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FAQs about Xanthichthys Triggerfishes 1

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

Related Articles: Xanthichthys TriggersTriggerfish, Red Sea Triggerfishes

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums

Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Blue Face Trigger Fish       4/28/20
Good Day,
<Hi Adrian>
I recently came across your website seeking answers.
<I hope you find them>
I have a part of my question answered by the community blogs, however I would like specific answer for my issues. I have a 50 gallon tank from Waterbox.
The tank contains, 3 tangs,
<Which species/size?>
2 clown fish, a cleaning crew which consists of snails, blood shrimp, peppermint shrimp and cleaner shrimp, hammer coral, torches and a few hard coral.
The water parameters are 78 degrees, Alkalinity is between 8 and 8.5, Calcium is between 480-465,<A bit high> nitrites are zero, nitrates are at .10 ppm based on my over feeding and I have a bio-pellet reactor to help. The ammonia was at .25 ppm but I did a 50% water change to help this and the salinity is at a consistent 33 ppm but got up to 36 recently.
<Could you tell more about your filtration and water circulation?>
The issue I'm having with a male blue face trigger. He's been a member of the tank for about a month and he is the only trigger in the tank. He started off with a great appetite but now he has stop eating and hides in the rocks. He has some dis-coloration in his face but reading the message board, he possibly got stung by something.
<Could be the case...¿have you noticed the presence of Polychaetes worms in your tank?>
What are my options for this trigger?
<If it got stung, it should heal on its own.>
I have also read it's possibly a digestive parasite or his teeth are over-grown?
<I don’t think this is a parasite issue, neither the overgrown teeth possibility, I suspect more of your water quality, try to keep ammonia levels at zero and watch the trigger for the next days to see if it resumes feeding.>
<You’re welcome. Wil.>
Re: Blue Face Trigger Fish       4/28/20

Thanks for returning my email quickly.
I have a yellow, sail and Scopus tang. My return pump is a Hydor universal pump and I have ice cap 3k flow pump. I checked the parameters of my water and they are good.
The trigger most likely will not make it as he can't swim upright, arms paralyzed, and is just riding the flow pump.
<Oh, sorry to hear that, it was likely poisoned by whatever that has stung it, nothing much to be done at this point. Wil.>
I do water changes weekly and change filter socks. My skimmer is also an ice cap nano. I have not seen any worms.
<<WAY overcrowded... reads like not cycling. RMF>>

Blind crosshatch trigger - Urgent      1/12/17
I've been an avid and appreciative fan of your website and its direct and sage advice for over 10 years.
<Glad to hear you like our site. Thanks for choosing WetWeb>
This is my first question to you. Sorry for the urgency.
<No worries. Hopefully I have responded in time>
I have a crosshatch trigger that has been in my tank for about 3.5 years direct from LFS and seemed happy until it slowly seems to have lost its sight to the point in the last few days it stays hidden in different spots than its favorite spot and when it comes out it is bumping into everything and is not eating (I hand feed it).
<What have you been feeding? Any thoughts as too what happened? Did you witness any trauma?>

I'm very concerned. It used to really enjoy the MP 60's and swim in front and the full length and width of the tank (78x36x28). Last few days it tries but knocks into everything including corals and glass. It is starting to look banged up.
I've thought of catching and setting up in a portable hospital tank but I am concerned of over stressing and don't know what to medicate. I have a 3 ft long 35 gallon hospital tank.
<I would QT as soon as possible in an empty tank, i.e. no decorations or excessive rock work. This will prevent further injury>
My mainly SPS 340 gallon display tank has been running for about 4.5 years.
Some fish and coral and water were transferred from by 90 gallon mixed reef set up for 9 years. I also have an 80 gallon refugium with Chaetomorpha, 60 gallon sump, 80 gallon frag tank all plumbed into same system.
<Sounds like a nice setup>
I QT and medicate all fish entering my tank for 4 weeks minimum (PraziPro and Cupramine) and make sure the fish are eating well before they are introduced to the DT. About two years ago I pulled out the trigger to a 90 gallon QT and feed it medicated food hoping it would clear up one of its eyes that appeared cloudy. I ended up keeping it there for 7-8 weeks and the eye didn't get better. So I returned it to the DT hoping for the best.
<So it sound like this problem started a few years ago? If you dosed for eight weeks, the eye should've gotten better if it were a disease or infection. Could be an issue with the fish that it was born with or had some sort of physical trauma beyond repair>
Water parameters: Alkalinity 7.5-8.5, calcium 350-450, magnesium 1350-1450, nitrates 6 ppm, phosphates 0.16 ppm, temp 76-80 (winter and summer), salinity 1.025-1.026.
<Sounds like the water is fine>
Water changes with regularly maintained RODI every 7-10 days 10 percent of total water volume. I vacuum the substrate in the DT when I do a water change. On average 1/2 to 3/4 of substrate in the DT. About 80-100 lbs of
live rock with some very large colonies of SPS. I use a calcium reactor and Kalkwasser stirrer and have started dosing Randy's baked baking soda for magnesium. I have also started to supplement with calcium chloride after each water change. I use a large skimmer. I occasionally use carbon in a high flow sump area until I replace monthly when I'm using.
<All sounds good>
The only time I've ever medicated my tank was about a year ago with sentinel (3 treatments a week apart) to get rid of red bugs. It was successful and I didn't notice any ill effects on the fish or coral.
Snails were fine but I certainly lost as expected a lot of micro fauna.
The trigger has generally been in apparent good health and has not had any symptoms of disease. Eyesight is the only thing that has gradually gone and more rapidly in the last few months. Now to the point I'm very concerned as the fish won't even accept food when it is held directly in front of its mouth (last few days).
<Is it not accepting the food, or is it not seeing the food? It could be battling some other type of disease on top of the blindness>
Trigger was almost 4 inches when I got and is about 7 inches now. I hand feed him daily Selcon soaked squid and scallops and the tank is fed New Life Spectrum pellets 6 times a day on auto feeder. I hand feed to the tank Spirulina and other flake food and Nori every 3 days. He doesn't eat the other food as he cant see it (this has been in the last few months, prior to that he would eat everything.)
<Keep trying to hand feed. You might try soaking the food in garlic as well. This should help>
None of the other fish bother him except for a captive bred male percula clown fish if trigger ventures too close to his space. Other fish in tank (and size in inches): purple tang (6), yellow tang (5), regal tang (7), powder blue (4.5), two dwarf angels and a majestic angel (4). Also Mandarin, Shrimp goby, two Banggai cardinals, a leopard wrasse (5), and a pair of captive bred clownfish and a skunk clown with a bubble tip anemone.
<All sounds good. The tangs may be bullying the trigger. I'm surprised you haven't had a problem with all of them yet>
Lighting is 250 w de MH fixtures with a couple of T5's and 3 ReefBrite LED's.
<Sounds good>
Thanks for reading through this lengthy email and look forward to your advice.
<Sandip, it sounds like your Trigger experienced some sort of physical trauma that can't be helped by medication, as it isn't an infection or disease. I suggest you either put it in QT or make room in another tank for it. Use minimal rock and decorations. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do for the blindness, but you can prevent more injury due to bumps and bruises by moving it. Again, minimize decorations so there is less to bump into. Let me know if you have any more questions. Cheers, Gabe><<Perhaps Thiaminase poisoning here. RMF>>


Re: Blind crosshatch trigger - Urgent     1/13/17
Gabe thanks for your help! Thanks team also in case anyone else responds.
Really appreciate your dedication to helping us out!
<My pleasure, Sandip. I'm glad I could help>
Sorry for long response!
<No worries :) It gives me something to do during boring school lectures>
I think even in another tank trigger will bump into the glass constantly though admittedly not sharp coral.
<It will bump into the glass no matter what, but it won't crash into sharp corals and rocks if the tank is mostly free of decorations>
This fish needs a lot of flow and wants to swim all the time.
<I am well aware of this, and it will be important to maintain a good flow rate if/when you move it>
I wonder if it's giving up in a way.
<Possibly. I have had fish that have done this in the pas. It is unfortunate, but it does happen>
I haven't seen a trauma event occur.
<It may have/probably happened when you weren't around>
I will try moving to another tank and garlic.
<Great choice. This will be better for the Trigger to spend its final time in>
The tangs have from time to time shown aggression to establish pecking order with each other (purple with yellow, purple with PBT when it was introduced a few months ago) but not current tangs with the trigger.
<This is all about body shapes with tangs. Sailfins fight with Sailfins (Purple and Yellow), and Naso-shaped fight with Naso-shaped. Powder Blues on the other hand fight with everything. I had a PBT go after a grouper one time, and the grouper was almost twice its size. PBTs are evil...>
I feel like the purple may keep the PBT from becoming a tyrant.
<Maybe, I have witnessed fish keeping PBTs in check so to speak, but the peace time usually ends when the peacekeeper dies>
It's stopped picking on the PBT. I've seen TOTM and large tanks on RC with more tangs in smaller tanks with a lot more other fish too.
They seem ok for the moment.
<Emphasis on the MOMENT>
I may move some out as I've been thinking of a small imperator (I realize they get big! This would be the largest in my 340) and want to reduce potential aggression.
<They get enormous! I have a juvie in my tank right now that has grown three inches in about four months>
I also wanted to get Tinkeri or a few butterfly potentially.
<Tinkeri are expensive, so make sure you find a healthy specimen. They also enjoy picking on corals>
I love the dwarf angels and would like to get a midnight black in addition to the flame and potters I already have. I'd also like to keep the PBT.
Do you think it would make a difference to remove purple, yellow and regal tangs ( the yellow and regal do a good job of cleaning the rocks...)
<It could. Depends on where you put them. It would make the PBT more of tyrant, but if that's what you want you're good>
I had a Sohal which grew from 3 to 10 inches which used to get picked on but became the alpha. One day I saw a clear bite mark the shape of the triggers teeth on the Sohal and had to lol. I guessed Sohal took a swipe at trigger and found out it shouldn't have.
<Never mess with a trigger>
I moved the Sohal out as it would purposely take a bite out of my arm and draw blood when I vacuumed the tank. Never bite the hand that feeds!
<Haha! I wish my eel would learn this. My Tesselata moray bites me all the time. That's why I bought some chainmail-Kevlar gloves. Moray teeth aren't the most comfortable things to have touching the bones in your hands>
Your thoughts appreciated!
<Hope everything goes well with the trigger. We'd love some pictures for the site. Let me know if you have any other questions. As always, thanks for using WetWeb. Cheers, Gabe>
Re: Blind crosshatch trigger - Urgent     1/13/17

Gage See comments below please
Here are some pics of tank (not great just iPhone) since you asked. Hope not too big I will send in another email too.
Sent from my iPad
> On Jan 12, 2017, at 12:50 PM, WetWebMedia Crew<crew@wetwebmedia.com> wrote:
> Gabe thanks for your help! Thanks team also in case anyone else responds.
> Really appreciate your dedication to helping us out!
> <My pleasure, Sandip. I'm glad I could help>
> Sorry for long response!
> <No worries :) It gives me something to do during boring school lectures>
what are you studying?
> I think even in another tank trigger will bump into the glass constantly
> though admittedly not sharp coral.
> <It will bump into the glass no matter what, but it won't crash into sharp
> corals and rocks if the tank is mostly free of decorations> right I will move him
> This fish needs a lot of flow and wants to swim all the time.
> <I am well aware of this, and it will be important to maintain a good flow
> rate if/when you move it> will do
> I wonder if it's giving up in a way.
> <Possibly. I have had fish that have done this in the pas. It is
> unfortunate, but it does happen>
> I haven't seen a trauma event occur.
> <It may have/probably happened when you weren't around>
> I will try moving to another tank and garlic.
> <Great choice. This will be better for the Trigger to spend its final time
> in> agreed
> The tangs have from time to time shown aggression to establish pecking
> order with each other (purple with yellow, purple with PBT when it was
> introduced a few months ago) but not current tangs with the trigger.
> <This is all about body shapes with tangs. Sailfins fight with Sailfins
> (Purple and Yellow), and Naso-shaped fight with Naso-shaped. Powder Blues
> on the other hand fight with everything. I had a PBT go after a grouper one
> time, and the grouper was almost twice its size. PBTs are evil...> I've had my eye on a blonde Naso for a few years but I've read they just get too big and I think it would be hard to part with and the wrong thing to do knowing a 340 sps tank is too small? I would love one though!
> I feel like the purple may keep the PBT from becoming a tyrant.
> <Maybe, I have witnessed fish keeping PBTs in check so to speak, but the
> peace time usually ends when the peacekeeper dies> or leaves the tank so maybe I shouldn't remove purple .... I just didn't want to create a
stressful place for imperator as I've read they are sensitive
> It's stopped picking on the PBT. I've seen TOTM and large tanks on RC
> with more tangs in smaller tanks with a lot more other fish too.
> <Yikes!>
> They seem ok for the moment.
> <Emphasis on the MOMENT>
> I may move some out as I've been thinking of a small imperator (I realize
> they get big! This would be the largest in my 340) and want to reduce
> potential aggression.
> <They get enormous! I have a juvie in my tank right now that has grown
> three inches in about four months> wow! I was also planning a juvie 2-3inches as I've heard they might adapt better than an adult. Though I've heard if I can get a small adult with its colours already showing it would guarantee the spectacular adult colour which is not guaranteed with a juvie turning adult?
> I also wanted to get Tinkeri or a few butterfly potentially.
> <Tinkeri are expensive, so make sure you find a healthy specimen. They also
> enjoy picking on corals> yes this might be a pipe dream based on cost. Bryn Roberts TOTM July 2015 has them and says they pick a bit but no damage like my dwarf angels and possibly large imperator.
> I love the dwarf angels and would like to get a midnight black in addition
> to the flame and potters I already have. I'd also like to keep the PBT.
> Do you think it would make a difference to remove purple, yellow and regal
> tangs ( the yellow and regal do a good job of cleaning the rocks...)
> <It could. Depends on where you put them. It would make the PBT more of
> tyrant, but if that's what you want you're good> don't want a tyrant so maybe I'll just keep the tangs as they appear peaceful to other fish and each other until they stop
> I had a Sohal which grew from 3 to 10 inches which used to get picked on
> but became the alpha. One day I saw a clear bite mark the shape of the
> triggers teeth on the Sohal and had to lol. I guessed Sohal took a swipe at
> trigger and found out it shouldn't have.
> <Never mess with a trigger>
> I moved the Sohal out as it would purposely take a bite out of my arm and
> draw blood when I vacuumed the tank. Never bite the hand that feeds!
> <Haha! I wish my eel would learn this. My Tesselata moray bites me all the
> time. That's why I bought some chainmail-Kevlar gloves. Moray teeth aren't
> the most comfortable things to have touching the bones in your hands> LOL
you are braver than me!
> Your thoughts appreciated!
> Sandip
> <Hope everything goes well with the trigger. We'd love some pictures for
> the site. Let me know if you have any other questions. As always, thanks
> for using WetWeb. Cheers, Gabe>

Xanthichthys Blue Throat Color     7/8/16
I have had a juvenile blue throat trigger for about 8 months now in my 180g mixed reef. I purchased him with a pronounced blue throat and yellow around his tail. He still has the yellow around his tail but his blue throat is very faint and hardly visible. Does this species change sex?
<Mmm; no... as far as I'm aware, Balistids are of determinate sex. MUCH more likely a matter of diet, water quality, a lack of female to show off for>
Could it be possible that he is now a she? Or could it be the absence of a female?
<Ah yes>
Huge fan of the site! Many thanks,
Spencer Hall
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Xanthichthys Blue Throat Color    7/8/16

Thanks Bob
<Thank you Spence>
He's got a good diet, I switch between mysis formula 1 and 2 and large krill for him to grind that beak down with. He also munches the algae wrapper I put in for the tangs from time to time.
Thanks again for such a quick response!
<Welcome! BobF>
Spencer Hall

Blue Jaw Trigger night time freak outs       12/23/15
Hi again! I hope this letter finds you well during this Christmas season!
I'm hoping your infinite wisdom may help me find some relief for my poor blue jaw. I've had him for about a year now. He's been very healthy and colourful. But I do believe he's scared of the dark. Is this possible? I have my tank set up in the den outside my room so at night I can hear all the commotion. Almost like clock work about an hour after the moon light
has finally dimmed all the way off and everyone else is asleep he just starts bolting to and fro. Smashing into everything. I'm convinced one morning I'll find him on the floor and I desperately want to avoid that. I have LEDs on ramp timers that take about three hours to go from full brightness to completely off. I also keep a small LED nightlight on in the den for bathroom runs. There are no kids or animals or human movement of any kind at this hour to prompt his outbursts. Do you think perhaps he's sick or just getting spooked by hermits? Do you have any suggestions to calm him down? This has been going on since he first joined my home and is not a sudden onset symptom.
Thanks again for being so incredible!!
<Some key questions here... how big's the tank? What sort of tankmates? Sufficient comfortable hiding places? Triggers are not especially easily spooked, but they do have quite specific ideas about what makes a good home. They need space, a fair amount given their territorial psychology, and won't cohabit well with other triggers. Xanthichthys are at the mellower end of the Balistid range (it's all relative of course; these aren't mindless, harmless fish by any means). So anything more territorial can cause problems. In terms of tank size and hiding places, if these fish feel confined, they're unlikely to settle, and bear in mind that Triggers "bed down" for the night by wedging into cracks and using their modified dorsal and anal fins to hold them in place. If your chap can't find a crevice that feels right to him, he won't settled down easily at night.
This is doubly true if there's an obvious "night shift" of predators (morays, but even Ariid catfish in my experience) that the Triggers aren't au fait with. Assess, and act accordingly. I'm not a fan of night lights (moonlight tubes for example) but these might be useful. Cheers, Neale.><<Well done! RMF>>

Bluejaw Triggerfish Male and female..  11/20/09
Hey there, got a quickie for you. Basically a QT question. Should I or shouldn't I.
<"When in doubt, keep them out">
My display tank is a 125 gallon reef ready tank. I have a MarineLand model 4 sump and a MarineLand 300 skimmer, works awesome by the way. I have 120 # 's live sand, and 140 # 's live rock. I have a 4" Blonde Naso tang,
<Will need more room in time, or perish>
3" regal tang, 2" juvy imperator angelfish,
<This also>
5" Foxface, a percula clown along with it's anemone,
<Which the Pomacanthus may well consume>
and a small Firefish, along with several snails, and crabs. I have a Colt Coral, Stylophora, mushrooms, and some polyp's. Tank is populated with copepods and other life... All parameters are good, nitrates stay around 5-10, water is at 1.024, temp. is 77.5-79, PH 8.0, do about 25 gallons a month for a water change. My question is that I just ordered a Male and Female Bluejaw triggerfish.
<Your system will be over-populated psycho- and physio-logically all the sooner>
My QT tank is a 29 gallon tanks with the same specs as my display. With live rock. Question is should I QT these two together in the small QT tank.
<I would, yes>
The last fish that I got was my Foxface and he didn't like it in there at all, he just stayed in a corner with his fins spiked up and all spotty colored.
<Good description>
He was very stressed and I thought I may be doing more bad then good. So after he was eating in a couple days, I put him in the display and he was fine. Swimming, and eating with the others. Will this be too small for the two triggerfish.
<Only experience can/will tell>
I know they are somewhat resistant to disease from what I've read, peaceful (For a trigger), and pigs... I am just concerned if I would do more harm than good by putting them in the QT or should I just put them right in the display, or QT one and not the other. What are your thoughts.
You've helped me out a lot in the past and I always read here first. But not a whole lot of info on the Bluejaw. Do you have any links for more info on them.
<Nope; but there is always the library of a sizable college>
Thank you so much for all your help.
P.S. My Foxface (very fat and healthy) constantly eats at the sand, and in always pooping out sand. I'm assuming she is eating algae that is on the sand, but is it normal for her to actually eat it and be pooping it out all the time.
<Is this a question? Yes? Yes.>
It's not bothering anything just wandering if it was normal behavior or not.
You guys (and ladies) rock. You are by far the superior research site.
Thank you much.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bluejaw Triggerfish Male and female..   12/13/09

Just an update. I've had the Triggers (Male and Female) for about 3 weeks now. I had a 55 gallon tank in my basement and changed the 29 gallon to that.
<Still too small if these fish are exhibiting territorial aggression>
I used the same filter, water, and rock. Water is near perfect. It took a lot of patience but they are both eating very well now.
<Ah, good>
The Female started about a week in, and the Male about 2 weeks in. Now the hit everything I put in there. Mostly frozen Krill, Mysis, and cocktail shrimp, and even flake foods. I've been soaking in vitamins and garlic most of the
time. It took a while for them not to dart into a hiding spot whenever I walked into my room. The female is still a bit shy, and the male will dart recklessly about the tank if he gets startled. I try to be as gentle as I can, but I have 2 kids so I want them to get used to someone coming along the tank suddenly. In my display when I come up to the tank everyone will follow me from one side to the other. It's pretty neat. Anyway my question is I'm going to QT them for about another week or so and first was just wandering
<and wondering>
if there is an easier way to net them without them darting all over the tank and hitting there faces on the glass and possibly jumping.
<Two nets, moving slowly but deliberately, scooping upward... Perhaps moving out any structure ahead of time>
I'm a little concerned about that. Then should I put them both in the display at the same time, or add one first then the other a couple days later.
<At the same time>
I was planning on just acclimating, and adding them both at the same time.
<This is what I would do as well>
They were shipped in separate bags, but I acclimated them together in the same container, and they've been together every since, and seem to like one another just fine. They sleep right in the same spot next to each other. Just afraid that if I separate them for an amount of time that they may not take to each other again. What would you suggest.
<Time going by; careful daily observation>
I am really excited to get them in the display, they are such a neat couple. I've grown very fond of them. I've read everything that I could on your site about them, and am always looking for more info. Seems to be somewhat limited on the blue throat trigs.. Anyway thanks for all your help. You all are great.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year...
<To you and yours, good will, peace Aaron. Bob Fenner>

Xanthichthys auromarginatus, repro.   4/25/08 Hello and good morning. I have been searching for info regarding breeding habits of Xanthichthys auromarginatus. All I have found so far is nothing. Could you point me in the direction of anything that discusses their breeding habits, be it in the wild or captivity. Thank you very much, Mike Nance a.k.a. Reefmike - DFWMAS <Hi Mike... don't know that there is much to state re the genus reproductive behavior (some spawn in deep water...), most are bentho-pelagic... live in the upper/mid water column in deep/er water... Have seen this species making spawning nests, though... in Hawai'i... So I suspect it is a/the usual Balistid pattern of male nest building, attracting females, poly-mating, guarding the eggs... till hatch out... Bob Fenner> Re: Xanthichthys auromarginatus, repro.   4/26/08 Thank you very much for the reply. It is greatly appreciated! Could you describe the nest building that you saw (materials, location, etc.)? <... sandy bottom, about 40-60 feet in general... individual males digging a smoothed out pan/area of a couple feet diameter, swimming up/down apparently trying to attract females> If you decided to attempt breeding a pair what would you do as far as set-up (tank size, substrate, rock, etc.)? <The larger the better... hundreds of gallons... some mixed rock, sand areas... not too many other species of fishes mixed in...> Sincerest thanks, Mike Nance a.k.a. Reefmike - DFWMAS <BobF>

Re: Xanthichthys auromarginatus, visiting HI   4/28/08 Again thank you very much for the replies. I know y'all are very busy and I am very appreciative that you take the time to answer sooooo many questions. I can't even imagine the amount of email you must get on a daily basis. <A handful... though all could be...> Anyway, back to the subject. I have been told (and read) that they can be kept in a harem (1 male, 2 or 3 females). What are your thoughts on this? <Can... need a very large setting... several hundred gallons... Likely very worthwhile for you to get/come out and observe this species in the wild... lives in a sort of Lek territory... of a few hundred to thousand cubic feet... not really in "pairs" or permanent associations of any sort... do "run off" same and alternate sex individuals...> I'm planning on starting with juveniles. 1 male and 3 females. I'm going to grow them out in a 100g then move them to at least a 240g as they reach adult size. <Will need more room than this> I'm thinking just them with no other fish in the tank though I wonder if they might not be more "comfortable" with a school of "dither" fish such as Chromis. Your thoughts? Thank you and have a spectacular day! Mike Nance a.k.a. Reefmike - DFWMAS <Come out and visit with us in Hawaii... we have some properties on the Big Island/Kona... Observe the other life, habitat... will grant you real input. Bob Fenner>

Sargassum Trigger...Adapting to Captive Life 3-30-08 Hi Crew, <<Key Kirk.>> I have a Sargassum Trigger set to arrive on Wednesday from an online company. <<Exciting.>> While I have kept several different Triggers successfully (Niger, Huma, Rectangle, even the dreaded Undy) in the past, I am a little nervous about my new addition. He will be the most expensive fish I have ever purchased, and the only Trigger I have kept that is considered somewhat challenging to keep in captivity. I often frequent the various message boards to learn, yet rarely see any info on this fish being kept. <<Yes, they are definitely a more elusive species to collect than the ones you mentioned above. Also you have to take into consideration that Xanthichthys are pelagic triggers relying heavily on zooplankton; thus they do not adapt as easily to captive life. I would quarantine for a minimum of a month and avoid a large variety of foods, feeding relatively small amounts multiple times daily. Try mysis, mysids, krill, clams, scallop meant and finely chopped meats of a marine origin.>> Tank is a fairly new 240 8x2x2, 160 lbs LR, 160lbs LS, custom sump with refugium, Aqua C EV 240, and Emperor Aquatics 40 watt UV, his new friends will be a juvi Sunset Wrasse, baby Niger, and Flame Angel. <<Watch for aggression between this animal and the existing niger.>> Just hoping for a little advice as to why this fish sometimes doesn't flourish in captivity. <<See here; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/xanthichthys/index.htm along with the linked FAQ?s and my above listed notes.>> Thanks and best regards, <<Good luck to you and your trigger.>> Kirk <<Adam_J.>>

Trigger Update... lost Sargassum  -11/27/2007 Good evening Bob & Crew, <Mike> Snowing here now, so feel good if you're diving in Hawaii, <Was ayer... very nice... about 82F., clear... Neener, neener, neeeener> or anyplace warm. Alas, the Sargassum did not make it. Man, that's a few this year! Up until now I could have said that either another fish killed them, or I did, but I "think" this one was different. I could say I lost him, but in hind sight, I'm not sure I ever really had him. He was already slightly pinched in at the LFS, so I watched him for over a week. He was still active, alert, eating and seemed stable enough (although still pinched). I thought I would just have to fatten him up at home. No such luck and another lesson learned - "Buy ones that are already fat"!! (hmmm... where have I read that before?) R.I.P. Sergeant Gas-em, and my nine year old son is no longer impressed with my skills. <A hard, but necessary lesson> After many hours (and hours... and hours - before, during and after) of reading WWM articles and FAQ's, at least this time I can't come up with a list of "would have, could have and should have" things that I missed (other than buying a fish that was thin, of course - everyone wants to be Mother Theresa in this hobby it seems- even guys). <Mmm, yes. And we are neither infallible, nor immortal either> The only thing I could come up with at all was if I had, perhaps, treated for the "possibility" of an internal parasite while in QT. I've often read that you should not medicate when you are not certain what you are trying to treat. <Both approaches have adherents. There are VERY large facilities that treat prophylactically...> There was no sign of weight loss while in QT and when he started to go south on me in the display tank, he went down in a hurry. By the time I really knew there was something wrong, I would have needed some dynamite and a crowbar to get him out of a hole in a rock at the bottom of the tank. I did manage to get him out the next day when he was lying on the substrate (when I e-mailed you - thank you for your response) but he was gone by the next morning. Is there such a thing as treating for internal parasites during QT "just in case"? <Yes> Is this ever a preventive measure? <Yes> Other than a freshwater dip, is there anything else that could be / should be considered as routine during the QT stage? <Some folks use anti-protozoals prophylactically... some add Vermifuges... there are other protocols... but I'd rather not post them in this public address... for "fear" of encouraging others too much/inadvertently in pursuing such...> Another reason I'm asking is I have a beautiful 2" Flame Angel (brilliant colour and not at all thin or with any signs of problems) in one QT tank with LR and sand - and another really beautiful specimen of a Copperband Butterfly (not quite 4" - spotless and as smooth as silk - alert and active) in another tank with LR and sand (after I read hours of material on the challenges of keeping this particular Butterfly prior to purchasing - I actually added a rock with Aiptasia on it to his QT tank as an experiment - now how crazy does that one sound? <Not at all... are food for this species... used often enough as "chemical filters"...> - another experiment of mine like QTing some fish with a cleaner shrimp to help distress them - hey, that one seemed to work - we'll see about this one). Just wanted to know if there is anything else I should / could be doing for these fish while in QT? I'd try soft music if I thought it would help. <Might... at least calm you> One last point, if I may. The Flame was a bit of a no-brainer choice in fish (mind you, only a no-brainer because I have your book and burn the midnight oil on WWM), but the amount of information available on your site regarding selection, compatibility, behaviour, disease, the feeding challenges etc., etc., "specific" to a Copperband Butterfly was phenomenal (forgive me but I have to admit to liking Anthony's trick of feeding the clam and then stuffing the empty shell after with prepared food the best - that is a great trick). <Is an oldie, but goodie... Pre-dates Antoine, myself even!> I have yet to find another resource (and I do look) that comes even close to what WWM has to offer. You just can't buy that volume of information on a single type of fish (well... you could read WWM and then donate through Amazon I suppose - ok, ok I'll make another donation - I'm probably due again anyway). <Heeee! Thanks> Just in case you need any more reminders that you are all doing wonders for this hobby, I originally just wanted a small freshwater tank with a few floaters and a couple of bubbles - then I read Bob's book and found WWM - and now I'm up to four established tanks (including QT) with Tangs, Angels, Puffers, Clowns, Hawks, Butterflies, Corals, and a host of other living things that I have to check my notes just to remember their names, not to mention enough equipment to land one of my tanks on the moon. I have referred quite a few people to your site and they are equally impressed - and strangely enough, some of their tanks are getting bigger too?! <Madness, madness, I call it madness...> It's not always easy (or successful), but it's always worth it - and you all help a great deal. Thanks again, eh. <Thanks again... you hoser!> Mike from Canada <BobF, in Kona>

Need some advice on my fish list for my 150-gallon Pull The Trigger? (Considering a Triggerfish in Stocking Plan)  11/26/07 Hi there everyone, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I've been reading through the website and I must say I've learned an awful lot. <Glad to hear that! We have some cool people who work very hard to bring it to you every day!> I'm going to set up my first saltwater tank and I need some help with my fish list. The tank is 150 gallons and measures 48" long by 24" wide by 30" high. It's going to be a future reef tank lightly stocked with LPS and fish. After doing some reading on Tangs I've decided to stay away from them, as I've learned they really need a six-foot tank to thrive. <I think that you made a responsible decision!> Anyway, here are the fish I'm hoping to have: 1 Bluejaw Trigger (Xanthichthys auromarginatus), 2 common Clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris), 1 Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani), 1 Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia), and 1 Coral Beauty Angel (Centropyge bispinosus). What do you think of these fish for this tank? I'd greatly appreciate any feedback and any other fish suggestions you may have. Thanks in advance, Shannon O'Rourke <Well, Shannon- I think that you put considerable effort into researching and developing this stocking list! My only reservation (always seems to be one, right?) is the Trigger. Although this species is certainly one of the more "passive" Triggerfish (an oxymoron, huh?), it can display some aggressive tendencies on occasion, and it does have much of the same dental equipment as the more nasty ones! There is potential for this fish to nip or become more aggressive with age. My friend had one that started out as a perfect gentleman, but grew into a holy terror, taking out a few tankmates along the way. On the other hand, I've seen others that were excellent citizens, living for years in community aquariums without incident. It's kind of a dice roll, really. If you are planning on keeping shrimp, I'd say that your odds of ending up with an all-you-can eat shrimp buffet will increase as the Trigger grows! Don't keep 'em with shrimp! Bottom line is that you could include the Trigger in your plan if you're willing to accept the potential risks that the fish poses. Do also keep in mind that this Trigger can hit 8 plus inches in size, and the need for larger quarters as the fish grows must be taken into consideration. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Crosshatch Trigger fading? 9/26/07 What's up guys and gals? Just wanted to drop a line regarding the crosshatch trigger. I'm interested in this fish for an upcoming 10 foot long reef tank I am planning. However, I had planned on keeping a pair, but I feel that they would be lacking space, so to my question, does a male crosshatch trigger's color fade if he is not in the presence of a female? <Not much, but some, yes> From every personal documentation of crosshatch triggers in home aquariums I've read that pairs never exhibit any courting or interactions other than just merely putting up with each other's presence. If this is the case, I might just get a male. Thanks for any help you can offer, Nick <Or even a small school if there's room... Xanthichthys spp. live in shoals in the wild. Bob Fenner>
Re: Crosshatch Trigger fading?  9/27/07
Thank you for the reply Mr. Fenner! Just a quick follow up, if I were to do multiple crosshatches, would it need to be set up as a harem or would multiple males get along together? Not sure if I'd go this route, but I'm curious. Thanks again! <A mix of sexes would be fine to excellent here... Just try to find/start them small-ish... four-five inches if possible. Have seen X. mento in very large aggregations in the wild... BobF>

Male Blue Jaw Triggerfish? Wants Female? ? 09/08/07 Good morning and thank you as always for your wonderful site. <<Hi Jeanne? we're all glad you like it>> I hope this one is an easy question. <<Hmm is there such a thing in this hobby? Easy, maybe simple, never? But I digress?[grin]>> I have a small (5") male Xanthichthys auromarginatus (I have had him about 3 months) in my 150 gallon reef tank. <<Wonderful fish? I kept a male/female pair in a 375g display for a number of years>> Lots of zoos, leathers, mushrooms, a couple of Crocea clams -only one coral banded shrimp and one large Sally Lightfoot crab and large Purple lobster, because the stupid --and not at all shy, may I add--Blue Hamlet ate all the other shrimp. <<Mmm, not the fault of the fishies what a Blue Hamlet does (will happily gobble down small fishes too!)?as research ?before purchase? would bear out>> He is such a sweetheart that I would like to get a female Blue Jaw Trigger. <<Triggerfishes are quite intelligent and seem to develop distinct personalities very easy to see how a fish-keeper becomes attached. He may seem ?sweet? (do be cautious if hand-feeding), but adding another of the same species, even though female, may not be possible>> Can she be added at this point without him acting excessively aggressive to her? <<Probably not? at least not by just ?dropping her in? the system. The pair I had were special ordered as such? likely collected as a pair? Subsequently quarantined/held together right up to their introduction to the display? And even so, there was the occasional nip-and-chase. If you are willing to go to the trouble? I suggest you set up a holding/quarantine tank of ?at least? 29g (bigger the better) with some bits of PVC pipe or fittings large enough for the female to hide in. Place the female in this tank first then add the male and watch closely for a while, and be ready to intervene if necessary. Unless the aggression escalates to the point where one or the other is being damaged, keep the fish here and watch them closely for a few days allowing them to become ?familiar? with one another. Maybe you'll get lucky and the fish will ?pair-up??but do also be prepared to rescue/return the female>> He ignores even the smallest fish--Pajama cardinals and the Royal Gramma and Blackcap Basslet, but one of his own kind may provoke a different response. <<Indeed, this fish is quite compatible with most inverts/other peaceable fishes in my experience? quite ?reef friendly? in my opinion. But conspecifics can be a whole different matter? especially so once a fish becomes ?established? as yours surely has by now>> Thank you very much in advance, Jeanne <<A pleasure to assist. EricR>>

Sargassum trigger comp.; Dog face puffer size ? 07/30/07 Hi, sorry for another email, but here goes. I'm looking for some info on a Sargassum Trigger. <Xanthichthys ringens.> A LFS has one and it is a gorgeous fish. I first read the bit on WetWeb about its identity, and then the Compatibility FAQ on triggers. There was one mention of the Sargassum in the compatibility FAQ, most are in regards to undulates, clowns, and Picasso's, which, to my understanding are quite different in temperament. <True. The Sargassum trigger is more similar to the Bluethroat or Gilded Trigger Xanthichthys auromarginatus. Both will reach around 1 foot, but most often stay a little smaller.> In my 200 gallon (72" x 24" x 27") I have a banded cat shark, a passer angel (5"), a yellow tang and a dogface puffer (4"). I've had this puffer for about 4 years, and he is really docile. He has been a 4" fish his entire life, and I wonder if that is his adult length. Hmmm. <Sure it is a dogface puffer aka Arothron nigropunctatus? This one reaches 10 inches in the aquariums and more than a foot in the wild. I have seen other Arothron spp. labeled as dogface, too. However, most are even bigger. Hopefully his diet is varied.> My question is whether or not a Sargassum would be compatible with these fish, and more specifically about a Sargassum's characteristics. <Comparable to other Xanthichthys spp. (using the genus to search for information is worth a try) and in general rather docile (for a trigger) and hardy. Crustaceans, clams and urchins may be eaten (most get along well with them, though), larger fish are usually ignored. Beware all triggers are personalities and may change their mind when becoming adult. Your puffer is another species with a somewhat unpredictable personality and it is hard to say for sure they will get along without trouble long term. Another concern is that the trigger might bite the fins of the shark. If you are lucky, it will work without problems, if not? I would not buy this fish without another system or the option to give it back.> I purchased Axelrod's Marine Atlas (for 6$ on eBay, no less!!), which is a fabulous book but very short in specifics on care, it is much more of an identification book. <Yes.> The other book at the LFS describes the fish as reef safe and much more compatible than other triggers. His jaw structure definitely looks different than a 'typical' trigger like a clown or Picasso. I have not purchased the fish, and maybe I won't at all, but it is certainly tempting and I thought I might ask you guys first. We had the tank under the quinine treatment for ick (still do, actually). The Powder Brown did not make it, unfortunately, but all other fish are doing extremely well, including the shark (and thanks again for the quinine info). I'm going to continue the quinine treatment for the prescribed duration before we think of adding anything. <Good and good luck with your treatment. Be sure to let the system run for a while even after the treatment to see if it worked properly before adding anything.> Thanks again. Thomas. <You are welcome. Marco.>

Re: Sargassum trigger comp.; Dog face puffer size follow up ? 07/30/07 Marco, <Thomas> Fabulous stuff, thank you very much. Arothron nigropunctatus, in the puffer ID section of WWM, is identical to my puffer. He may be closer to 5", realistically, but has been this length for years now. <Interesting. Stunting and improper diet can probably be excluded due to the large tank you have and the food you offer. I also assume/hope the nitrates are permanently low given the other sensitive fishes. Aside tank size, diet and water quality I cannot think of a factor, which might stop the grow of your specimen. Possibly some issues in its early life before you bought him.> This is the one that bit my finger! Often times when I feed my shark at night, I have to scoop him out of the way. As long as he doesn't think my finger is food, he is docile, likes being rubbed, and eats out of my hand. About 6 months ago I had purchased a tiny Picasso trigger, and the INSTANT I placed him in the tank he attacked the puffer, so he was removed and returned immediately. <Another case of unpredictability. Some Rhinecanthus are quite docile, this specimen not. A similar case cannot be excluded with the Sargassum, but hopefully this time you are more lucky. I guess it will rather be hiding for a while when introduced and not start attacking.> He does receive a varied diet, of cocktail shrimp with Zo? marine cuisine, krill, and angel formula. He also eats his share of shark formula, unfortunately. <OK, good diet. The dog face puffers I know/knew personally which have grown from 4 inches to almost 1 foot in captivity ate lots of mussels and clams, because they seemed to like it and it abraded their teeth. Could be worth a try in case you haven't tested yet.> He just has remained this size. I have no idea why. For a while he was in an 80 gallon before the upgrade, but for most of the time he was pretty much the only occupant. Anyway, thanks for the info. We won't be adding the Sargassum trigger for a couple of weeks, while we observe the system to make sure all of the ick was killed with the quinine. Thanks again! Thomas. <You are welcome. Keep up the good work and enjoy. Marco.>

Crosshatch... trigger, Vlamingi tang incomp.  7/9/07 Hey guys, how's it going? Good I hope. So here's my question. I have a 155 bow front established for about 6 yrs. For the last 3 years I have 2 Vlamingi Tangs <Neat species, but need more room...> and for about a year I have a male Crosshatch Trigger. They have all gotten along very well. No problems during feedings or any other aggressive behavior. Well yesterday I had the luck of coming across a female Crosshatch, she was smaller than my male so I jumped on the opportunity to get her. Well so far they are getting along perfect, but now the male crosshatch is acting very aggressively towards the one Vlamingi. I can only assume that he is a male, since they are both young there hasn't been any way to tell. My question is, is this normal behavior for a Crosshatch or just one male showing his dominance to another? And do you think it will subside in time? Thank you. Jay Uzzalinno <These more open-water species are indeed territorial... and this is way too small a space psychologically... Maybe adding a couple of "built up" arrangement of rock ("bommies") will alleviate this agonistic behavior for a time... block the line of sight... Pile them well, and high... to the surface if possible; and either start saving for a much larger system, or plan to trade the Tangs in. Bob Fenner>

I Want To Add A Bluechin Trigger (Not Enough Info About Current Stock List) ? 06/18/07 Hi there, <<Hello there>> Just a quick one. I have a Percula 120 (110gallon) bow front Aqua Medic reef tank. In the tank I have 1 Comet, 2 Clowns, 1 Algae Blenny, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Flame Angel, 1 Peacock Wrasse, <<Several species with this ?common? name...if this is ?Iniistius pavo? it can reach 18? in length and though if feeds primarily on benthic crustaceans in the wild, it likely will eventually consume some of your smaller fishes as it grows. If this is ?Cirrhilabrus temminckii? then it will reach a much more manageable length of around 4.5?...but without better/more info from you I can only speculate>> and 1 Dwarf Parrotfish. <<Again, I have no idea what this is. I don't recall ever hearing of a ?Dwarf? Parrotfish, nor can I find a reference. I can only hope this isn't ?Cetoscarus bicolor? or the Bicolor Parrotfish which is arguably the most offered/sold Parrotfish species in the trade (as tiny juveniles) but is a bruiser that can reach three-feet in length>> In all about 35 inches of fish when fully grown (I think). <<I hope this is not your system for determining how many/how much fish you can put in this tank. The fishes must be evaluated on adult size, yes...but eighteen 2? damsels are much less burden on a system than four 9? fish would be...getting the picture?. Do also take in to consideration the fishs temperament/compatibility/social interaction, as well as environmental needs (type cover/substrate, water flow requirements, etc.), nutritional requirements, et al>> My question is, I would love to add a Bluechin Triggerfish, I have done my research on this fish and it seems to be the best choice of triggers. <<A wonderful aquarium species, agreed...but needs places to hide/sleep>> They don't get to big and are reef safe (ish) <<In my experience, yes...and likely much more ?reef safe? than that Parrotfish you have>> Do I have enough room in my tank and would it be ok with my current stock? <<I'm inclined to say no...especially without better information on the fishes you already have. Please write back to me with the scientific names of your fishes (the Clownfish too) and I will be better able to help you>> Thanks for all your help. <<Quite welcome. EricR>> P.S do these fish get to about 8-9 inches? <<The Bluechin Trigger? Yes, this is likely close to maximum for many aquarium specimens...but the species has the potential to reach a foot or more, see here: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=6030 >>

Re: I Want To Add A Bluechin Trigger (Not Enough Info About Current Stock List) ? 06/18/07 Thanks for getting back, the scientific names are 1 - Calloplesiops altivelis, 2 - Amphiprion ocellaris, 1 - Salarias fasciatus, 1 - Zebrasoma flavescens, 1 - Centropyge loricula, 1 - Vermiculate wrasse (it was sold as Peacock Wrasse) and the "dwarf parrotfish? is a Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura. Hope this helps thank you. <<Ah yes, what a difference a proper and definitive ID can make. This is a much more suitable/proper mix of fishes than some of the ?local common names? in your original query suggested. Although, the Vermiculate Wrasse (Macropharyngodon bipartitus bipartitus) is a decidedly difficult fish to keep and is not well suited to your 110-gallon system (would benefit greatly from an inline refugium). As for the addition of a Bluechin Trigger (Xanthichthys auromarginatus), these are robust, heavy fish, but I think you could possibly ?just? squeeze one in...though this will definitely ?fill up? this system and preclude any other piscine additions, in my opinion. Regards, EricR>>

R2: I Want To Add A Bluechin Trigger (Not Enough Info About Current Stock List) ? 06/19/07 Thanks for all your help. <<My pleasure>> Just one more quick question. <<Okay>> Which would be best suited to my tank, Bluechin or a Pink Tail Triggerfish? Thanks <<I think it best if you stick with the Bluechin for your system. The Bluechin is a slightly smaller species, and although there can be/are differences between individuals, Xanthichthys auromarginatus seems to be a bit more peaceful than Melichthys vidua (Pink Tail Trigger). Also, size for size, I feel the Pink Tail Trigger needs more open space/water than the Bluechin for proper ?social? development. Regards, EricR>>

Blue-Throat Trigger Not Eating  - 05/03/07 Hi folks, <Hello.> Great site, recommend it to whoever will listen.   <Awesome.> I have a question about a blue-throat trigger. <...One of my favorites...> This is my second attempt at one of these fish and it is getting frustrating. <Well lets see if I can help you out.> For the record I have been keeping saltwater fish for over 15 years and this is my first attempt at a triggerfish.  I have a 5 year old majestic angel, a 7 year old swallowtail angel and a 7 year old Naso tang along with a few little guys to keep things hopping presently in a 90 gallon reef, <A bit on the crowded side but okay...> all are happy and fat with no aggression but now I figured I could try something new.  The first trigger died due to a bacterial infection that I couldn't get to in time but this second one is not visibly sick but still won't eat. <Blue throats tend to be a little more flighty/finicky...in general exhibit behavior atypical of how would expect a tiger to act. How long has it been?> He is about 3" long and in a 30 gallon quarantine tank with a few chunks of live rock, a skimmer, power head for movement and an AquaClear 500 hang-on filter.  There are a couple of other fish in there, just to keep it cycled.  I have checked all the normal water parameters, all is fine.  I have tried PE mysis, smaller mysis, flake, bloodworms, shaved shrimp, squid and clam - won't touch anything. <Wow, you have pulled out all the stops. I have a few more suggestions though; market scallops or mussels soaked in a nutritional supplement like Selcon.> Is the quarantine tank too small ?   <No seems adequate...for a quarantine.> The quarantine tank has had a small Pseudochromis and a coral beauty in it for a couple of years until recently when I nicely took a marine Betta because he had lateral line and Lymphocystis.   <Mmmm...with all these animals, yes quarantine tank is too small, quarantine tank should be just that....quarantine.> He has since been cured (  yes the lateral line too ) but I don't really have any place to move him so he is in the quarantine too.  Is he intimidating the trigger ?   <Perhaps, the specimen I have is extremely flighty; easily scarred.> There seems to be no aggression between the two, in fact they use the same cave at night.  Any ideas would be great.  I would hate to lose the trigger because of a screw up on my part.  I intended to move him into my 90 gallon reef after his quarantine period, which has been about 3 weeks.  But I don't want to do that if he is not eating because he will never get food in there with my other fish.   <Rob, how long has it been since the fish has not eaten? Thanks for your time, <Anytime...I look forward to your reply.> Rob in Syracuse, NY <Adam J in California.>

Re: Blue-throat trigger STILL not eating  - 05/03/07 Hey Adam, <Welcome back Rob.> Thanks for the reply. <No problem.> I have not seen this trigger eat in 3 weeks. <Mmm...that is a little lengthy.> He doesn't seem to be losing a lot of weight but I can't figure out what he is eating. <This tank has other animals, how well established is it? Perhaps micro-crustaceans.> I have soaked all of the food offerings in Selcon. ( been using that stuff for years ) <Cool.> I ended up putting the trigger into my 90 gallon reef last night.  He hid for around a half an hour and then started exploring the tank.   <A good sign, mine is till rather reclusive almost a year later.> My majestic wasn't too happy but he got over it quickly.  I added some mysis and blood worms hoping that he might get the feeding idea from the feeding frenzy that occurs every time I put anything edible into that tank.  Nothing, in fact he hid.  He does seem to be more active in the larger tank but I want him to eat soon.   <I understand, I would also try to offer food just after the lights go off...in his direction with a turkey baster if you can get hold of one.> I am assuming that he will figure it out any day now, he has got to be hungry and with the other fish active and feeding, he has got to get it.  I have had other fish not eat in the past, but they didn't live this long or I figured out what they wanted.  I do not want to lose this fish, he is way too cool looking. Do you think I should just wait it out or should I take him back to the LFS? <Well I would ask the LFS what they were feeding him.> To be honest I don't know how much effort the LFS would put out for a fish that won't eat. <Not much.> Do you think I need to increase filtration?   I have a red sea skimmer, Fluval 404, a large emperor hang-on, UV sterilizer ( 15w ), 3 powerheads and about 95 lbs. of live rock and an inch of live sand. <Well I'm not a fan of canister filters on marine tanks, I prefer macro-algae refugiums.> So far I haven't had any big problems at all, at least for the last 3 years. Any advice would be appreciated. <A few more feeding suggestions, if an LFS has live brine or live mysids.. give them a try. I know that live brine and live foods aren't the best thing. and certainly not a long term option but it's better than nothing. Also try some meats that are more poignant to the sense of smell, mackerel, squid, along those lines.> Thank you, <Welcome.> Rob in Syracuse, NY <Adam still in SoCal.>

Adding another fish, Blue-jaw Triggers (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) - 02/06/07 Hi Bob and crew. <Crew here!  Mich with you tonight!> I have a 125G FOWLR and some polyps. About 100-125 lbs of live rock. I have one Red Sea Sailfin Tang (4in) one Scribbled Angel (3-4in) one Cinnamon Clown one Christmas Wrasse One See-through Goby one Green Mandarin six Yellow Tail Damsels. My fish are doing great, but I have always wanted a trigger. My faves are Clown and Picasso but I don't want to risk their aggression.  I have settled on the Blue-jaw.  I do have two reservations.  One, I think my tank may be overstocked with the addition of the trigger. <If your nitrates aren't already elevated, I think this would be a fine addition.> Two, I have read that they are very easily frightened and spend a lot of time hiding. <Blue-jaw Triggers (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) can be a little shy and may spend a good deal of time hiding when they are first introduced, but typically come around to become a more social member of the community.>   I wouldn't want to add a fish that I will rarely see. <Understandable.  May be a problem initially, but I think in the long term will be ok> What do you say? <Hey! Hey! This was made in the USA?> Thanks <You're welcome!  -Mich> P.S., If you think the trigger is a bad idea, what fish would you recommend that will fit well into my community, or am I done? <I think you have made a good choice!>

Adding another fish, Blue-jaw Triggers (Xanthichthys auromarginatus)  2/7/07 <Mich here again!> Thanks again for a timely reply. <Welcome!> You guys are great. <We try.> If I do end up adding the trigger, can I add anymore small fish, and if yes, what would be your choices? <I would proceed slowly here.  Take one thing at a time.  Add the trigger and see what happens.  You don't want to push your filtration or  psychologically crowd the tank.  With any possible future additions I would be thinking about where the fish tends to spend its' time, i.e. is it a swimmer, a bottom dweller, a percher etc., behavior type issues.  Look at the typically behaviors of the other fish in your system and think about where a small fish might fit in.  Don't forget about compatibility issues here also.  You don't want to provide live food in this instance!  Patience here my friend. -Mich>  

Sick Trigger (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) ? 01/17/07 Greetings, <<Hello!>> First, I want to thank you for the work your doing helping us make insightful decisions. <<Most welcome...truly a pleasure to share>> I have a Blue Jaw Trigger, Xanthichthys auromarginatus, <<Me too!>> that has not been well for two weeks; it is very immobile, propping himself up on or over something continually. <<Hmm, it's not unusual for this fish to occasionally stop roaming/peer out at the world from its favorite cave...but it shouldn't be lying around all the time>> He has been eating, but only when fed directly and does not seek food. <<Mmm, should be active/interested at feeding time>> A couple of days ago he began spitting back out the large plankton, so I made a batch of food in the blender of: shrimp, oyster, clam, Selco, formula II, and daphnia; it is eating, but again only when basting directly toward his mouth.  The fishs colour is about a six out of ten; there is yellow outlining the tips of the fins with a dark band on the body at the fin's base. <<The yellow margin on the fins is naturally occurring on a male X. auromarginatus...but the dark band is possibly a sign if distress>> Its distinctive dots and blue jaw are still clear. <<Good>> I QTed the fish.  He was housed with a Sebae and its GSM since May (8 months).  The tank is too small; it is a 70-gal bow front and has four feet in front and back of the rockwork to swim with two or three nice caves underneath in which he'd sleep.  Many sites put the limits for this fish at 75 gal, and I knew Bob recommends at least 100 gal. <<Yes...or larger>> Occasionally needing to keep the money maker happy I ordered the fish.  There are no signs of trauma, or tumor.  Are these symptoms of small tank syndrome or something recognizable/treatable? <<If the fish has not suffered some physical trauma, then this sounds to me like an internal protozoan infection (lethargy is a telling symptom here).  These are difficult to treat, and often by the time the symptoms manifest it is too late.  The fact the fish is still eating is a good sign and I suggest you try some foods post-haste made for treating internal parasites (New Life Spectrum has such a food).>> My wife is a veterinarian having many medications/antibiotics available. <<Then perhaps try soaking some thawed frozen food (mysis shrimp, chopped krill) with Metronidazole.  See here for information on dosages, cautions, etc. : http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm >> Lastly, I've read to moderate length about hyposalinity, and while probably not a cure, will reducing salinity ease fishes? metabolic demands? <<Though it can be of use in some situations (dips/baths), I am not a fan of long-term hyposalinity for the ?stress? it places upon the fishes.  They have evolved to live within certain saline parameters, changing those parameters requires them to make adjustments/work harder to maintain their osmotic balance >> I maintain a salinity of 35ppt. <<Excellent...do keep it there>> Thank you, Robert <<Good luck Robert...and please let me know how the treatment goes.  Eric Russell>>

Last Fish...(Not The Best Choice) ? 01/11/07 Hey Guys an Gals, <<Cheers David!>> My wife and I have a 50 G tank with several corals and 3 small fish.  1- Galaxea (yes I know all about the sweepers) got it cheap and it might be moving out in the near future for trade. <<Mmm, yes...a very aggressive genus with a very strong ?sting?>> Has whole left half of aquarium to itself. <<Indeed>> Q: what is the proper item(s) to feed this coral?? <<Minced meaty marine foods, small mysis shrimp, Sweetwater Plankton, Cyclop-eeze...a mixture of these>> Looking on WWM using Galaxea as a keyword I only find tentacle warnings. <<That's about to change [grin]>> 3- Ricordea Yumas have center of tank, placed a full 11" away from Galaxea. <<Wise...though the Ricordea can be quite nasty itself>> 1- LT plate coral far right side of tank on sand bottom. 2- Sarcophyton one 1" frag one 4" frag mid-level right side. <<Keep in mind these can/will grow large (some to a couple feet in diameter) and are quite noxious>> I use a Coralife lunar light. 1-96w compact fluorescent. 1-96w actinic and 2 small blue LEDs.  I keep 10000K on 9hrs, actinic comes on one hour before and stays on one hour after.  Blue LEDs are on at night.  Is this lighting enough for what I'm keeping? <<If the bulbs are close to the water and changed out regularly...just barely I think.  The addition of another 10000K bulb (even a smaller wattage, say 65W) is warranted here in my opinion>> I have two powerheads for movement one PowerSweep 228 and a Whisper 660. <<Another powerhead would not hurt either>> Use a Magnum H.O.T. 250 for carbon/phosphate remover. <<Excellent>> Running a Coralife Super Skimmer 65g which IMO works awesome, at least one inch of "nasty" in collection cup daily.  I had convinced myself that my fancy for trigger fish was not to be exercised until I read "Have you overlooked these fish" by Gregory Schemer in the 2006 annual Marine Fish and Reef magazine.  After reading that article I have read everything I can on the Blue Throat triggerfish. <<An excellent species for reef tanks (have on in my reef), though I consider your tank too small for the long-term health of this fish>> My tank has a Tomato clown that I have had for 3 yrs and is only about 2 1/2 " (the alpha fish in this new 50. He has been in for a month now).  I added a Firefish and Falco Hawkfish the same week I added the clown. <<Kudos on the choice of Hawkfish...a small species (to about 3-inches), and attractive too>> Almost two months have passed.  Everyone eats fine.  Firefish is NOT afraid of "Hanging with the big boys" and eats as well as the clown. <<Good to hear...these shy fishes are often easily bullied to the point of starvation>> I just went by the LFS and there Screaming "buy me !! buy me !!" is a very small Blue throat, 3-inches. <<Uh-0h>> Now, I had already been doing the research and I'm convinced that everything in my tank should get along with some warnings of course.  And this 3" specimen really seems to be "the one last fish" ha ha hopefully. j/k <<Mmm...>> I had the store put it on hold.  I got a week to talk myself out of it.  Can you help talk me INTO it? <<I'm sorry to disappoint you...though it may not seem so now, your tank just isn't big enough (should be at least twice its size) for this large (grows to more than a foot), robust and active fish.  Many things affect the nature/behavior of fishes in captivity...and in my opinion an all too common practice in our hobby that mal-affects fishes more than many realize is placing them in too small volumes of water.  The argument that ?I'll upgrade when it gets too large for the tank? holds little weight as the fishes often develop behavioral disorders/develop health issues from the ?growing up? in a too small system...not to mention these ?promises to upgrade? rarely pan out for a myriad of reasons>> Ya think this fish will co-exist? <<The tankmates are fine...it's the housing that's inappropriate I'm afraid>> I have some small crabs, snails and such, and a sea hare that shows himself seldom (know about the possible ink too).  I am not worried about the clean up crew; they can be replaced if they disappear although I have read they will most likely be safe from the trigger.  My wife said "You know that's the last fish right?" She reads WWM too.:) <<Best to make it an appropriate selection then>> Please help us with our decision. <<I've given you my position on the matter...not what you wanted to hear I'm sure...but truly best for the trigger in my humble opinion>> <<Regards, Eric Russell>>
Re: Last Fish... (Not The Best Choice) ? 01/12/07 Thank you for your quick response Eric, <<Quite welcome David>> I should have told you more but my wife says I'm too "wordy." <<Ah...but tell here the more I/we know the better we can respond>> This 50 gallon tank was going to have a 20 H refugium added (we have 6 tanks in the house). <<That's excellent...but doesn't change my mind re the triggerfish>> The 20 was one of two tanks I combined for the 50.  After reading I kicked myself for buying the fifty not drilled and setting it up anyway. <<Utilizing the old siphon overflow eh?>> My plans of turning the 20 that is now my quarantine tank into a refugium really don't work unless I want to go the overflow box way, not to mention it's downstream. <<This is not a problem really/should not keep you from employing the refugium>> Among others we have a 125 drilled tank in our basement that we haven't gathered enough supplies or live rock for (the fifty gallons is holds 75 lbs or so). <<Aha!  This would be a MUCH better proposition for the Blue Throat trigger...and as long as you can make some hiding places and a ?cave? for the trigger to sleep this amount of rock may be fine as well.  I prefer to use a minimalist approach to placing live rock in a reef system.  It doesn't take as much rock to provide sufficient bio-filtration as those selling the rock would like you to believe.  Not to mention you also give your fish more room to swim and both fish and corals more room to grow.  And honestly mate...a tank with less rock and large full growing corals looks much better than a tank full of rock and a bunch of stunted frags>> This fifty is NOT our last tank by no means and I agree I've read about juvenile Blue Throats in no less than 40 and the appropriate size for a larger one would be 75-100G <<Or bigger...yes>> I WILL have a larger tank --just got to get the wife to imagine that empty tank in a cleaned out basement office };-> <<Perhaps a nice bottle of Shiraz will help...>> So If I get off my butt and do something with this larger tank, which I'll do slowly, then how long would a "conscientious" aquarist be able to keep a 3" B.T. Trigger in a fifty gallon tank before he grows any "fishy" behavior? <<Mmm...a truly ?conscientious aquarist?  would setup/establish/mature the larger tank ?before? making the purchase.  But since you already have the tank on hand (please don't make me regret this David), three to four months would probably be ok.  These fish are slow growers and you likely won't notice much change in its size in that time, but that doesn't mean you can leave it longer...get that 125 up and going>> On another note I still want to add water volume to this fifty, is it worth it to have a downstream refugium? <<Indeed it is...I have a 55g downstream refugium (empties to the pump chamber in my sump) on my reef system>> Will anything alive make it to the main tank? <<It will...impeller-shear is an overrated concern...most of the beneficial organisms generated by the refugium will make the trip to through the pump just fine...and even those few that might be damaged will still provide a beneficial treat>> And what would be the best way to turn an established tank into a refugium without completely emptying tank and fowling the already 3 yr mature sand bed? <<Several ways methodologies could be employed.  The simplest would be to add some coarser substrate/live rock rubble and culture the myriad of micro- and macro-fauna that inhabits such...another option is to add some lighting and place a bit of macro-algae (my preference is Chaetomorpha for its ?user friendliness? and its dense matrix which is a perfect environment to culture worms, amphipods, mysids, and associated epiphytic matter) above the sand bed to grow/compete with nuisance alga for nutrients>> Can I empty it down to the sand bed and dry the sides inside enough to glue in partitions? <<Probably...or maybe check out the article from one of the earlier editions on our on-line magazine where it is shown how to make install ?removable/adjustable? baffles using weather-stripping to hold them in place>> Or is it even worth the time? <<Well worth it, in my opinion>> Oh yeah, the LFS that has the trigger is one of the most knowledgeable stores we frequent.  They can be more expensive so we usually go there for learning purposes and most of the time the guy who runs the fish room talks me out of stupid moves. <<Good to hear>> I'm surprised he hasn't stopped me from wanting this fish. <<Mmm...>> He has seen my tank and he even has the Blue Throat in a fifty gallon at the store.  Now what's up with that? <<Differences of opinion maybe...coupled with the fact that retail/transient facilities have different considerations compared to hobbyist aquaria>> Heck, he has even said to me (when my wife wanted a frogfish a year ago and wanted to know the price) "For anyone else $75, for you're tank 199.99 !! "  He knew I knew better and he knew my wife wasn't ?reading up". <<Ah...then good for him>> This fifty is the largest tank I have running as of now, and as our passion for this hobby grows so have our tanks.  6 tanks was a crazy chore on weekends and this all started with removing some big Aiptasia from a 36 bow.  Now we got a species specific tank for "naughty rocks" a larger one to eliminate two was smart move, now we still have 4 to combine.  I have so many glass boxes downstairs full of old powerheads and lights, God help me if she ever sees a waterdog or something "cute" like the frogfish.  If we can't mix it in "we could always start another tank,"  Doh!! <<Ah but you have a ?problem? many, many hobbyists would like to have...a spouse that allows more than one tank in the house!>> After a trip to the fish store I'm happy to afford a Hacker Schorr or two. <<Indeed...do be careful not to cut ?too deeply? in to the beer budget! [grin]>> I'm rethinking the B.T. even though I know this 125 will happen someday, Hell it's there waiting.  All my friends will love coming over and sitting on boxes and old junk to look at the new tank in the basement   LOL <<If they're pet-fish folk they won't mind>> Thanks for your time Eric; I seemed to have time enough to get "wordy". <<No worries mate...and it's been a pleasure to share>> Oh here's a pic of the tank. <<Ah yes...is that a Rhodophyte at the upper right?  Very nice, Eric Russell>>

R2: Last Fish... (Not The Best Choice) ? 01/14/07 In that pic the upper right contains "red grape Caulerpa". <<Mmm? Okay>> And just to the left of it is my small Sarco frag.  The Caulerpa has been moved to the far left behind the rock under the PowerSweep (figured the Galaxea wouldn't sting it) and the larger 4" tall Sarco frag has been put in its place on the mid-level right.  No worries on size here...Have read enough on the propagation of Sarcophyton that the 4" will grow another 2" if it's lucky before I try the doughnut or pizza method of fragging. <<Ah?yes>> Speaking of fragging... We go to a monthly fish club at that same fish store. <<Neat>> I always see frags I haven't read up on for free or for trade.  In the past I have asked if I could get a small list of compatible corals for my wife's nano reef.  She keeps several little Kenya tree frags, one bigger Xenia frag and of course she has a small Sarcophyton no bigger than a pencil eraser.  She obviously likes "dainty frilly things" and I'm not sure what to research.  Can you give me a list of maybe 3-5 different things she could add without toxin or size problems? <<Hmm?pretty much impossible to meet those criteria.  There are many possibilities (on a small scale), as well as many possibilities for things to go wrong very quickly in these small volumes of water.  I am not a fan of nano tanks?but?these small reefs do seem to be popular and to be fair I have seen a few that looked quite nice? For a time.  As for stocking/maintenance/et al of these systems do start reading here ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysstkgfaqs.htm) being sure to follow the associated links in blue at the top of the page.  This will afford you much more/broader info than I can share on this topic>> I went to look at the trigger again, Joe reminded me that all their tanks are 50 G size, except for the "show" tanks and "Q" tanks are sharing a 4500 gallon system and the fish get moved every few days to a different tank to avoid dominance issues. <<Mmm, this seems overly stressful to me? but just my opinion>> The BT trigger is really about 2" now that I can see him not locked in a hole. <<Pretty small? better to acquire in the 3? ? 4? range? and preferably a Hawaiian specimen when possible>> He is in the fifty with a 7" pink tail trigger and two Hawkfish bigger than my Falco and bigger than him.  I didn't get the chance to stay an watch him eat. <<Would suggest you do so? this fish ?can be? problematic to get to feed>> DAMN I had to open my big mouth and question what could have been a really cool although dumb, impulse buy :) :/ <<Ah but Dave? You knew it was the right thing to do.  The fish, you, the hobby in general is better for your effort>> Now I'm afraid my clown might even kick his ass. <<This has crossed my mind as well.  Clownfish become very territorial/aggressive (they are a damsel, after all)?in fact the only fish to ever attack/draw blood from me in more than 30 years in this hobby has been? you guessed it?a clownfish?>> The clown is close to two months in and is starting to show dominance over the side of the tank with the plate coral.  Passers by get followed away, not chased yet. <<Likely to become more overt/physical in its actions>> Firefish has been moved to one of the nanos simply because the wife wanted it originally. <<Hmm?and one of the few fish suited to these tanks>> I'll still wait the LFS?s' quarantine out before I tell him I don't want the trigger. <<Decided to wait until you can provide a proper home have you?  Excellent my friend>> Thanks again, <<A pleasure to assist, EricR>>

Questionable Aquarium Service...Trying To Do What's Needed - 09/22/06 Dear Wet Web Crew, <<Hello>> My employer has a beautiful 200-gallon salt-water tank, and has a tank service that comes in and cares for this tank. <<Ok>> I have a serious lack of confidence in this company because I did a little research on your site and they have made many really bad mistakes. <<Some do yes, but doesn't mean this one is "bad".  Have you been able to talk to other/previous customers of this company?  Have they done anything to make you feel uncomfortable with their level of service?>> First, they got the chemicals wrong in the tank, which killed most of the fish. <<Ahh...I see...sounds like you may have good reason for your concerns...>> Then, when they replaced the fish, they brought us 5 crabs, a blue-throat Triggerfish, 3 assorted angelfish <<Mmm...>> (in separate bags. NOT introduced at the same time), and a pair of ocellaris (among others).  Of course, the Trigger ate the crabs immediately.  I am an administrative assistant with little/no knowledge of fish, and have been tasked with taking care of their diet, and making sure they get what they need. <<Sounds like you need to start doing some reading/researching my friend.  Google searches on our site and the NET re the species names will yield much information>> So I need a little advice from professionals that actually care about the fish.  After the initial eating of the crabs, and the disappearance of one of the smaller Angelfish (which after reading on your site I found out why <<...?>>), the blue-throat trigger has started exhibiting odd behavior.  He lies down at the bottom of the tank on his right side, and just lays very still for long periods on time. <<Maybe not all that "odd" after all.  Is there live rock in this tank? (should be if there isn't)...Does this tank have any type of decor/rock work?  These triggers will very often "rest" in a hole or crevice in the reef during the day, and definitely at night.  If the tank is not suitably aquascaped the trigger may be merely "resting" on the bottom of the tank>> He is still eating well (They get frozen shrimp, the cubed kind once a day, and Formula 2 the blue-green algae variety flakes twice daily). <<Do look in to obtaining some New Life Spectrum Marine pellets and a frozen "Angel" food formulated specifically for their care.  Feed these AND the frozen shrimp, with the flakes, twice daily>> His color has faded a bit, but he doesn't have any spot or slime on him, and he hasn't rearranged the tank in a while- he used to do that all the time.  I read one of your entries about one having similar behavior in a 20 gallon tank, and you said the tank was too small but I don't think that is the case here- the tank is 200 gallons. <<Agreed...but that doesn't mean there aren't more/other environmental factors at play here...such as water chemistry or the "design" of the tank itself>> Could he be malnourished or ill? <<Maybe...the trigger needs several small feedings of meaty foods daily.  The Spectrum pelleted food and the frozen shrimp fed at least twice a day will help.  For even better nourishment of ALL the fish, consider getting/soaking the food in Selcon and/or Vita-Chem a couple times a week>> And is there some product or variety of food I should tell my boss to get for him? <<Ah yes!...as explained>> Cordially, Jane <<I want to help Jane, do write back if you need further clarification on anything...and try to give me as much information about the system as you can (filtration/maintenance/aquascaping (or lack of), etc.).  Regards, Eric Russell>> Re: Questionable Aquarium Service...Trying To Do What's Needed ? 10/11/06 Dear Eric, <<Hello Jane>> I just wanted to thank you for your excellent advice. <<Was my pleasure to provide>> It has been about two weeks since you emailed me with the suggestions.  We invested in New Life Spectrum Marine Pellets, and we also purchased a lot more coral decorations to go on the live rock. <<This pelleted food is an excellent staple for your fish>> We hired a company to change out the coral and clean the tank/maintain the filtration system every two weeks. <<Excellent...but I do hope you/someone ?monitors? the tank on a daily basis>> They have been instructed to bring in lots of smaller shells and other such toys for the occupants. <<Mmm...do be careful not to create detritus traps>> Our Bluethroat Triggerfish has perked up considerably; I think he may have been suffering from boredom. <<Indeed...these are intelligent and personable fish...and somewhat ?shy? at times.  It's never good to place fish in a ?plain glass box? devoid of proper structure/hiding places...is very stressful>> All the fish seem to be a little brighter and a lot more active. <<Good signs>> Thanks again for your excellent advice and support. <<I'm glad it proved useful...thank you for the follow-up>> Peace and Blessings, Jane <<Regards, EricR>>

Mating of the Sargassum and Crosshatch Trigger   10/2/06 We Have a Sargassum Trigger (Which we thought to have been a male  because of the red tail.) The past week our Crosshatch has been acting  strange, digging out sand from the bottom of the tank and losing all of his  colors for about 2-5 minutes then getting it back. Today we noticed that the  Sargassum's lower stomach is huge and the opening which I believe are where  the eggs come out is dilated (white around it like tearing). Is there a  possibility that the Sargassum that we thought was a male is pregnant and  actually a female. <Yes> Can't find out much information on the Sargassum sex or how  long they carry their eggs. Please Help Penny <Need to visit a large/College library for such information (if it exists!): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm Does read like spawning behavior... Bob Fenner>

Finicky Sargassum Trigger ? 09/23/06 Hello from Alabama, <<Greetings from South Carolina>> Thank you for the wonderful site and all of the great information, my tank has improved greatly after implementing many of your ideas over the past year. <<Is a collective effort...you're quite welcome>> I do have a question that I couldn't find much info on though.  I purchased a 5" Sargassum Trigger one week ago, I had a problem with my quarantine and after one day I had to put it into the main tank ( a 265 FOWLR).  The fish looks great and is very active, which surprised me because I have a Blue Throat Trigger that hid for the first several days, but now swims constantly.  I assumed this fish would do the same. <<Indicative of the difference in species/personality>> Even though it is active it hasn't eaten anything this whole week. <<Troubling...even more so if this fish has not eaten since capture.  Did you see the fish eat at the LFS before purchase?>> I have tried pellets, flakes, frozen shrimp, frozen Mysis, and even live guppies and ghost shrimp. <<Hmm...is a planktonic feeder...though according to FishBase they will also dine on crabs and urchins>> It doesn't show any interest in food at all. <<Not good>> Do you have any ideas of what else I could try and do you know how long he can go without eating.  Any help will be appreciated. <<The fish can go a surprisingly long time without feeding, but not eating for more than a week becomes worrisome.  If the problem were internal parasites I would expect the fish to have expired by now...the fact that it is still alive leaves "some" hope that this is a problem of acclimation/finding the right stimulus to get the fish to feed.  Perhaps you could try some fresh mussels/clams/oysters on the half-shell from your local grocery store. I have had success in the past getting finicky feeders to eat by offering (thawed) frozen glass worms (mosquito larvae).  Try soaking these in Selcon for a bit more enticement/nutritive value.  Another food you should try is Sweetwater Plankton.  This small soft bodied food (Daphnia actually) is a great "plankton" food.  Both of these will likely be appreciated by the Blue Throat as well>> Thank you, Jeremy <<Good luck.  EricR>>

Re: Finicky Sargassum Trigger (Refugium Plumbing) ? 09/28/06 First of all let me say thank you for your help with my triggerfish, the night I received your response he began eating the Mysis shrimp. <<Ah, super!>> He now will eat anything, but I am still trying to find the zooplankton since that is what they are more accustomed to. <<The Mysis are a good ?staple?, but varying the diet is always better.  Both the Sweetwater Plankton (saltwater formula) and the New Life Spectrum pellets should be easy to find at many of the on-line vendors>> I now have another question. >>Okay>> I have been struggling keeping my nitrates below 20 ppm and I would like to be able to culture some copepods and things so I have decided to add a refugium after reading all the good reviews on them. <<Indeed...a very worthwhile addition to any system>> I have a 265 gallon tank with a sump and an AquaC EV-180, and about 150 lbs of live rock.  I have a 40 gallon Oceanic Trickle filter I am not using that I wanted to try and convert to a Refugium.   I have attached  a drawing of what I have in mind. <<I see it>> <Graphic not pasted here for space/dnld considerations... see Refugium Designs... RMF> My problem is that I am very restrained by the size of the stand I have and the space that I have. <<A very common tale>> Most people seem to have the space/height to drain from the tank to the 'fuge and then down to a sump.  I will have to have my sump and 'fuge on the same level with only about 2" height difference in the two. <<Could be fine...do ensure there is enough ?empty volume? left to handle the transient water volume when the pumps/power go off>> My plan is to have water flow from the tank to the sump and the 'fuge and then the 'fuge will overflow into the sump and be pumped back to the tank. <<That's how I do mine (375g display, 75g sump, 55g refugium)>> From experimenting in my garage I think I can only put about 150 gph through the 'fuge this way to keep it from overflowing (of course I could have powerheads in the 'fuge for better circulation in there). <<Flow-rate is determined by the size/number of throughputs...but 150 gph through this refugium should do fine>> I thought of adding another overflow and pump, but besides the added cost, I was afraid that would be too many variables (as far as keeping the system from overflowing), but maybe I am wrong. <<All comes down to not spilling more water in to the refugium than you can spill out of it in the same amount of time. I guess my questions are do you think the 150 gph would be enough for my tank to see a real benefit, and looking at the picture can you suggest a better way to get water through the fuge and to the sump. <<An emphatic ?yes!? to the first...and as for the second, I suggest you add a gate-valves to the pump output and to the refugium input to allow for flow adjustments and be able to ?shut-off? the refugium for maintenance.  And if these are ?hard? connections, you may also want to consider installing unions>> Sorry for the length of the email, and thank you in advance for all of your help. Jeremy <<No worries Jeremy, am happy to help.  Regards, EricR>>

Funny Trigger Story - 09/23/06 I just moved my three-inch male Blue Throat Trigger from quarantine to the display tank 24 hours ago, and he has remained hidden in a nook in the rockwork of my 90 gallon tank ever since. <<Not unusual...can be rather shy/timid as triggers go>> I'm not worried about him.  He acted the same way in quarantine for the first three or four days only to come out and be friendly for the following month. <<Indeed>> I have two RBTA (a recent split), a B/W Ocellaris Clown pair, a Twin-spot Hogfish and a small Wheeler's shrimp goby that hasn't found his pistol shrimp yet.  I have probably twenty snails, two large cleaner shrimp, one hermit crab and one small porcelain crab that came with some live rock, all running well and getting along for the past seven or eight months. <<Excellent>> Anyway, the trigger has taken up residence in the same cave as the porcelain crab. <<The porcelain crab hasn't taken up residence in one of the anemones?>> Now here is the odd thing.  The crab, which can't even be an inch long, seems to be trying to bully the trigger out of its hiding spot. <<Amazing creatures we keep, eh!>> They seem to have come to an arrangement and aren't bothering each other at the moment. <<Ah, yes...and will likely cohabitate just fine>> I just thought y'alls would like to hear about a tiny crab picking on a trigger that is probably twenty times his size.  Thanks y'alls for the wonderful work you do.  My fish and I owe you for all of your great advice. Jonathan <<Were pleased to be of service...and thank you for sharing.  EricR>>

Another Reef Tank for a Bluechin Trigger - 07/27/06 Hi Crew, <<Hello Jeff>> I have a question about the stocking of my system. <<Okay>> I would like to add a pair of Bluechin Triggerfish (Xanthichthys auromarginatus). <<Wonderful fish!  I introduced a pair to my reef tank a couple years ago...sadly I've since lost the female, but the male is doing great>> But I am not sure if they will put me over the bio-load that my tank can handle. My current system configuration is as follows: -450 Gallon Reef Ready Custom 96" x 36" x 30" display tank. -Euro-Reef CS 8-3+RC Skimmer and a Deltec APF600 Skimmer -63 gallon sump, 55 gallon Refugium and 39 gallon rock Refugium -2 Tunze 6000 Streams & 2 Tunze 6100 Streams -Lighting: 3 250 watt MH HQI and 4 39 watt actinic T5's -145Lbs Tonga Rock, 84Lbs Base Rock, 16Lbs Tonga Branch Rock, 60Lbs Indo Rock, and 60Lbs of Marshall Island rock -420Lb Bioactive Live Aragonite Reef Sand Current Bio-load in tank: -Various Soft Corals, LPS, Zoo's, mushrooms and Clams. -Also various crabs, snails and shrimp. -8 Zebra Dartfish (Ptereleotris zebra) -9 Blue-Green Chromis (Chromis viridis) -1 Green Mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus) -1 Scooter Dragonet (Synchiropus ocellatus) -1 Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum) -1 Mimic Tang (Acanthurus pyroferus) -1 Comet (Calloplesiops altivelis) -3 Ochre-striped Cardinalfish (Apogon compressus) -1 Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera) -1 Copperband Butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus) -1 Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani) -2 Percula Anemonefish (Amphiprion percula) -1 Ornate Wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissimus) -1 Twinspot Hogfish (Bodianus bimaculatus) -1 Flame Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus jordani) <<Hmmm...but for the Sailfin which will get quite large, and the Comet which will be of moderate size (Mimic and Copperband to a lesser degree), most everything else is fairly small.  Considering the size of this system, the (2) quality skimmers, the presence of a large sump and refugium, and plentiful though not "overdone" live rock...I would be tempted to add the triggers>> Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide. <<Try to get Hawaiian specimens if you can.  And make sure you acquire both the male and the female at the same time (in the same shipment even) to lessen the possibility of conspecific aggression.  When feeding, small portions of meaty foods (mysis, plankton, glass worms...all with a twice-weekly soak in Selcon) fed a couple to several times a day are best.  Mine even enjoys New Life Spectrum pellets...which do a fabulous job of soaking up Selcon/vitamin supplements.  Oh yeah, a cave/crevice (one for each) in which to hide/watch you move about will be greatly appreciated by the triggers>> Jeff <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Trigger Update and Some New Questions...Stocking/Compatibility - 08/06/06 Hi Crew! <<Howdy!>> First, I have some good news to report:  Our blue throat triggers that we wrote about a while back are now in the main tank (for the past two weeks) and seem to be doing really well. <<Yippee!>> The fish seem happy and are very active, eat like crazy and don't bother their tank mates.  Yeah!  (Thanks again Eric R. for all of your help!) <<Hee!  Tis me again! ...and you're very welcome!>> Now, for the new issue: <<Okay>> Long story but it ends like this:  Someone had a reef tank that completely crashed and they were unable to care for the fish (tank was without circulation for almost 24 hours, temp at 92 F, two dead fish in tank which probably raised the ammonia). <<Only two?>> So, we rescued the remaining (barely) live fish and put them in our Q-tank to see if they would recover before we could get them new homes. <<Smart>> Sad story turns good for most of the fish including two very young Percula clowns, a Juv. Emperor Angel, and a small adult Majestic Angel.  They seem happy and healthy now.  Unfortunately the fish in the worst shape was the Purple Tang which is still not eating after two weeks!  All of the fish are in the same Q-tank, but the poor Tang just seems to tread water and isn't doing much else.  We have tried all kinds of different food - various flake, frozen, live, Nori (soaked in garlic, or Selcon) but nothing seems to work. <<Mmm, if this fish doesn't recover/feed it won't be due to your lack of trying>> At first he was nearly completely faded and just leaned against the side of the tank barely breathing.  Now, his color has improved a great deal and he looks pretty good.  But he's not active at all.  We really don't want him to die, but know if he doesn't eat soon, he will.  (We're dropping the temp in the Q-tank from the usual 80F to 78F to slow down his metabolism).  Is there anything you can recommend to get him to eat? <<I think you've done/are doing all you can...is up to the tang at this point.  Keep offering food daily, optimize water conditions...time will tell>>>> This story leads me to my next and final issue for today: We did not plan on adding any more fish after the Blue Throat Triggers, but we have grown attached to these fish and have reconsidered finding them new homes. <<I see>> Our friend will put the Majestic and the Purple Tang in their reef, if he makes it, but we're considering keeping and putting the Percs and the Emperor Angel in our main display tank.  We have no idea what is considered too many fish in a reef aquarium. <<Highly variable...many factors to consider (system size/filtration, adult fish size, species, environmental considerations/constraints, etc.) It seems there are so many factors that can make a difference, so we are hoping you can tell us if we are about to go over our capacity in the 7 foot long 260 gal tank: <<Mmm...I'll give it a go...>> The current inhabitants are: Pair of Blue-throat Triggers (Male is approx. 7? and female is 6?) 1 Naso Tang (about 4.5?) 1 Yellow Tang (4?) 1 Blue Hippo Tang (4?) 1 Kole Tang (3.5?) 1 Coral Beauty (3?) 2 Firefish (2? each) 2 Purple Firefish (2.5?) 1 Mandarin (2.5)?but really fat! 2 Tomato Clowns (2.5 and 2?) [moving them to a breeder tank soon] And: 3 Cleaner shrimp 2 Fire shrimp Lots of hermits Emerald crab Various Corals 3 clams All fish seem to get along except the Tomato clowns which are really territorial. <<Indeed...only fish I've ever had "draw blood" was a clown fish>> We are planning to move them to a 29 gallon breeder tank with live rock and sand and the anemone they host in. <<Excellent>> They have been laying eggs regularly and with any luck we can try raising the fry. <<I'd like to recommend you get a copy of the book by Joyce Wilkerson re (http://www.fishlore.com/clownfishesbook-wilkerson.htm)>> The main display reef has about 250 pounds of live rock, 40 gallon sump with LR - ASM G3 skimmer - Aqua 25W UV - 3x250W DE Metal Halide/2x80W T5 - CPR Aquafuge ? Kalk Reactor - and we are about to add another 20L refugium to the system. <<...? 20 liters or 20 gallons?>> Do we have enough room to add the Emperor (knowing the zoos could be at risk).  Would this put us over the capacity? <<The Naso and Hippo tangs will grow to be big, beefy fish...and the Naso may even outgrow this system in time.  But what you propose could work for a while>> Would the Emperor bother my other fish? <<Hmm, coming in last like it is...likely all will be fine>> Thanks as always for your advice. <<As always...happy to assist>> -Pam and Rob <<Regards, Eric Russell>>  

Sargassum Trigger Fish  - 07/18/2006 Hi guys/girls <<Hi.>> Quick question for you if I may :) <<Go for it.>> I have a Sargassum Trigger Fish. <<Cool.>> I have had him for a few months now.  Slowly over this time he has become progressively skinnier. Not really skinny, he eats a huge amount, but just does not put on weight. I am just thinking he may have worms. <<An internal parasite of some kind is likely.>> What would be the best thing to worm him with? <<I use Levamisole, a commonly available pig de-wormer.>> We don't have a huge range of meds over here either, can you just use cat wormer? <<I'm not familiar with cat meds.>> How much? How do you get it into them? Soak some freeze dried krill in a solution of the Levamisole and tank water.  Do this for a few days.>> Thought of mixing with food, but he tends to only eat whole things like mussel, white bait etc. <<See above.>> Any ideas?? There is a photo of him (attached) when I first got him. <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Blue cheeked Trigger Fish in a Reef Tank?  6/5/06 Hello Crew, <<Hello Bob>> I'd just like to get your opinion of Blue Cheeked Trigger fish, (Xanthichthys auromarginatus ), in reef tanks. <<Absolutely worthwhile...if you have the space>> I have heard much recently of the suitability of these fish to reef set ups due to their planktonic diet, but they are trigger fish after all and those shrimps look so tasty! <<Ha!...indeed.  There's always the possibility of trouble, but I've kept this species in my reef for more than a year now without incident (I have shrimp and snails but no hermits), and would heartily recommend you give them a try.  I think the biggest danger would be if you tried to introduce more shrimp after the trigger is in the tank...would have to be introduced very carefully, not just "dropped" in to the tank>> My set up is 340 litre. <<Mmm, marginal...should be "OK" for a time, but would like to see it in a larger system for the long term>> Stock includes leather and mushroom corals.  1 cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis).  Red- and blue-legged hermits.  Turbo snails. Fish list; 2 x Amphiprion ocellaris 1 x Ecsenius midas 2 x Pomacentrus alleni 1 x Neocirrhites armatus 1 x Centropyge bicolor 1 x Pseudocheilinus hexataenia 1 x Gramma loreto 1 x Ctenochaetus strigosus Thank you for your time and expertise! Bob Mehen <<A pleasure to assist, Eric Russell>>

Re: Blue Throat Triggers in a Reef? - 07/18/06 Hi again you guys! <<Hello Pam!>> So, I took your advice (Eric) and I purchased two Blue Throat Triggers (BTT's) directly from Hawaii a few weeks ago. <<Ahh, Excellent!>> They arrived a lot larger than we would have hoped, but they are beautiful (especially him, but don't tell her!). <<Indeed...wonderful fish>> They looked very healthy but apparently came to me very stressed. <<Hmm...possibly handled poorly>> We weren't sure they were going to make it through the acclimation process (the male was particularly stressed, bobbing head down in the tank and floating almost completely upside down, it wasn't pretty). <<Yikes!>> Thankfully they did survive and once we got them eating a whole week later, they seem great! <<Yay!>> It was very difficult to get them to eat.  We tried everything from a homemade fish food recipe all our other fish love, to live Brine shrimp, frozen Mysis, krill, squid, and the list goes on. <<I'm surprised by this, I must say>> We tried to feed them for a full week to no avail......finally a fellow hobbyist (from Wamus) told us about this frozen freshwater Mysis from Canada. <<Yes, PE Mysis...an excellent food>> He brought some over that night and we couldn't believe it...they inhaled the Mysis! <<Very good>> I tried two other brands they did not touch before that! <<Try them now...>> Needless to say, I can't seem to feed them often enough-they love this high protein stuff! <<Be careful...several "small" feedings per day.  Also, wouldn't hurt to soak these in Selcon (or similar) a couple times a week>> It is made by Piscine Energetic (FYI).   For the past three weeks these BT are feeding well, and looking terrific (until yesterday). <<Ruht-Roh>> We were planning on putting them in the main population since we just did our water change in the main tank and my Q-tank is small for them.  We noticed some spots on the fins (especially on the male).  We have been doing very regular water changes in the Q (a few times a week) using water from the main tank and keeping a very close eye on pH and ammonia.  No issues.  We did lose power a few times about a week ago, but they had a battery air stone in there the whole time (maybe it was stressful, but they seemed fine and the temp didn't change.  They are acting normal and look healthy so I don't know what to do about this (action or ignore). I don't think this is Ick because it doesn't look like salt and they aren't scratching against the live rocks or anything.  Luckily I am not a disease or parasite expert since that has not been a problem in my tank and I have a UV filter on the main tank.  This looks like faded white spots on one of the tips (not near the gills) of the male's fins and her lower fin (under her belly).  I am afraid to treat what I don't know and I am also afraid to do a freshwater dip or anything that could stress these fish we have worked so hard to keep acclimated and stress free.  Does this sound like something that will treat itself?  Should I be worried?  Do you know what this is? <<Is smart of you not to panic/treat until you have confirmed the need to do so.  These spots are normal/natural markings...nothing to worry about.  At first glance they do appear very much like parasites, but careful observation will reveal they are indeed markings on the fins>> I have put some Kent Garlic Xtreme in the Mysis when I feed the past two times-any other ideas? <<I don't think you need be concerned...you can continue occasionally with the garlic additive if you wish, it may serve as a preventive measure towards internal parasites.  You might also try it with the other foods as an enticement>> Long story short (I know, too late).....I am so happy you helped convince me to get them. <<It pleases me greatly to hear this>> I can't wait to see them happy and swimming in the main tank.  It was difficult to get them acclimated and they have had some stress, but all in all seem to be very happy and don't even stress during water changes anymore! <<They will much appreciate a cave/crevice in which to hide/sleep...though they probably won't inhabit the same one>> It's been three weeks and I would like to take them out of the QT this week but need to know if these  barely visible spots are dangerous or if they will harm my other fish.  And what I should do if anything.  I can't send a picture-it doesn't show up. <<No worries my friend.  I believe all will be/is fine>> Sorry to only write when I have a problem....but you always seem to save the day. <<Hee!  High praise indeed!>> Thanks! Pam <<Very welcome, do keep me posted on the pairs' progress.  Regards, Eric Russell>>
Blue Throat Triggers in a Reef? III - 07/18/06
Thanks again Eric-my hero! <<I'm blushing, or maybe just beaming! <grin>... You're very welcome>> I will keep an eye on them but feel much better now!  I will try other foods again with the garlic as you recommended. <<Ah yes, and the Selcon/a vitamin product too>> Thanks for the very quick reply and taking the time.  You guys really are a terrific resource and I appreciate that. <<The guys and gals here are pleased to do what we can>> Have a great day, Pam <<And you my friend.  EricR>>

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums

Diversity, Selection & Care

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