank mates <agreed... even when large, they are a very passive trigger... nearly reef safe planktivores as well> and that it wont get hassled... <on that I strongly disagree... here we have a very small fish, notoriously passive (the trigger) going into the established tank with a categorical bully (the clown tang)... the odds/sizes aren't good, and I would not recommend it> and that hopefully it wouldn't out grow my tank for several months.  <agreed... a slow growing and easy to keep trigger. A favorite> I would like to take the fish just out of kindness. and I do love the little buggers! But....I am not as knowledgeable as you folks...and I didn't think I knew much compared to my friend...but this is one situation where I think we both might be a little bit uncertain of the possible outcomes. <the fish would be best acclimated through a small quarantine tank first... perhaps bring the trigger home there, acclimate/QT for 4 weeks and then swap it with the tang for a short while to establish the trigger in the display. Possibly reintroduce the tang later under very close supervision> So...please help me out...and then I could show him this email as part of my answer to his pleading! I would love to have the fish, and to help him out. but if problems with aggression size etc will arise in less than a few to several months....then I think I should pass... <the odds aren't good at all, my friend, for it working. Sure... even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes... but I wouldn't take or make this bet> the reason I give this timescale is I have started saving and collecting bits and pieces of equipment and knowledge to build a large(200gal+) system which I am going to set up over the rest of the year, hoping to have it ready for the spring... <excellent... and you will definitely need a good quarantine tank for running all of those new fishes.. do consider the above alternative for this cute little trigger. They are real beauties as adults with iridescent sheens! Fitting for a 200 gallon tank!> thanks so much <best regards, Anthony>

red tooth trigger hi Bob, my question is if you know if any niger trigger that you have seen all have their red tooth? <Many do get red colored teeth with size, age, but not all I have seen> mine is about 3 inches long and i have not see the red tooth like it suppose to be. if that's abnormal or is it just have not come out yet? what about if that's the case, does it have any possibility to grow them back as the grow bigger? thanks for your help as always AJ <Patience my friend... most I have seen with this color have been seven inches plus in total length. Bob Fenner>

Red Tooth Trigger tank mates <Greeting John... Anthony Calfo here after a full day of eating so much garlic on my food that bats are dropping from the eaves as I traverse to and from my house> I am trying to find the best tank mates for my Niger Trigger.  <AKA Odonus and the Red Tooth Trigger... a rather shy and peaceful planktivorous trigger (not a big crab eater like the others and not as aggressive either... actually reef safe in some tanks...very cool> I am already planning on a Porcupine Puffer, <make sure it is same or smaller sized than the trigger> but than it is a toss up with the rest. I was thinking: Yellow Tang, or Royal Gramma, Maroon Clown, <Ok so far> dwarf angel <eh... might work if the angel is a good size and assertive enough. This is one of the only triggers nice enough> Lunar Wrasse.  <Strike one! Too large and too fast. Even without aggression, it will out compete the trigger for food. Nix>  One of those. Out of the ones mentioned, if any, which would be the best. If none, what else would be a good tank mate. 100gl Tank John Moyer <keep on rockin' in the free world, my brother. Anthony>

Niger trigger compatibility Hi Bob, I purchased a 3" Niger Trigger approximately 3-4 months ago and placed him into my 50 gal. tall tank. Before his introduction, there were two cleaner wrasses (2.5"), a three-stripped damsel (1.5"), and a yellow-tail damsel (1.5"). In the past month, and especially the last couple days, he has gone on a terror and taken out the two cleaner wrasses and the three-striped.  <Yes... what did you think would happen?> Up until this time, they all were getting along well and the cleaner wrasses were even attending to the trigger. I purchased the Niger because of their tendency to be a little more community friendly, but it now seems like this one doesn't want to be. What other fish can I place into this tank that will be compatible with him? <In a fifty gallon... nothing. Bob Fenner> TIA, Shawn

Niger triggerfish Hi Bob, I have seem Nigers all kept in a tank at the LFS, do they go along well in a tank? I find them cute but lack of colour. <Hmm, they're one of the few Balistids found in large associations in the wild... better to have small, odd numbers rather than a couple...> If they can co-exist themselves in a tank than keeping them in a group will be fun, like "a pack of wolf " in the tank ( piranha fish ) Hope to have a better understanding about the fish from you . Have a nice day and take care. Bye2 now David. >> <Maybe! Bob Fenner>

Niger trigger Hello Bob, Thanks for the prompt reply. I like to share with you about his photo taken from the net this afternoon. It looks like the colour is purple and is it true that the colour vary from individual fish? Pls clarify. David. >> Nice pic... and yes, they, this species does vary geographically and mood/health-wise... the ones from the further western range (east coast of Africa, Red Sea) are pretty dark with white unpaired fin margins... The ones I have pix of in the Maldives are lime green... this one might be from Hawai'i... Bob Fenner

Dear Duke (re triggerfish compatibility) If you were a niger trigger what type of playmate would you select to hang out with? <Probably a similar sized smooth of spiny pufferfish species... Similarly intelligent, fun to be with...> Oh one more question. How do you tell the m/f fish apart?  <Most you can't discern externally... some are physically, color-wise able to be sexed... Group, species-specific. Bob Fenner> thanks Bob-the Duke:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::sincerely orangetailblenny

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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