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FAQs about Triggerfish Health 3

FAQs on Triggerfish Disease: Trigger Disease 1, Triggerfish Health 2,
FAQs on Triggerfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Trauma, Pathogenic (infectious, parasitic), Social, Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: Triggerfish, Red Sea Triggerfishes,

Related FAQs: Triggerfishes, Triggerfish: Identification, Selection, Compatibility, Behavior, Systems, Feeding, Reproduction,

Triggerfishes for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Bizarre swimming of trigger   MOVie Link  5/3/19
<Hello Zackery!>
I need some help...My blue throat trigger started doing this very bizarre corkscrew swim pattern today. Appetite decreased 2 days ago. He has been fine before this and strong eater. All my water parameters are testing in the perfect range.
<I need more information about your system...size, tankmates, filtration, water data (test numbers), temperature.>
He seems to ‘get worse’ with this when attempting to feed..it’s almost as if he starts the  twirling/corkscrew movements when trying to go after food but he’s ‘missing’ the food.
<It appears to be disoriented; this could be due to numerous factors; water quality, nutritional deficiency, a genetic anomaly... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/faqs.htm  and the linked files above.>
Other times, he appears fine swimming as usual with only occasional bouts of this ‘swirling’.
Attached is a video recorded during feeding this morning showing the erratic behavior.
<Could you please place the video in the cloud or other server like YouTube and send us just the link?... our server doesn’t support very large files.>
Any thoughts on a diagnosis or treatment would be greatly appreciated.
<You’re most welcome. Wil.>
Re: Bizarre swimming of trigger     5/3/19

Here is the video link on YouTube for you:
<Ahh...thanks! >
I have a 90-gallon fish only tank with just the trigger (5 inches) and 2 small Clarkii Clownfish (1 inch each). The tank is 3 months old.
Filtration: Eshopps sump 1000 GPH
<Sounds good, It appears to be stable an uncrowded.>
My water parameters are as follows:
Temp: 78 degrees F
Specific gravity: 1.022
pH: 8.0
<A bit low, aim to 8.3-8.4 by adding a buffer>
Ammo: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: <10
Phosphates: 0
<I suggest focusing on its nutrition. Even though Blue throats tend to be a little more finicky than other triggers, try to feed it a diet as varied as possible including vitamin supplements. Keep an eye on it and give a few days to see if this condition is reverted. Please read the links I sent you and keep us posted.>
<Cheers. Wil.>

Hope you can help. My blue throat trigger suddenly developed some discoloration on his face.   12/21/17
Hope you can help. My blue throat trigger suddenly developed some discoloration on his face.
Can you tell what it is?
<A "burn" of some sort. What other life is present here? Hydroids? Bristleworms?>
Derek C.
<Nothing to do treatment wise... Just time going by should see this fish improve. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hope you can help. My blue throat trigger suddenly developed some discoloration on his face.     12/22/17
A lot of Bristleworms and he is new to the display tank and he is hiding behind the rock a lot.
At least he is not sick. He seems to swim and eat fine. That is comforting and this morning the "burn" seems to fade away.
Thanks, Bob
I will put your comment on ree2reef.
<Real good Derek. I do fully suspect this fish was feasting on the Errantiate Polychaetes here... and got a bit more than it bargained for. As prev. stated, this will heal on its own. Cheers and happy holidays, BobF>
Re: Hope you can help. My blue throat trigger suddenly developed some discoloration on his face.     12/22/17

Thanks again.
<Welcome. B>

Played dead. Trigger... shipped w/o pure O2       6/23/17
Hey Bob,
I had this happen to me last night, never experienced this before, want to see if you think this is a bizarre, rare occurrence, or just the fishes trick of the trade.
<Let's see>
I bought 2 fish last night from local shop, a red tail or sargassum trigger, and pink belly wrasse. They were both at lfs store for over a year, ate well etc.
I drive home, about 1.5 hours, bring them in and prepare a freshwater dip.
I then remove wrasse from lfs bag, dip, then into quarantine. Next up the trigger.
He was upside down in bag, motionless. I open bag, lift him up by hand, and the fish is stiff, not moving , no movement whatsoever.
<Mmm; these fishes were bagged w/ oxygen I hope/trust>
Angry, I started throwing items around me, them confused. No drastic temp changes in bag, was in there for less than two hours , and so on.
Debating whether to toss or put him in freezer in case lfs wanted to confirm (they don't guarantee anyhow) I just tossed the fish in the quarantine till I could figure out what to do.
3 hours later I come home, and he's moving his fins, but not much more.
This morning, swimming, although not aggressively, that just may be how some of these triggers are, more benthic then water column Anthias type fish.
Did I witness a reborn, or is this a tactic?
<I suspect more the former. Balistids will swim upside down, and many species are given to swimming into holes, crevices and wedging themselves in to avoid divers, predators... But this situation reads as more likely a matter of too-low oxygen; common with larger, metabolically active fishes in small volumes. Best to ship triggers in doubled or tripled 4 mil bags... WITH O2 (little ambient air), IN THE DARK (as in a Styro fish box), and process/acclimate ASAPractical. Bob Fenner>
Thanks bob
Re: Played dead      6/23/17

Thanks bob. Oxygen was not used, just ambient air "caught" in the bag.
<Ahh, a huge mistake. Not only does the straight O2 help boost DO and sustain pH, it also anesthetizes fishes in transit to a degree>
He was in there for all of an hour and a half, next time I will invest in battery powered bubbler and use bucket for larger fish.
I was ready to toss him in trash, stiff as a rock, and slowly he came back.
He's hiding now, hoping whatever damage oxygen or lack thereof of did does not effect quality of life going forward.
<Me too>
Thanks again , bob
<Thank you for sharing. B>

Blotchy White Spots on Trigger      12/30/16
Dear WWW Team:
Happy holidays and I hope all is well.
<Thank you; yes>
I recently purchased a 7in crosshatch trigger, but I was only able to quarantine him for 5 days. The water quality in my QT was bad. So, I decided to dip him with Safety Stop (2 parts dip - 45min in formalin and another 45min in Methylene blue) before putting him in my 120 reef tank. In the last couple of days, I noticed several white blotchy spots on both of his fins (pics attached). They are different sizes and shapes - I don't think is ich.
<Agreed... this looks like "burns" from the dip exposure to me. Should heal on its own in one-two weeks>
I decided not to catch him and QT him again because it would cause an extreme amount of stress to him and all other inhabitants in reef tank.
<We are in agreement>
Besides he looks well and eating well.
<Ah, good>
A couple of days ago, I began to give him Dr G's bacterial frozen food plus soaked Selcon in the pellets 3x a day. The trigger and all other tank mates are behaving normal, happy, active, and eating well. All the other fishes are currently not showing any signs of the blotchy white spots.
My water parameters are: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 2-4, temperature 77-79, and ph is steady at 8.2.
My questions are: what is afflicting my trigger?
<As stated>
And I am on the right direction in terms of treating him or do I need to do something differently/aggressively?
<I would continue as you are doing; no worries>
Your advice, insights are greatly appreciated.
Kind regards and Happy New Year
<And to you. Bob Fenner>

Trigger, hlth.         8/14/16
As always let me begin by thanking all of you for your time. I have received help many times from your site and various volunteers.
<Ah, welcome>
I have a 7 year old 60 gallon reef tank. I had a tank wipeout a year and a half ago when I added an new fish to my previously closed system and did not qt him. This was stupid. I believed crypt wouldn't happen to me. All died except for a goby I've had for 5 years now. I waited 8 weeks and tried a new fish and have tried various inhabitants in staggered intervals and they live a month, 4 months, 6 months. But they all perish eventually. I understand now I have crypt (Ich) in my tank.
<Actually, it is very common... that folks have resident, latent infestations of Crypt... It showing clinically with some sorts of excess stress>
I believe the goby is keeping this parasite alive. I am setting up a 20 gallon qt today. I have the goby, a fat and happy clownfish with no symptoms (I've had him 2 months) and a baby Picasso triggerfish (2 weeks)
that arrived emancipated. He eats like a pig, I feed Selcon soaked Mysis 3 times a day (a cube total in a day) as I'm trying to fatten him up. He arrived with fin damage. It is getting worse. His flesh looks like it's deteriorating. One black spot on fin. He's outgoing and vigorous but looks worse everyday. I bought a new testing kit. Ph is 7.8.
<About as low as I'd let it get... Would be bolstering (adding alkalinity) via supplemented water in changes. Am a huge fan of the SeaChem lines here.
No detectable ammonia, no detectable nitrites, no detectable nitrate.
<No NO3? Odd>
I run an amazing Octopus skimmer. For water polishing I have a Aqueon filter with floss I rinse every few days. I run carbon in it once a month.
My questions I'd love help with are; how do I proceed? Does the trigger have Ich/crypt?
<Can't say... w/o sampling, microscopic examination; could be; but there are likely a few secondary issues here>
A bacterial infection? Do I qt all the fish?
<Depends on root cause/s. There may well be "something" awry environmentally... a source of poisoning/toxicity... Metal? Organic? I'd run Polyfilter for a week to look for tell-tale color... and use Boyd's ChemiPure as your source of carbon (and more) to remove potential chemical issues>
What do I do with the cleaner shrimp?
<Leave it in the main system>
How do I treat the fish in qt?
<FIND out, determine WHAT the real issue/s are here first>
I've read a dozen articles and I feel more and more confused. I will do whatever it takes. I have live rock with mushroom
<Some aspect of these may be at fault. Put the words: "toxicity",
"allelopathy" and LR alone and Mushrooms alone in the WWM search tool (found on every page) and read re>
but will empty and do whatever it takes do finally guarantee the health of my fish. Any help is much appreciated by my fish and I. I have not tried to be lazy or ignorant. I love this hobby and enjoy the research and patience required. I fear I've let my inhabitants down.
Thank you,
<The reading now, and then let's chat. Bob Fenner>
Trigger picture        8/14/16

<Mmm; this fish looks starved. Please see WWM re Triggerfish/Balistid foods/feeding/nutrition. Bob Fenner>

Re: Trigger      8/15/16
Thank you Bob for you thoughtful (and quick) reply. I wondered about my Ph and Nitrate numbers as well. I've never messed with Ph
<Not usually necessary... in well set up (whatever this is... w/ adequate hard/calcareous substrates) and maintained (frequent partial water changes, use of skimming, ozone...) and not over or mis fed systems>
but will get a Seachem product for it via Amazon now. I haven't tested for nitrate in a few years. Back then I always had around 40. The nitrate is a new API test. I followed instructions carefully and the water in the vial remained light yellow, not registering any nitrates.
<Mmm; I'd get/use other than this low end colorimetric assay. Not API; see WWM re>
I will do the test again. I run poly filter now. When I rinse it out its a purplish/reddish color.
<Mmm; it may be you have too much iron from somewhere... or this could be indicative of biological coloring>
I will purchase Boyd's Chemipure via Amazon. Regarding the allelopathy; per your advice a month and a half ago for my pop eyed coral beauty I rehomed my Kenya tree coral and now only have blue mushrooms, maybe 50-75 of them. I did a 25% water change and ran carbon. He died 3 weeks later. So I only have one type of mushroom and no other corals. Should I remove the mushrooms?
<I would keep their herd thinned back... perhaps one polyp per five gallons>
Should I get a UV sterilizer?
<Worth considering>
I sent you a picture of my trigger, he does indeed look starved. In the week and a half I've had him I've been trying to fatten him; I am feeding him small amounts often.
A total of 1 mysis cube for the tank a day, with Selcon.
<I would expand this diet; use a high quality pellet food (Hikari, Spectrum) as basic staple.>

Perhaps he had an internal parasite?
<Could be. See WWM re triggers, Rhinecanthus re.. maybe a treatment of Praziquantel, and...?>
I purchased a Tsunami coral insert from Fosters and Smith as I cannot have multiple corals due to allelopathy. Do you have any experience with these faux inserts?
<Not this line, no>
It is supposedly reef tank safe.
<Am almost for sure it would be. The folks at Dr.s F and S are quite capable and careful re choosing products>
Thank you for your time, I am always amazed that you share your expertise with us and cannot express my appreciation enough.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

trigger fish       5/18/15
Hi guys
I have a blue throat trigger he is about 3 inches in length. I have had him for several months. Right now he is in a 60 gallon mixed reef. He was in a 125 that was running about 6 years and I came home to find the bottom glass cracked and almost all 125 gallons on he living room floor.
<Yikes; no fun>
So he, a 4 inch yellow tang and 5 Chromis and a skunk cleaner shrimp went into the 60 gallon for now. It took over a week to recover from that mess and every empty aquarium I had (3) are now holding the salvaged Liverock and sand. That was two weeks ago.
He looks great, swims openly and has been eating normally. Tonight while feeding some Mysis shrimp he pooped a long trail of many thin white threads. They looked like spaghetti and were sticky and several inches long. it took quite a while for the mass of threads to finally drop off bit by bit. Any Ideas?
<Mmm; well; could be simply stress; but perhaps expression of a lumenal worm infestation. Let's have you read here:
Scroll down to worm diseases, treatments
Bob Fenner>

Trigger eye       1/6/15
Good evening bob,
<BH, a proper noun, capitalized>
About a week ago I notice this on my durgeon trigger.
<See in your pic.... a trauma... banged into something... SEE/READ on WWM re Eye Injuries
No other fish have it, and it is only one eye. He still eats, but hides more so now than before. He is housed with a niger trig,
<Not... a happy place>
asfur angel, guinea fowl puffer and a big volitans.
<Might have gotten poked... and this Lion will be killed in time here... incompatible w/ Balistids, large Pomacanthids>

As well as achilles and sailfin tang. It's been this size (eye) for about four days now. Being one eye, and the fact I just prazied my tank with 3 consecutive treatments , I doubt it could be flukes.
Attached is a pic from tonight. Seems like one Nasty injury, in your experience will this Heal, eye fall off, lead to infection and death?
<Some of one or more of the above>

Is a freshwater dip worth it at this point?
<For what? READ>
Thank you
Oh and param.s: 79 degrees f, 1.023 sg, 0 a and nitrites. 40 nitrates. Ph 7.9, 150 gallon tank
<Need about twice this>

with 125 lbs of live rock, sand, skimmer and bio pellet reactor.
<Again, what for?>
Only use r/o with max 10 tdsr reading.
<Keep reading! Bob Fenner>

Re: Trigger eye       1/6/15
Just got this pic. Decided to lay down facing glass. Hope this helps !
<Not me; you? The reading. B> 

Re: Trigger eye        1/7/15
Yes this is what I thought. I will work on rehoming one of the triggers. As well as volitans.
<Ah, good>
The lion was given to me when my neighbor took down his tank and moved.
<Welcome. B>

Bumps like pimples on Queen Trigger     10/27/13
Hi Bob and Company,
I added a Queen Trigger to an aggressive tank about four months ago.  Two months ago it started to develop a bump above his mouth (see photo).
<I see this; and have seen such quite a few times with Balistids>
 In researching your site I didn't find pictures with a comparable looking feature, yet I gravitated to the Lymphocystis page.
<Don't think this is viral>
  Now there are more bumps and I count as of today that there are four white pimples.  The trigger seems a little sluggish compared to his behavior when I initially added him, spending much time in his cave.  He doesn't investigate around the tank or pick up rock rubble - behavior I would expect from a trigger that felt well.
  I would be grateful for your insight as to the condition, and as to what I should do if anything.
Thank you,
<Am pretty sure that these whitish areas, and the bump/hump itself are indicative of a growth inside this area... likely resultant from a run-in or several that this fish made early on; with rock, worms, corals... nothing to do really... one could try excising the area, "draining it" as it were; but I'd just wait and hope it heals of its own accord. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bumps like pimples on Queen Trigger      10/27/13
Thank you Bob.  I will wait and baby him with love and squid pieces, and hope for the best.  We added a cleaner wrasse Friday and it has perked up his attitude.  He has spent all morning in the cleaning station, so he's being responsive to the environment.
Big thanks,
<Thank you for this update Dave. Cheers, BobF> 

triggerfish abscess/tumor    10/7/12
There are a few articles and discussions regarding triggerfish obtaining abscesses and/or tumors.
<? Is this a continued correspondence?>
There is a picture of a pink tail trigger from 2004 with the exact same thing my blue jaw has. He developed this over the past 5 weeks. It seems to be increasing in size over the past week. Parameters in 125 gallon are good, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, nitrates at 1.0, ph 8.2, dKH 10. The tank has been up for a year. The trigger has been in the tank for 9 months. He is still an excellent eater and swims around the tank like nothing is wrong.
He lives with green Chromis (4), Kole tang, swallowtail angel, maroon clown, male and female sunset wrasses. mix of soft and LPS corals all doing well. There is no aggression with the fish. The angelfish was the last to enter the tank 5 weeks ago with evidence of Lymphocystis that is almost completely resolved. There are a few discussions about these tumors or abscesses but no discussion on treatment. Any follow up on what happened to the pink tail from '04?
<Not that I'm aware of... any responses, further communications, I do my best to match w/ previous. Such tumours/abscesses either seem to heal on their own, or the fish succumbs. Bob Fenner>
Thanks. Tricia Keefe
Re: triggerfish abscess/tumor    10/7/12
Do you think it is worth trying to treat with food soaked in antibiotics?

<Mmm, no; have become less and less a "fan" of anti-microbials as the years have gone by... not only of not much use in most petfish circumstances, but often more harm (to nitrifiers in particular) than they're use warrants.

Re: triggerfish abscess/tumor      10/29/12
So, definitely an abscess for this blue jaw. I have forwarded some pictures.
I would be in favor of trying to put a needle in the live fish to open this and drain it when it is smaller.
<Worth trying>
After he died trying to open this with a razor blade was really difficult.
The scales were so tough. I don't think you could open this with anything that would be able to cut it without killing the fish but maybe a larger needle would work; like a 21 to 23 gauge needle might work. Nothing along the pus pocket appears to be tumor like. If this were a human it would have drained on its own a long time ago. I suspect it doesn't drain spontaneously due to the tough overlying scales. Due to the location I wonder if they don't get some sort of minor trauma in the mouth that extends into the "cheek" then cannot drain from there.
<Mmm, don't know re this. Balistids put some very tough, pointy things in their mouths>
 I'm unsure how well the pictures will email. The first one is early on, second one as it got a lot bigger, then post-mortem abscess cavity. I don't know if this will help anyone else but hopefully.
<Thank you for your input. Bob Fenner>

triggerfish keep dying: Poisoned by phony "med.s"   6/21/12
I have followed your site for some time and noticed the detailed answers/advice you seem to offer. I am a very frustrated aquarist. Over the last 3 months I've purchased separately 10 triggerfish that die almost immediately.

 (4 clown triggers, 2 BlueLine, 1 whitetail, 2 undulated, 1 Huma BlueLine). I know a good aquarist should find out what's wrong before adding more but I am doing everything right. I have 6 SW tank setups with groupers, eels, damsels, a marine Betta, harlequin tusk, & pufferfish all thriving in different tanks. As I add triggerfish the initial acclimation is fine, they're eating and getting along with others. Within a week or so it's the same MO; their eyes begin to cloud, small white dots on their fins develop, and it seems their scales begin to peel. After getting progressively worst, each stops eating and after a week or two dead.
<Something up here...>
My parameters seem fine: ph 8.3, 0 nitrites, ammonia, 5 nitrates(unnoticeable in some cases), salinity 1.023 range. Medications and a QT tank for most doesn't help. The latest was the BlueLine (55g) and clown(150g); acclimation was fine, LR, canister filters, protein skim, 77 temp, parameters were near perfect, and after a few days, white spots, cloudy eyes, not eating, and then death. I purchased both from online retailers but others I have purchase locally with the same results.
<Mmm, what's going on here?>
This is extremely frustrating and disappointing for both the costs I'm out of and simply not knowing why these fish are dying while others thrive. I take these deaths personally as I am dedicated and serious and hate to this happen to any of my fish.  Also using Instant Ocean sea salt which I hope is not the issue. Any assistance or guidance is appreciated.
<Well, there are no specific "Balistid only" pathogenic diseases... what might mal-affect them would do the same to the puffers, other fish groups... Have you changed your protocol in dipping/bathing new purchases?
Perhaps there is insufficient oxygen (using RO water in dips?) or too much formalin exposure... Explain to me your modus operandi from purchase to main tank placement.
Bob Fenner>
Re: triggerfish keep dying; being killed     6/23/12

I have tried two primary methods:  a Methylene Blue dip before the QT tank and a product my LFS suggested called Ruby Reef Rally.
<A scam... see WWM re>
 After a few days and noticeable cloud eye, white spots, and laggard movement,
<Could be the pepper sauce...>
 I use Chem-Marine parasite products, Melafix,
<These last two are worthless as well... Please search on WWM...>

and EM Erythromycin to varied degrees. The most recent happened to both 5"clown and 6" bluelined, both in new species only cycled tanks (150g, 55g) where parameters were excellent. I also used this product I discovered call Seachem Stability and Stress Coat hoping this would help. I let the bag float for 1/2hr and pour 1/2cup of tank water every 5mins into the bag for about an hour.
<... and see WWM re acclimation>

 But it has happened to my other triggers once mixed in with other species.
Very disturbing and can't figure out the issue especially since other fish are fine. I visited my LFS today which had a fresh crop of triggers but I didn't dare purchased any.  I noticed how vibrant each were in their tanks and also notice they are using rock substrate where as I use sand on a 3" bed. thx
<Read. BobF>

Strange black threads in mouth of crosshatch trigger    3/4/12
Hi, we have had a healthy crosshatch trigger for about 8-10 months now.
We've noticed several black threads apparently attached inside his lower mouth, behind his teeth. We were taking a close look at him as recently we think he may be laboring a bit on 'breathing' as he is opening and closing his mouth more rapidly and than usual we believe. It's hard to get pics but here are two where you can get some idea of what we see. Otherwise he appears fat in the belly and swimming normally and actively, feeding as normal. Any ideas? David
<Appears this triggerfish has been biting about in its world... and is fine. Bob Fenner>

Dry Sargassum Trigger 1/11/12
Good evening WWM Crew.
Two days ago my newly acquired Sargassum Trigger jumped out of my 240.
<Yikes, no fun>
I don't know how long it was out but when I woke up I found it pretty well dried out.
When I picked it up I noticed its lower jaw move just a tiny little bit.
I tossed it back in the tank and about 30 seconds later its gills started moving and after a few minutes the entire body was twitching and it was trying to move. After about an hour it was out swimming around again.
<Ah good>
Fast forward to today (2 days later). Its eating like a horse
<Good sign>
however is looking pretty bad on one side. It may be the side that was on the carpet when I found it but Im not certain.
Its almost a brown color and looks like some of the skin or scales may be coming off. Its only on one side and pretty well runs right down the center of the fish. Im including a couple pictures but my camera isn't very good.
Do you have any idea whats going on or how I can help it?
<Physical trauma... just good care and nutrition>
Also, do you think this discoloration is permanent or there will be any scarring?
<Can't tell... likely not much scarring>
Thanks a lot for your time,
Nate Slocum
Sioux Falls, SD
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, San Diego, CA>

Re: Dry Sargassum Trigger 1/12/12
Hello again.
Thanks for getting back to me.
I wanted to give a quick update.
Tonight the darkened side scales/skin is all peeling off like a very bad sunburn. I'm very worried about an infection now that there's no slime coat and no scales to protect it.
<Not to worry... the skins of Balistids (& related Monacanthids... "Filefishes") used to be employed as "sand paper"... they're very tough.
Bob Fenner>

trigger disease 06/10/10
Dear sirs:
I've searched the web and your site and cannot find out what this disease is.
Is this Lymphocystis? It look like it might be.
<Does appear so>
The only problem is the fish has had this for 6 months and I thought it should go away in weeks. He doesn't have any other symptoms just these unsightly warts and strange bulge at base of dorsal fin. The warts appear to migrate from the lump and radiate out towards the edge of the fin and then disappear . They also pop out of the bulge and then disappear.
The tumor(?) varies in size as well as the # of cysts (warts).
If it's not Lymph what is it? None of my other fish show any signs of disease. How should I treat this?
Sincerely: Paul Clampitt
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/virdiscures.htm
and the linked files above... No "treatment" called for, necessary or advised. Bob Fenner>

Re: trigger disease
Thank you for such a quick response, you guy's are terrific.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

White Fuzzy Spots, Balistid dis. f' 12/04/09
Hi Guys! First I would like to thank you for all of your advice thus far.
My problem is this, I have a Niger Trigger that is about 3 1/2" long and she has these white fuzzy spots on her tail. I have tried just about everything and I cannot get them to go away and was hoping that you would have a suggestion.
<Mmm, yes. Just to ignore them. These may be some sort of embedded organism, but could be "repair" marks from bend/breaks in the fin rays, other "normal" markings. At any length, not likely as deleterious as "treating", nor communicable to other livestock>
I have tried malachite green/ formalin, Maracyn plus, hyposalinity with high temperature, freshwater dips, and copper. Nothing works. She is eating well and has beautiful coloration other than these fuzzy spots.
She eats mysis shrimp, formula one frozen, formula two pellets, squid, fish, octopus, and shrimp (stuffed with seaweed).
They aren't ich and I thought maybe it was a fungus but nothing works. She is currently in my 36 gallon hospital tank with a salinity of 1.018 and 0 nitrates, nitrites, or ammonia. The pH is at 8.2. Temperature is 78. My display tank looks awfully empty without her in it! It is a 125 gallon with a snowflake eel and two blue yellowtail damsels. Any suggestions?
<Return this fish to the main/display. Bob Fenner>
Re: White Fuzzy Spots
Thanks for the fast reply, I am so glad to hear that she is ok and doesn't have some weird untreatable fungus. Will these spots eventually go away or will she always have them?
<Will very likely "go" with time. Do try searching WWM (see the link on the left shared border on every page), with the terms: "trigger markings", and read the cached views. Cheers, BobF>

Fin Rot and Cloudy Eyes 10/5/09
Hi Bob.
<Hey Eugene, JustinN with you in Bob's place tonight!>
I hope all is well with you.
<All fine here, thanks -- hope the same for you!>
I have a question. About 4 months ago I purchased a large (7-8") Pinktail trigger online. The trigger looked like it had parasites (it had cloudy eyes and fin rot). I kept it in my QT, treated it with copper and freshwater dipped it every few days. In a few weeks he was as good as new.
After the symptoms were clear, I kept him in the QT for 3 more weeks before placing him in my display tank.
<A textbook quarantine regimen, as all good aquarists should follow.>
About 2 weeks ago, I noticed his eyes were a little cloudy. Unfortunately I had a vacation planned and couldn't really do anything about it.
<Understandable, it happens -- life is unavoidable ;)>
After returning from vacation last week, I noticed the trigger had severe fin rot (half of the fins were missing). The remaining fins were white (as opposed to clear) and the eyes were cloudy. There were even cuts under his eyes (like open sores). I removed him to the QT, but he died the next day.
<Ouch, I'm sorry to hear this.>
Anyway, one of my other triggers (a 4" Bluethroat) is also developing similar symptoms (albeit slowly). His eyes are slightly cloudy and fins are beginning to rot.
<Does sound like identical symptoms..>
I have a custom 420 gallon tank. The tankmates include a Yellow Tang, Rectangular Trigger, Green Bird Wrasse, Bluehead Wrasse, Harlequin Tusk and several damsels; all are between 4 and 7 inches. Nobody was picking on the deceased Pinktail - he was the largest and most aggressive fish in the tank, and nobody is picking on the Bluethroat.
<Both typically 'hold their own' -- no surprises here."
Ammonia and Nitrite are at 0. Nitrate is under 5ppm. PH is at 8.4.
<Sounds ideal.>
I highly doubt that this is a water quality problem.
Do you think it is parasites?
<Or another spreadable malady, yes.>
Should I QT the Bluethroat? What is the best medication that you recommend?
<Quarantine -- absolutely. Since you've already seen what can happen with a delay in treatment, I would attempt to head off problems sooner -- if it is parasitic, the sooner you remove the better. Have a look here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/infectio.htm  -JustinN>
Thanks in advance,

Unknown sickness (pink tail trigger)... env. 12/9/08 Wet Web Crew, <Brian> I setup a traditional 90 gallon tank with about 100 lbs of live rock and another 100 lbs of live sand about two months ago. Two weeks ago I bought a pink tail trigger that has since come down with some sort of sickness that I cant seem to identify. <Mmmm> I have attached a picture, but it looks like there are patches where he is losing his scales and irritations around its right eye. <I see this> Whatever is wrong does not seem to be bothering him. There is no scratching, he eats as much as i feed him (raw shrimp since I've bought him), <Good> and doesn't seem unhappy in any way. I have been thinking of treating this with hyposalinity, <I would not do this> but I'm not 100% on what this sickness is... I was thinking it was ich, <Mmm, no> but there are not any white spots that resemble sugar or salt like on other pictures I have found on the net. The spots that you see in the picture are spots where a random scale is missing outside of the main areas. For extra filtration the tank has a sump with a EuroReef RS 80 and a 16w UV. The water parameters are zeroed for everything except nitrates which are around 40ppm. <Much too high... need to be fixed... kept under 20 ppm. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above> Thanks in advance for any help, Brian <This specimen is "beat", and much too thin... the white blemish on the upper left flank is from its capture, handling (a thumb print if you will)... your other photo shows how poorly fleshed this animal is... and the white pus-like markings are simply mucus being produced in excess from neuromasts et al... As you state this organism is eating and acting fine, it will very likely improve with your good care... Fix the nitrates, keep feeding it well... perhaps supplement with soaking foods in a HUFA, vitamin mix (e.g. Selcon), and all should be fine. Bob Fenner>

Blue Niger Trigger glancing and rubbing itself-white spot on eye. 11/4/08 Hey guys, please help me! I have a Blue Niger Trigger that was purchased and introduced to my home tank about 2 weeks ago with a Dragon Wrasse as well-both came from the same tank in the pet store. All tank conditions checked out, but the dragon wrasse died of a bladder infection 4 days after being introduced and was removed right away, I'm positive the wrasse had the issue before it's introduction. <Were these in quarantine at all?> The Trigger seemed fine and active, after the loss of the dragon wrasse I introduced a lunar wrasse, angler fish, and humu trigger 2 days after the dragon died. <Whoa, too much, too fast unless you have a massive tank.> The Niger Trigger, and all others have gotten along fine, except for the Niger Trigger and Lunar Wrasse mixing it up a little during feedings. A week ago I noticed a white spot form on the top part of the Niger Trigger's eye, and a similar one on his tail. He continues to feed well and stay active, but I catch him rubbing and glancing live rock every once in awhile-not continuous by any means, but daily for sure around his spotted eye area. The Niger Trigger has no other spots or sores of any kind, and the spots haven't multiplied or showed up on the rest of his body. I was thinking about trying the garlic remedy, due to none of the other fish showing any illness I'm reluctant to treat the water harshly or the overall tank. <Any treatment should be in a quarantine tank anyhow.> Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Last but not least, due you think the sick Dragon Wrasse had anything to due with the Niger Trigger's issue? <Possibly, did they show any of the same signs?> Please let me know you got this with a response to my e-mail and I will update you on the situation. <Hard to say without a picture, do read through the disease FAQs on WWM. Between so many large fish so fast, the fish showing no other signs and the trigger/wrasse mixing it up, this is very likely environmental.> Thanks, Ole. <Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Blue Niger Trigger glancing and rubbing itself-white spot on eye. 11/4/08
Thanks for the quick response! <Very welcome!> Since I e-mailed in, The Blue Trigger has stopped rubbing and lost both of the white spots. <Great!> Things have calmed down between the Blue Trigger and Lunar Wrasse as well. I'm keeping a close eye on everyone and so far so good. I didn't have the luxury of a quarantine tank, and didn't realize the stress factors created by to many fish at once. <Do consider investment it a QT, even 20-30 gallons can serve well as fish are introduced.> I will take both factors in consideration for future dealings with my tank and it's occupants. <Ahhh, good.> Thanks for the info, Ole. <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.
Re: Blue Niger Trigger Pop-Eye 11/10/08
Hey Scott, don't want to become a question pest but you have been a real help with my fish issues, and I have to take it back to my Blue Niger Trigger! <Okay.> His eye had cleared up and all spots had cleared on the rest of his body. Well he now has the same eye clouded over lightly and the eye is slightly raised-the rest of his body is perfectly healthy. I'm supposing this is a form of Bubble Eye? <Pop-Eye, yes.> Maybe caused from the previous scrapping he was doing? <Very most likely this, general water quality, or the wrasse again.> Most reports said he would clear up by himself as long as water conditions were maintained well-do you agree? <It typically will.> All other fish-Angler, Lunar Wrasse, and Humu Trigger are active and healthy-they all get along in general except the Lunar and Blue Trigger still get into it sometimes during feeding, is this an issue I should concern myself about further? <It very well could be the source of the trauma. Do they get along fine when not feeding?> As always, Thanks for any advice given! Ole. <Welcome, sounds like you have read on the condition here. Scott V.>
Re: Blue Niger Trigger Pop-Eye 11/10/08
Well, I feel like the boy who cries wolf! <Heee, we all have those times, up and down.> My water quality checked out excellent today, and the Blue Trigger's eye has almost cleared up completely and the raising went down-he does have some fraying on his back tail fin and a new scratch by it as well-I'm sure due to him and the Wrasse having it out at feeding time. <No doubt.> The two only seem to tangle at feeding, when no food is present they don't seem to even pay attention to each other at all. <At least when you are looking!> I plan on keeping my eye on them, and if one has to go, it will be the Lunar Wrasse! Although The Lunar is incredibly active and fun, got more love towards my Blue Trigger in this case. Thanks again for all the help Scott, Ole. <Welcome my friend. Scott V.>
Re: Blue Niger Trigger glancing and rubbing itself-white spot on eye. 3/26/09

Hi Scott, it's been awhile since I checked in, that's been a good thing though.
<Ha, yes, if it's not broke....>
My saltwater tank has been doing well and staying problem free until recently. Sadly enough I'm dealing with my Blue Niger Trigger again.
Recently he's started glancing himself again the last couple of days, but there is no sign of Ich that I can tell of and I trust my eye on that one. What else do you think my cause him to glance?
<I was just discussing this with Bob, his question is if anything is being added to the water that may be irritating this fish? Even something as innocent as a dechlorinator can cause irritation.>
All the tank mates have gotten along for months now, and I've kept up with monthly water changes and level checks. All seems good and no other fish are acting up or show any signs of infections or illness.
Back to my Blue Trigger, when I caught glancing last time and I reached out to you his problems cleared up and he was back to normal. I guess I don't want to over react to the situation if cases of glancing are a fish's natural way of cleaning off pests, but of course I don't want to let it go when I could have helped a situation early on. His eyes and tails are completely clear and clean, besides a little roughing here and there on his skin from the glancing, he seems very healthy appetite is strong.
Any advice would be appreciated as always, I call my Trigger "old blue" and by far he is my favorite fish, I would hate to lose him!
<Without any other symptoms it is just wait and see...unless you can pin down some source of external irritation.>
A side question for you, I heard of this being done but highly unrecomended, housing an Undulated Trigger with tankmates (other Triggers,
Puffers, and Wrasses)?
<Well I think you answered your own question there! These are bad dudes....even in a large tank.>
Thanks as always, Ole.
<Welcome Ole.>
Re: Blue Niger Trigger glancing and rubbing itself-white spot on eye - update! 4/14/09

Hi Scott V.,
<Hello Ole.>
Update on my tank is all good. My Blue N. Trigger is healthy and glances every once in awhile, but I think it's just natural and not because he's trying to ward off anything. Frogfish still has no bobber but is
eating just fine. Dragon Wrasse blotches in skin are healing up nicely and natural pigment has returned to the skin in those areas-I think it was a case of getting roughed up when he went hiding during the water change/tank clean.
<Sounds good!>
Until next time my friend, Ole.
<For sure, have a good one.>

Trigger with an eye problem! 11/1/08 I forgot to mention that he occasionally (I've seen it 5 or 6 times over the last 3 days) appears to be trying to rub his eye against the rocks - which of course, scares me to death. <The damage to the outside of the eye (the cornea) appears textured and to me seems to reflect physical damage rather than an infection inside the eyeball. So that said, I'd assume this is the early stage of an infection working its way from the outside in, and would be best treated with a suitable antibiotic, Maracyn and/or Maracyn 2, with the fish isolated in a quarantine tank. The "rubbing" behaviour you are seeing is probably more about irritation than anything else. Because only one eye is infected, I don't think water quality is the thing, and so a systematic bacterial infection inside the fish isn't the issue. This is often the case where both eyes become swollen. Hence I'd recommend providing the fish with good water quality and waiting for the fish to heal itself. Triggers are pretty tough, and all else being equal he should pull through. The infection doesn't look too severe, so I think you stand an excellent chance of seeing a full recovery. In the meantime, do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Popeyetrauma.htm  Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Trigger with an eye problem! 11/1/08 Thank you so much! <Most welcome.> Do you think that the moving white spot might be some type of infected tissue/fluid, <Any white stuff on the cornea is likely necrotic (i.e., dead or dying) tissue that stops being transparent. Loose, dead tissue may flap about, but otherwise you shouldn't see patches of white stuff actually moving about inside the eye. This being the case, provided you treat the fish appropriately and maintain good conditions, you *should* see things begin to get better, though full repair may take several weeks, if not months.> and do you think that I should attempt a freshwater dip (if I can get some Methylene blue) prior to placing him in the hospital tank? <I don't think a freshwater dip would help much here. We're talking about a bacterial rather than parasitic infection, and bacteria tend to be just as resistant to hyposalinity as fish. So you're unlikely to get much benefit. Optimal water quality, a nice balanced diet, perhaps use of vitamins to speed up healing, all these things will be more useful. Bob Fenner often advocates leaving fish with this type of injury in the main tank rather than a hospital tank, presumably to minimize stress and avoid further damage while catching the little chap. Antibiotics should cause problems in fish-only systems where one normally keeps a triggerfish, so this may be a viable approach in your case as well. Cheers, Neale.>

RE: Trigger with an eye problem! 11/2/08 Neale - I'm sorry to be so stupid about this but I'm still a bit confused. Do you feel as though I should leave him in the display tank and not treat with antibiotics and let him heal on his own, or should I move him and treat with Maracyn 2? <Ah, what I was saying was that I'd remove and treat him, but looking over Bob's replies to similar issues, he seems to advocate leaving the fish in a well-maintained tank to heal naturally. Bob's by far the more experienced marine aquarist than me, so you might decide to leave the fish in its home for now, and observe for the next week or two, to see how things progress. But if you want to pull the fish out, and can do so safely, and then maintain him for some weeks in a hospital tank, that won't do any harm at all.> I have 75lbs of live rock in the tank with lots of life on it so I don't think that I can treat him in the display. <Agreed.> He's eating well and acting fine, but the eye seems to be more cloudy this evening. Again, apologies for being dim. <If this was my fish, I'd be treating him with a suitable antibiotic; if that isn't viable in your tank because of the live rock, then I'd move him to a hospital tank. Certainly won't do any harm to move him and treat him. Cheers, Neale.>

RE: Trigger with an eye problem! 11/02/08 Neale - I'm sorry to be so stupid about this but I'm still a bit confused. Do you feel as though I should leave him in the display tank and not treat with antibiotics and let him heal on his own, or should I move him and treat with Maracyn 2? <Ah, what I was saying was that I'd remove and treat him, but looking over Bob's replies to similar issues, he seems to advocate leaving the fish in a well-maintained tank to heal naturally. Bob's by far the more experienced marine aquarist than me, so you might decide to leave the fish in its home for now, and observe for the next week or two, to see how things progress. But if you want to pull the fish out, and can do so safely, and then maintain him for some weeks in a hospital tank, that won't do any harm at all.> I have 75lbs of live rock in the tank with lots of life on it so I don't think that I can treat him in the display. <Agreed.> He's eating well and acting fine, but the eye seems to be more cloudy this evening. Again, apologies for being dim. <If this was my fish, I'd be treating him with a suitable antibiotic; if that isn't viable in your tank because of the live rock, then I'd move him to a hospital tank. Certainly won't do any harm to move him and treat him. Cheers, Neale.> <<I do agree with Neale. Eye trouble is very often physical trauma, but combined with the facts the fish is scratching and the eye is getting worse, I would definitely remove and treat. As Neale said, it won't hurt. Scott V.>>

RE: Trigger with an eye problem! (Scott, Sara: any thoughts?) 11/10/08 Hi All - I just wanted to drop a quick line and thank you all for your help. My trigger's eye has healed beautifully and his fin (from the run-in with the crab) is healing very well. I'm amazed at how quickly it seems to be repairing itself. He's eating like a pig and just doing great. Thank you again for all your help. Karen <Hello Karen, I'm so pleased your trigger is on the mend! These are remarkably tough animals, and I have every confidence in your care and attention. I'm sure he'll be 100% better in no time at all. Good luck to you both! Neale.>

Re: Trigger with an eye problem! (Scott, Sara: any thoughts?) 11/11/08 Thanks for your vote of confidence Neale! I'm changing the trigger's name from Crusoe to Flipper! This morning as I fed him, he did the dolphin trick of coming about halfway out of the water and swimming backwards - then he spit at me! He's a cheeky little monkey - but by far my favorite. Thanks again for all your help. Karen <Hello Karen. Does sound like your Trigger is well on the way to full health. These fish are amongst my favorites, and despite being a bit on the temperamental side, they are very smart and entertaining animals. The spitting, incidentally, is a natural trait. In the wild they use this to blow sand away from buried prey, and sometimes blow spiny animals (like sea urchins) over so that they can attack them from underneath. In other words, what you're seeing is "behavioral plasticity", something biologists associate with intelligence in animals. Most animals have a variety of behaviors, but plastic behaviors can be adapted from what they evolved to do into some new situation. Dogs use their pack behaviors to bond and hunt with humans. Your triggerfish is using his blowing water behaviour to interact with you, presumably because you're the source of food. Enjoy your pet, Neale.>

A case of rehoming Bluechin triggers.., avoiding Crypt 6/30/08 Evening all :D <Carolyn> Am sure this question must appear somewhere on WWM but I can't find it for love nor money, so hope you don't mind me asking it :) <Please go ahead> I'm (hopefully) rehoming a pair of Bluechin triggers (male and female) however the current owner has recently had ich. I'm still keen to take the animals now they are on the mend (he says only a few spots left) however they will be popped straight into my hospital tank on arrival. Now then.. 1. given that the animals will be stressed from the move, should I still freshwater dip them before they go in the treatment tank? <Yes, I would... with formalin, aeration...> 2. are triggers ok with copper treatments so long as the instructions are meticulously followed? <Yes> 3. OR would it be better l (i.e. less stressful) leaving the animals without copper for a few weeks and see if they are indeed over the ich, treating if any signs occur? <Up to you... if they appear healthy, I might skip the copper, go with simple observation for now> They will, ultimately, be going into my 5ft tank upgrade once they're done in QT but I'm terrified of introducing ich :o Any advice on how best to ensure this hated parasite never makes it past QT would be greatly appreciated. Thanks as always, Carolyn <As often welcome. Bob Fenner>

Help!! Re: Trigger hlth. 6/4/08 Hey guys I emailed you a while ago about a trigger that was hiding constantly. Well I have good news and bad news. I sighted him but that's about the extent of the good news. His fins are majorly tattered, his trigger looks like it's broken in half and the weirdest thing of all-his teeth are gone. And when he exhales it looks like there are flukes or something attached to his gills. <Not good> They are stringy things that come out of his mouth. Maybe they're dead skin or something? <Mmm, worse than this. Reads as if your trigger was imported with some serious parasite fauna> The other fish have no sign of disease at all. <Many worms, crustaceans are pretty species, genera, family specific...> I think maybe that tiger cowry I had caused an avalanche and locked him in a pocket in the live rock <Oh!?> and I'm afraid I might lose him. Is there anything I can do? <Good care...> I've tried feeding him and target feeding him. I even tried the garlic trick and nothing seems to work. Any help? And for future reference could you guys provide any insight as to why he's lost his teeth? <Physical damage... trying to get out of the aforestated avalanche?> I thought he would have tried maybe to eat the live rock cause he's starving or something. Anyways thanks a lot Mat <Balistids are tough animals. I do hope yours rallies. Don't give up here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help!! Reading... Re: Trigger hlth. 6/5/08
Hey thanks a lot for you input for my trigger. How would you get him to eat though? <Proffer favored foods... perhaps soaked in vitamin/HUFA supplement, garlic... posted on WWM> I mean he has no teeth. I put him in my refugium because there's lots for him to eat in there and it's warm. Also I spotted a bristle worm in my tank the other day. Good or bad? Thanks Mat <Also posted... RMF>

Trigger fish swim bladder issue? 5/28/2008I have a black triggerfish (over 10 yrs old) <A good long time for a Melichthys niger in captivity> who is suddenly not swimming correctly. He appears to have lost his equilibrium and has stopped eating. <Bad signs> I moved him to a 10 gallon hospital tank. It has been two days and he is still breathing rapidly. I don't see any external parasites or injuries. The moray eel did bite him on the nose yesterday, but I don't think that did any real damage (they have been doing that for years). I testing the chemicals in the main 90 gallon tank and found no elevated parameters. <... may be that there are chemicals present that there are no tests for...> I have a protein skimmer (which hardly ever even collects anything) as the tank is very empty. I have two black/white damsels, the moray and the trigger. No live rock. <I would have some> Yesterday I bought 2 more damsels, and 4 green Chromis. The trigger was hiding in the rocks when the new fish were introduced. A bit odd on his normal behavior. I don't think the new fish had anything to do with it. I have the trigger propped up against some coral in the hospital tank and it also has an airstone and powerhead going. Any suggestions? Thanks! ps. I also did change out the filter sock in the 90 gallon yesterday am. I soaked it in fresh water with some bleach but then soaked it and rinsed it well before putting back in that tank. Other than that - nothing has changed. <Perhaps there is something in the way of senescence going on here (old age... cumulative genetic defect), maybe a nutritional deficiency effect... If I had another system up and going I might try moving the Trigger there. Otherwise the offering of favorite foods... with a vitamin/HUFA supplement soaking ahead of time. Bob Fenner>
Re: trigger fish swim bladder issue? 6/1/08
Thanks! I put him back in the 90 gallon tank on Sunday and by Monday he started swimming a bit. By Tuesday he was back to eating and by Wednesday he was acting territorial like his Old Self and was picking on the new fish. I guess we are now back to normal! How weird. Guess I didn't realize how much I like the old bugger till he decided to try and die on me!!! <Ahh! Thank you for this update. RMF>

Trigger scratching 4/3/08 Hi, <Hello> I recently realized I was testing for nitrates incorrectly (shaking a test tube instead of a bottle). When I did the test right I found that my nitrates were really high. I did two 50% water changes over the space of two weeks to get my nitrates down to 25 ppm. My pH is good, ammonia and nitrites zero. About a week after the last water change my Picasso Trigger started scratching himself on the sand and rocks. Once I saw him shake back and forth and dart around like he's agitated. I can't see any visible spots on him and he still has a healthy appetite. <Good sign> My Maroon Clowns seem to be o.k. Could this be early stages of ich or is it possibly a stress reaction from having the water quality change so drastically so quickly? <Could be either really, but I would guess the water changes are the cause.> I did have an ich breakout a year ago (visible white spots) that I was able to contain and I have seen no signs since. I'm hesitant to jump into a medical treatment because it will probably just stress him out more. <I would not treat at this point.> I will be taking the Trigger back to my LFS in a few weeks because I am upgrading my tank and I will need to cycle it before stocking (I don't want to start off stocking my new tank with aggressive fish). <Good> I don't want to take back a sick fish, do you think I should treat him with copper or something? <I would not unless more specific symptoms occur.> My last question is about cycling the new tank. I plan on keeping my current 55 gal. tank as a quarantine tank and I was planning on cycling the new 125 gal. tank with the live rock and some of the live sand from the 55. Do you think this is wise considering I've had an ich breakout before and a fish that might have ich now? <If you give the tank 4 to 6 weeks to cycle without fish this should take care of any Ich that may be present.> Should I cycle the 125 tank from scratch and clean out the 55 with bleach and cycle it again before use as a quarantine tank? <Could, but seems drastic to me.> Thanks in advance, Brendon <Welcome> <Chris>

Triggerfish pimple? 2/25/08 I have a 3 inch Picasso trigger. He has a small reddish spot on his side that looks like a pimple. Picture does not show but the spot is raised. <Mmm, looks to be an infected area... likely resultant from a mechanical injury...> 125 gallon FOWLR tank with good parameters except PH seems to be 7.9. <... this is actually way low... the "scale" for pH is an inverse of base 10 (logarithm)... If your pay/income were this much reduced, you'd be howling! Fix this and you'll likely save your Trigger. You can read re on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks
Lynn Callaghan

QT size for Triggerfish 01/09/2008 Dear Crew: <<Hello, Andrew here>> In your opinion, is a 14 gallon BioCube large enough to quarantine a 2 inch Sargassum Triggerfish for 6 to 8 weeks assuming excellent water quality and maintenance? It's up and running with some modifications and improvements over the stock set up, but still empty, so it would be quite convenient if large enough. Thanks for any information in advance! <<Yes, as the fish is still very small at this point, just keep good maintenance on the tank>> Michele <<Thanks for the question, A Nixon>>

Re: QT size 01/18/2008 Andrew, (or who ever gets this reply) <<Hello, Andrew here>> Thanks for the QT info. We went ahead and ordered the Sargassum triggerfish from Blue Zoo and it arrived today. Our 2 inch trigger is a.... gulp..... 4 inch trigger! Do you still think we might be okay for a two month quarantine in a 14 gallon BioCube? The QT has to be at least two months to allow us time to finish some plumbing on the 240 gallon display tank. We have about eight to ten pounds of live rock for biofiltration and hiding places and no substrate. <<well tended and water parameters held excellent, yes, will be fine, maybe conceder a larger QT in the future if purchasing larger fish>> I know everyplace says no live rock in a QT, but I couldn't figure out why it would matter as long as I realize that I will lose the rock if I have to treat with any meds. <<Live rock and substrate are not desirable in a QT tank it provides places to harbour parasites which can then be passed on to other newly quarantined fish, and yes, if you use meds, it will mostly kill off the live rock>> I plan on changing about 10% -20% of the water twice a week unless water tests/levels dictate more often. <<This is good>> This is our first time ordering a fish online instead of using the LFS, so we've been a bit nervous. We did a 1 1/2 hour acclimation and left him/her in dim lights today. The plan was normal lights tomorrow and offer a chopped silverside for a first feeding. S/he is a gorgeous fish.......checked out the tank and then hung out in a little cave in the rock. Thanks again for any information! <<These are such a beautiful fish indeed, great personalities, I wish you all success with your new friend. Michele <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Re: QT size 01/30/2008 Andrew, (or who ever gets this reply), <<Hello Michelle, Andrew here>> I'm bothering you about the Sargassum triggerfish in QT again! I apologize ahead of time if this is really stupid, but I wanted your opinion. <<No need to apologise>> As a reminder, I have a four inch Sargassum triggerfish in QT in a 14 gallon BioCube. As expected, water quality is difficult. We are finishing the second week of QT and I do 20% water changes every 2 to 3 days. The nitrate stays between 5 and 10 ppm. Ammonia and nitrite are zero. <<Sounds good, always good to keep on top of them>> Our goal was to leave the fish in the BioCube for an additional 4 to 6 weeks after the end of QT until our 240 was ready for fish. I am starting to worry that this may be too stressful on the fish because of the small size of the aquarium and the nitrate levels. SOOO, the question...which is the least stressful on the triggerfish. 1: Spend the additional six weeks in the BioCube or 2: go in a very overstocked 100 gallon aquarium with a Naso tang, yellow tang, Rabbitfish, mandarin dragonette, and pair of Sebae clowns until the 240 gallon is ready? The tangs are all very peaceful, but the female clown can be a bit aggressive. Currently, the triggerfish is very active and eats flake and frozen seafood well. S/he does pace the top of the tank a lot...I'm not sure if this is begging for food or secondary to the small size and nitrate level. We have liverock in the QT (I know, it will be scrape if we treat), so the fish has hiding places and a small area to explore. If it makes a difference, at the end of the four week QT, we will connect the BioCube to a refugium with a four inch sandbed, six gallons of water (that's in addition to the sandbed and liverock) and Gracilaria. Thanks as always for your help! <<I would keep the fish in the quarantine tank, don't see a reason to add undue stress to the fish. As long as the water is kept very well, as your doing already, feeding a good diet, and add the extra refugium for filtration, it shall be fine>> <<Thanks for the update and questions. Good luck. A Nixon>>

Trigger sad, Poor Environment 1/29/08 Hello, <Hi> I searched through a lot of posts here and found similar problems, but not exact. I know it's small but this is in my office at work so I cant' go with a big tank. I have a 20 gallon high with about 20 pounds of live rock and a Picasso trigger a little less than 2 inches. <Doomed in this sized tank.> I run an Aquaclear 200, Red Sea Protein skimmer, Aquaclear 20 powerhead and 80 watts of lighting. The water tests fine and I do frequent changes. <"Fine" is relative, exact numbers next time please.> The tank is blooming with life, Copepods, Arthropods, Inverts of various types, Macro algae (came on the rock) which attests to the quality of the water. Ok that's out of the way. My Trigger was in the tank with to Damsel mates. Two weekends ago, I came in and observed the trigger acting skittish and hiding. The blue Damsel was acting like he took over the tank like the Alpha male. I assume they duked it out and the Trigger lost. <Probably, the damsels are very aggressive.> For a few days I observed his cowardliness and did some research and discovered that they must have had a tick. I placed the damsel in my quarantine tank and the Trigger came out of hiding soon after. The other damsel started to give him a hard time and he did they same thing. I removed the second damsel. <He is not healthy so he is low man in the pecking order.> Now he doesn't eat that I can see (food goes right past his face with no reaction) and doesn't swim around much at all. <Not good.> Mostly he sits in his hole, or wiggles slowly with his nose against the glass like he is sad now. His lack of eating is worrying me now since he was a hardy eater. I just bought a small tank raised Clown to put in there with him for company. <Also can be quite aggressive, are members of the damsel family.> I'm not worried if things don't turn out too good for the Clown. <Bad news for the clown.> What do you think might be his problem, and do you think he will die soon? <Yes, if kept in a 20 gallon tank he will not last long, it is just not a suitable environment for him and you are seeing it begin to take it toll.> Thanks in advance for your help. Keith <Welcome> <Chris>

Trigger, might be Crypt 01/22/2008 Here is a pic of a new Picasso Trigger. Few white spots have developed in last 3 days. Ich? Hopefully you can see Mike Callaghan <... Uhhh, is this all the message? You've read on WWM? Bob Fenner>

Mayday - Mayday - Trigger Down -11/18/07 Good morning Bob and Crew, <Mike from the GWN> First, thank you for your Daily posted FAQ's - always informative and helpful, even if they were not my questions. Before I get to the sad state of Sergeant Gas-em (you guessed it - my Sargassum) Here are the prerequisite details. Set-Up: 72gal. Bowfront with 80lbs. LR, approx. 2" Reef Sand, Hang-On Skimmer, Eheim Pro ll Canister Filter, 2 x Maxi-Jet 1200 Powerheads, Heater and 260W total of Actinics and 10,000s on timers. Corals: 2 Finger Leathers, a Gold Crown Leather (Toadstool?) <Sure> , 1 Glove Polyp, 1 Starburst Polyp, a Green Star Polyp, a Colt and a Frogspawn (oops! - Frogspawn is in a quiet corner) Inverts & Misc.: Sea Urchin, Serpent Star, 3 Nassarius Snails, 3 Trochus Snails, a small Conch, 2 Feather Dusters and some MIA Hermits, Fish: A 4" Purple Tang, a Coral Beauty, a Pixie Hawkfish, two 2" A.O. Clowns living in the Gold Crown, and a new 5" Sargassum Trigger (I am aware of the load here and already inquired as to size requirements for my new tank - due January - thank you for your advice on this) Water quality still testing well with 0's (nothing measurable) across the board for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. PH approx. 8.2. Temp approx. 78deg. SG 1.022 (down from 1.023 - will adjust) Regular top-ups with treated tap water. I must admit to having been less than disciplined with my weekly water changes of late, but everything still testing very well up to this morning. All fish with the exception of the Trigger (the latest addition) seem to be just fine - active, eating and showing no signs of any problems. My new Trigger - 3 weeks in Q/T eating Mysis went well - moved to display - ate Mysis and Spectrum Pellets well, always active and responsive, but seemed to lose weight - added Squid and Plankton (vitamin soaked) to diet - he ate all and still seemed to lose weight over a period of about one month. Note: I saw other Sargassums at the LFS from the same "collection", weeks later, that also seemed to be pinching in. <Not uncommon for the family... issues related to collection, handling stress... take time to re-gain weight, fitness> A week ago I found him hiding in the rock which was unusual for him - he is usually right at the front watching everything while I am in the room, at least. He ate very little. He was spending more and more time in the rock and I would nudge him to get him swimming and eating - would only swim for a short time and eat little to nothing. He has not eaten or been seen swimming for the last couple of days - hiding in the rock. From your Trigger Disease and Behaviour FAQ's, I learned that this "can be" a common and temporary occurrence for these fish and did not panic until I found him on his side on the sand this morning. My Purple Tang, although still quite small (and smaller than the Trigger), can be aggressive and is harassing him a little now that he is sick. I do not see any wounds at all but I witnessed some more aggressive behaviour from the Tang this morning so I decided it would be best to remove the Trigger from this environment with the hope that he might still have a chance to recover if left alone. When I placed him in Q/T with some vitamins in the water (I only had an established 10gal tank with sand and LR ready / good water quality - I felt it was an emergency) he swam around on the sand seemingly trying to right himself, and now he is nose down on the sand with his tail up against the glass. Still alive but motionless. Very sad. <Still... don't give up hope> I do not believe (although I can always be wrong) that the smaller Tang drove him to this. <Maybe...> The Trigger seemed to have the run of the tank and I never witnessed any real aggression from the Tang until the Trigger became unable to defend himself. Certainly seems more like an internal parasitic problem. <Also a very probable factor> Is there anything I can do for this other than to just watch and wait? As usual, any thoughts or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Mike from Canada <If you have another system, I'd move the trigger to it with some of the LR to make a cave of sorts... and hope. Bob Fenner>

Sick Clown Trigger, QT, Health 9/14/07 Hi guys i have a clown trigger question <Ok> I purchase my clown trigger from my LFS a week ago. When I brought him he had a white spot on he's fin i treated it with CopperSafe and it went away. <Will probably return without running the tank fallow, your system now has Ich. Appropriate QT procedures will avoid these types of problems.> But Now he hides under my live rock all day! <He is probably still infested with ich and not feeling well, added to this the new environment and tankmates.> He swims around only when i put some flakes out there and he see or smells them floating around then he starts eating them. After he's done he goes right back under the live rock and sits there like he's a hawk fish waiting for food. <Stress behavior, typical safety measure for triggers, which is how they got their name. Also flake food is not a very good staple for this fish.> Also my water temp is Night 88degress Day 92 <Wow, way too high, need to keep this in the low 80s at most and more consistent.> Nitrate a little bit <?> Nitrite 0 Alk 0 Ph 8.3 <Chris>

Filter Cleaning, actually trigger non-treatment 06/08/07 Hello, <Howdy> I have a 6 inch Black Hawaiian Trigger <Ah, Melichthys niger... very wide-ranging species...> with a small white dot right above his eye that looks pretty much like a pimple my LFS said it was probably fluke and I want to qt him a 10-gallon qt tank. <Nah and nah> Is the tank big enough if I keep pristine water conditions? Also how should I treat this? <All posted on WWM, however...> Thank you very much, Jared <I would NOT treat this fish, not move it... not. The spot is likely "nothing" pathogenic... will go of its own accord. Moving, exposing this specimen will be more harm, trouble than it's worth... Not necessary... Is this clear enough? Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Trigger 6/9/07
Ok I did the wrong thing and over reacted and moved him to the qt tank cause it looked like the trigger started to look like it was getting ich. <... if this were/is the case, the system has "it"... all fish livestock must need me moved, treated...> So now he is in the qt tank. Should I give him a freshwater bath and lower the salinity? Thanks for all your help. Also I live in Dallas, TX and I was wondering if you could help me find a respectable fish store in my area or maybe point me to a site that could help me. <Ask your local marine club for input here> Your sites help is priceless Jared <... then use it. Your answers are all archived... along with much related, needed info. Bob Fenner>

Sick triggers? need immediate assistance!!!!!! Env. dis. 4/15/07 Hi guys. I've been reading your site for months, and its THE BEST SITE FOR MARINE ENTHUSIASTS!!!! Keep up the great work. I have a quick question for you guys, I have a 125 gallon all fish aquarium. 1 Blue Throat trigger appx 4 in---- 1 niger trigger appx 4 in--- 1 Domino Damsel appx 1 in --- 2 blue damsels appx 1 in---1 damsel (black w/ electric blue stripe, I forgot the name) appx 1 in---1 Squirrel appx 4 in--- <Yikes... going to need more room> 1 silver fish I believe its Mono-something <Monodactylus...> which was originally a fresh water fish but is now a saltwater, it has 2 black stripes across the front and yellow going around the whole exterior of the rear, <Mmm, M. argenteus> appx 4.5 in. I check and maintain my water quality regularly. <Good> However, over the past week or so, I noticed that the fish weren't acting right. They're usually very lively and whenever I approach the tank they're waiting in the front I'm assuming for food. And my Huma trigger appx 3.5 in was acting really weird since he was up on top of the tank by the overflow and it looked like he was stuck but he wasn't. <Mmmm, triggers can be "real jokers"> He was doing that for two days and then he passed away about 4 days ago. Now my Blue throat trigger is doing the same. <Time to be checking water quality, changing water... maybe applying chemical filtration> he's up by the overflow basically stuck on the drainage holes of the overflow, except that he's not stuck because when I tried to move him, he turned himself upright. He's just there all calm and not moving, and it seems as if he's breathing a bit heavy. Oh yeah, and not to mention, my domino damsel was acting very lazy about a month ago not really wanting to go for food, and constantly fades to a whitish color. <Signs of stress....> I thought that he was getting stressed or abused by the other fish which I have not observed) so I separated him in a little area all to himself in the tank. I've had all of these fish for appx. 1 year with no new additions. Looking at the fish, I don't see any spots or signs of diseases. When I lost the Huma trigger, I did a very large water change, about 45 gallons just to bring down my nitrate level which always seems to hover around the 40-80 ppm, Id say its about 50ppm. <Much too high> My ammonia level is consistently 0-.25 ppm, <Needs to be, stay zip> somewhere in between. My nitrite level is always 0 ppm. and my high range ph is always at appx 8.2 . However after the water change, all the readings still remained the same, so I took out some bio balls from the sump, and went out to buy a skimmer just last night. <Moves in the right direction> I purchased a Coralife SuperSkimmer <... Proper nouns are capitalized> (I know you guys recommend an Aqua C however, I drove around all day and no one had them) <Etailers... Marine Depot is their master distributor> and over the course of the night, it took out a ton of waste, but my water levels are still all the same. Please help, I don't want to lose my Blue throat trigger, and he's not doing too well. What could be wrong with him? How can I help him? <Mmm, improve the environment...> Should I give him a freshwater bath? use copper? I'm lost. Is it the water quality that's getting them sick? <Yes> (the water has been the same quality throughout the year) How do I get my levels down? THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING MY LENGTHY EMAIL!! Sincerely Andrew <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm Bob Fenner>

SICK Huma Huma Trigger; research, patience 3/1/07 Hello, I really hope that you can help me. <Hello, and so do I. GrahamT with you today.> I purchased an established tank about 2.5 months ago. The tank is a 46 gallon bow front with 10 lbs of live rock. <Far less than useful. A *generalized* "rule of thumb" is 1:1 lbs/gallons. More is better...> The tank had a 2" yellow tang, a 3" yellow tang, a 4" Foxface and two damsels. <Too little room for these species, excepting the damsels.> It has a Penguin 250 filter, a Penguin 350 filter and a SeaClone 100 protein skimmer. <This protein skimmer is regularly touted as one of the frequently regretted purchases among hobbyists...> When we moved the tank we kept about 2/3 of the water. <Very good idea.> After setting up the tank we had the water tested and found out that it was extremely dirty (no detectable nitrite or ammonia, but over 200 ppm nitrate). <Wow! Could have a lot to do with stirring up the substrate, or even lack of water changes on the previous owner's part...> We proceeded to do 6 water changes in about a two week period bringing the nitrate down to 80 ppm. <Still very high, and likely stressing out your inhabitants.> After the last water change the smaller yellow tang died. <Mmm, what is your water source for the water changes?> The next day the larger yellow tang would not eat and was hiding. <Not a good sign...> A day later the large yellow tang died. <Oh, even worse.> The guys at the fish store told us it was probably due to the stress of moving them and all the water changes. <Mmm, would not disagree, but without knowing more about the mix you used for water changes...> I waited two weeks and then purchased a Huma Huma Trigger. <D'oh! Did the nitrates come down below 40ppm? Had the damsels seemed to look better? (I know they may have looked fine the whole time) I hope this purchase was based on better water conditions, and not JUST time gone by.> A week after that I purchased a Flame Angelfish. <I have to say, this sounds like someone wants to "fill" their tank, rather than stock with appropriate selections and care for them as appropriately. Patience and research is key to success in this hobby.> It has been two weeks since I introduced the Huma and now it has also stopped eating and is hiding. <This is very abnormal behaviour. Triggers are notorious for the voracity. Unless this is a very small specimen (under 1.5") then I suspect your water quality has gotten away from you again.> Could this be bacterial? <Anything is possible, but current water test results are necessary in assisting you.> I don't have a QT tank yet, do you have any suggestions on what I can do to save this fish? <Take some water tests. Consider upgrading the filtration and liverock compliment. Also, you didn't mention whether you employ live sand or bare-bottom.> Also, the Flame Angel has a white spot on her lip that has been there since I purchased her. <Hmm... you should NEVER buy a fish that shows symptoms of disease. Put a modest deposit on it and the LFS should be happy to keep it QT'd until it looks better.> The fish store said it was probably Lymphocystis and that it should go away on it's own. <Could, but proper nutrition and water conditions help more than time will.> However after a week it looks like it is just getting worse and she now has a cloudy eye and a frayed tail. <I think you need to get some test results and reflect on your purchases. You have to keep in mind that these animals depend on us and require us to know their needs, or else what is the point in keeping them? I used to work at a retail fish store and we regularly refused business from customers that we knew/suspected were buying fish over and over again only to kill them through ignorance/negligence and laziness. I will quote a phrase I use often: Many folks leave the marine hobby in failure due to their lack of understanding and its subsequent devastating consequences. Fish may be purchased with problems you don't see and aren't responsible for. My intention is not to place blame or to make you feel inadequate or inferior. Most of us have made this mistake, or worse ones. We all (hopefully) learn from our mistakes. I think that most of the crewers here at WWM will agree that they hope to prevent the unfortunate side-effects of improper selection and lack or research that they themselves (myself included) have caused. The information you need to be a successful hobbyist is out there (or here!) and you owe it to you and your fish to use it.> Foxface and damsels are still doing good. HELP PLEASE! <Use the Google search tool here for your Centropyge loriculus's symptoms, and you will be directed to a FAQ list of those symptoms. -GrahamT>
SICK Huma Huma Trigger; research, patience (pt.2) 3/2/07
Graham, <Hello again.> Thank you for your response. <You are welcome! Is what we do...> I really do want to keep these fish alive and I feel horrible that I was probably the cause of their death. <Woah! Don't be so quick to hate yourself here. You don't know what the water conditions were when you purchased the system. You may have practiced some patience, but in the end some of us need to make mistakes to know their consequences.> I did purchase "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" book when I first got the tank (before I added anything or did any water changes) and have read it cover to cover twice. <A good read, no doubt.> In the book it mentioned that there was no real proof that high nitrates caused fish any harm and that most "fish only" systems run at high rates. <This is true, there is no research into the mortality of captive species that are housed in systems with too high Nitrates. We do know, however, that the concentrations at sea are at or near zero and that this is the environment we try hard to reproduce. I would look at 40ppm as a "ceiling" for your FOWLR, with an occasional peak into the 50's or 60's. This doesn't mean that your fish won't be stressed about these levels, just that they might get to that point before a water change. The other end of the spectrum is where we work to keep the bio-load at a point where Nitrates are maintained below 15ppm for FOWLR. It is possible to do with well, regimented feeding and the addition of natural process (Refugium, DSB) that abate these toxins. (All laid out in "TCMA")> After seeing no visible signs of infection on the tangs (i.e., no reddening, color change, etc) after they died I assumed the guys at the fish store were correct by saying that they probably died due to the stress of moving them and all the water changes. <This is possible, but hard to confirm. Either way, I find myself wondering if you have some contaminant in your system. Have you looked over our link on toxic tank syndrome? ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm ) I ask because, though damsels are very very hardy, triggers are pretty tough in their own right.> This was the reason I purchased the Huma and flame <Flame angels are notoriously finicky about water conditions and stress easily. A much more tolerant cousin is the Coral Beauty (Centropyge bispinosa).> (I also did multiple water tests before purchasing these two fish and everything checked out fine, <Relative. Numbers, if you have them, are far more useful to me.> except the nitrates were still high) <D'oh!>. I have since taken the flame back to the fish store because I did not want her to get worse and die. <A tough decision on your part. I think the right one.> They are going to try to rehabilitate her. The Huma has gotten worse, so I purchased a hospital tank (10 gallon) filled it with water from my main tank and put the Huma in that tank to begin treatment for a bacterial infection. <What are his symptoms again? Other than not eating, I don't remember you mentioning any outward signs. > I does not look like he is going to make it. <Have you considered treating with Lifeguard marketed by Instant Ocean? ( http://www.jlaquatics.com/phpstore/store_pages/details/medicine.php?product_ID=md-aslg016) I mention it because it's a broad spectrum and rather gentle treatment. Unfortunately, it is new enough that I don't have experience with it, and there have been only a few blurbs that I've read lately on it's use. On the good side, it seems very promising!> Two questions: 1. I don't plan on purchasing anymore fish for a VERY long time, but if the Huma lives I need to know if it will be too crowded for him.... My 46 gallon tank now has a Foxface (4") and two damsels (1"). I am planning on upgrading to a 125 galloon tank next year. <If you are sure about the timing of the 125-gallon, then you should be ok. Wait! You never mentioned how big he is! Under 4 inches, he'd be ok for a year or so. > How many fish could I keep HEALTHY in my 46 gallon tank for the next year? <For clarification: You have two damsels and a Foxface? With these inhabitants, and the trigger, you are well (if not over) stocked.> Could I add the Huma back in or should I try to upgrade to the 125 gallon now? <Would wait for a change in behaviour from the trigger. You have moved him around quite a bit in the past few weeks. That reminds me: did you ask whether the trigger was caught or tank-raised?> 2. What can I do to get the nitrates down? <Well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratennr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/denitrification_erfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/no3probfaqs.htm ...would help you gain an understanding of the various opinions and techniques regarding nitrates and the exportation/conversion.> (I use tap water for water changes and condition it with PRIME and add CYCLE. Salt used is CORAL LIFE) <Mmm... do you test your water before and after mixing? It is possible that you have some unknown metals or other contaminants in your tap water. I would consider trying to eliminate that area of possible contamination by purchasing a small, effective De-ionizer http://www.aquariumguys.com/tapwaterfilter.html . If you can afford the up-front, then you could try an RO, but I like the DI for it's low initial cost and you can set it aside guilt-free if your tap water is actually fine after buffering. As far as Prime and Cycle go, I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve by their use in this instance. Prime is a dechlorinator/ammonia reducer, and useful in cleaning up (to some degree) tapwater before using in a freshwater setup. You may find it makes you feel better about using tapwater, but I think you should invest in a better form of treatment here. Cycle, IMO, is not worth trying, and I'm not sure what you are hoping for in it's use. If you are medicating with anti-bacterials in a QT then you will be killing off your nitrifying population, adding them back is not how you counteract this, but with water changes. Frequent water changes. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bestquarfaqs.htm > I have done about 10 - 20% water changes in the past 2 months and they have gone down from 200ppm to between 80 and 60 ppm but have not budged from the high 80-60ppm. <See above.> 3. If the Huma lives how long should I keep him in the hospital tank before moving him back to the main tank? <No less than 4 weeks, but preferably 6-8. You don't even know what he has, so premature introduction to the display system may be, well, premature.> Also, is there something more I can do for him besides treating him? <Keep his environs pristine.> I am currently using a broad spectrum anti-biotic because we have no idea what is wrong with him (no color change, no spots) <See if you can entice him to eat live brine. Maybe he's just too soon from the wild?> Thanks again....I am still learning and I just don't want to be the cause of anymore death. <A worthy cause. I applaud you for trying and for pledging to be a saviour to your buddies. Spend some time reading here on WWM and you may find something that jumps out at you. In the meantime, provide excellent water quality, nutrition, low stress levels and keep testing. -GrahamT>

Stupid trigger? Mmm, no, but going blind... from? 2/25/07 Hello, <Kwon> Thanks for all the wonderful info on your site. They're really helpful. But I can't seem to find info on my problem. I have a 3" clown trigger in a fish only 55 gal tank with 50lb live rocks. <Mmm, you know this fish needs more room... can/will likely become a terror...> I have him for about 8 month now. Lately, I've notice that during feeding, he charges towards the sinking food and miss it. He has no problem picking them off the floor. He also bumps into the rocks a lot. Is there something wrong with his eye sight? I see no physical damage on his eye nor body. <There is likely a nutritional deficiency at play here... though the source of the problem could be (smaller likelihood) an internal (eye) parasite... or even less likely, a psychological result from the crowding...> He just survived an ick attack about 4 month ago. Could that have damaged something? <Mmm, yes... depending on how the fish/system was treated... it may have been neurologically poisoned. Bob Fenner> Please advise. Thanks. Kwon.

Sick triggerfish 2/13/07 Hi. I have a 55 gal saltwater fish only tank. <Too small a space for a Balistid...> pH, salinity, nitrates and ammonia are all fine. <What's fine mean?> Niger Trigger is 3-4 inches long and I have had him about 1 year. He is usually fairly shy and hides whenever I clean the tank. <Typical behavior, eh?> I cleaned the tank a week ago and he went into his shell as usual. Sometimes he will stay there for hours. Once I did not see him come out for 3-4 days. I was worried about him then but he finally came out and seemed fine. Today he finally came out of the shell (7 days). He never ate during this time and now he is propped up against some coral. <Yikes... maybe got stuck...> I actually thought he was dead but then I noticed his eyes looking around. His color and fins look fine but yet he sits there at a 45 degree angle and does not move. I think he is fairly sick b/c he usually is swimming whenever he is out of his shell and he usually swims away from me when I get up against the tank. Any ideas? Chris <Where, when in doubt, a water change... and a trial with live food... maybe some ghost shrimp... Try elevating your water temperature a few degrees F.. Do you use supplements? I would try them here... See WWM re. Bob Fenner>

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 QTd 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>>

Huma Huma help 1/2/07 hello. <Hello, Graham here.> I have had a catastrophe... and want to help save my last fish... I purchased some turbo snails from the local pet store and after introducing them to my 75 gallon tank all my fish started scratching. I added Sea Cure and that was the end of my marine life. I lost 2 clown 2 damsel 1 yellow tang and my emperor angel.. now my trigger is left but he is still scratching away at his side. he has his whole belly red and flakey now. what can I do ? My tank was all zeros for no2, no3 and ammonia and a ph of 8.0-8.2.... I now have him out of the tank and in a quarantine.. he seems to be fine but he is scratching his skin really bad...I an dosing him with sea cure BTW. <Very hard to diagnose a problem like this when you can't see it. Send a high-resolution .JPG that has been either compressed in an image editor or to a .ZIP file. (Make sure the file is no bigger than 500k, but preferably under 100k) If you cannot send a pic, I recommend you try to work out an identification from our FAQs using the search tool.> Thanks Josh <Welcome.> <P.S. Bob F. : Please jump in if you see a red flag I'm missing! -Graham> <<Mmm... copper poisoning... removing the copper, hope, time going by... RMF>>

Sick Trigger - 10/21/2006 I have a Bursa who I have had for about 4 months now in a 55, With only a small puffer now. All levels are fine. <I really hate this word fine when it describes levels. I don't have a clue that what is fine for you is fine for me. I prefer no ammonia, no nitrites, no nitrates. Is that your description of fine? The reason I ask, is that I've seen what's happening to your fish with problems of ammonia burn and ph problems as well. Could that be what's happening in the tank?? About 3 weeks ago I bout a Dwarf lion who I did not quarantine. After about one week the Lion jumped out of tank and died while I was at work (forgot to close lid). The about two day later my I found my Niger Trigger under my live rock almost dead with his skin coming off. Quickly I quarantined him and treaded with Quick cure which I had around but he died within the hour. I put my bursa in quarantine then and treated just in case for 3 days and he seamed fine. So I returned him. Then about 3 days later which is now he has all his skin coming off and I can almost see blood threw his skin. The puffer can't see at all now and just started running into walls. I know this is a long e-mail but I really need help I don't think I have much time. <This could be some type of bacterial infection. I thought quick cure was for ick? I would suggest a broad spectrum antibiotic into the tank although you don't mention if you have corals mixed in with the live rock? I'm sorry that its taken so long to get you a response I just found this email and responded immediately. I would definitely consider a water change because fresh water always helps and I would also consider some type of antibiotic if you believe its an infection.> Thank you.

Trigger with Popeye--Help... no useful info. 8/21/06 I am currently treating my Picasso triggerfish for Popeye, he has had it for quite some time and it looks as if his eyes are going to fall out....I have moved him to a 20 gal and I have used two rounds of TriSulfa <Of no use here> (5 days each) and one round of Maracyn for 5 days, and he is not getting any better and is not eating ( he may eat a bite of my homemade food once in a while) I am going to give him a week or so with nothing but water changes before i try something else. What should i use next and would it be beneficial to use a sterilizer during the next week or so? Any help would be greatly appreciated!! <... What do you consider a/the contributing cause/s here? What re water quality, testing? The history of your care of this fish? Other livestock... Bob Fenner>
Re: trigger with Popeye--Help 8/22/06
I am not sure... maybe bacterial?? <Likely... at least secondarily> I have had him in a 90 gal for almost four years, his eyes have always somewhat ""stuck out"" the other fish (Naso tang, yellow tang, maroon clown, sebae anemone and a tube anemone) <Oh... or negative chemical, biological interaction with these last two, particularly the Cerianthus... at least as a negative influence> are all fine, i never really paid much attention to it as he has never really shown any problems until i got back from vacation three weeks ago and noticed he was biting at food during feeding but failed to get any, which made me think he went blind....water quality is good, i do 25 gal a week water changes, Ro water of course last test was .5 ppm nitrite, <Too much... should be zip/nada> 40 ppm nitrate <Twice as high as I'd tolerate> (slightly high but not real bad) 190-200 ppm alkalinity and 8.2-8.3 PH... could it be some kind of genetic disease? <Not much> About 2 1/2 yrs ago i had a problem with ich and lost a blue tang and had to treat the tank with some form of antibiotic (not sure what it was) that was given to me by a local shop owner. could it be damage from then? <Good question... don't know> One thing that has me baffled is that this fish had a white spot in each eye <Good clue... more certain the source was/is environmental principally> that he has had for almost the whole time i have had him, after the TriSulfa one eye cleared from the white spot and the other has gotten smaller and he isn't blind at least i don't think, but looks as if he has a cloudy bubble over each eye...I have no other resource in town other than the local pet smart (they know nothing) the other store is now closed and he just maintains clients now and is impossible to get a hold of...makes me wonder if the person watching over them while i was gone had some sort of ""germ"" on there hands while feeding (highly doubtful)..... Liz <A few problems... the Tube Anemone, poor water quality... need addressing for the remainder of your livestock. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tubeanem.htm and the FAQs file linked above, and use the search tool to find, read re nitrite, nitrates, env. disease. Bob Fenner>

Triggerfish/Health 8/8/06 Hello, <Hello Brent> I am writing to you because I am in a situation where I feel asking for help may be the best thing to do at this point. I purchased a 3 1/2 inch Undulated Trigger 3 days ago. After the usual acclimation period I added him to his 75 gallon new home. Quarantine was skipped because this tank is due to be stripped and redone in the near future and my 30 gallon QT tank is occupied. All seemed to be the norm and after a few hours I tended to my regular maintenance. I have a Aqua-C Remora pro w/ Mag 3 for a skimmer. I removed the sponge from the pump to clean it and never thought twice about it being a problem. I left it off while I did other things and eventually took a nap. After waking up and checking on my new pet I found him stuck to the intake of the Mag/3. Like an idiot I reached in to help him without first turning off the pump. More than half of his one side is now a big hickey. He seems to be active. His color (minus the sore) is normal. I would think that this fish would be well on the road to recovery except he hasn't eaten. I have offered cut shrimp, krill, formula one, trigger formula, squid and Mysis shrimp. Here are my water readings. Temp 78 SPG 1.023 ph 8.3 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 10 or lower The tank is fully cycled and the only other fish is a 3 stripe damsel. I have added 10 teaspoons of Epsom salt. What else if anything can I do? <Give it a little more time. Once the trauma period is over the appetite should return if no internal injuries to the fish occurred. James (Salty Dog)> Brent

Dead Huma Huma trigger... mis-placed 7/20/06 Hi. I was emailing you to see if you knew of a disease a Huma recently had. I bought the Huma and put in a 70 gal tank with a Niger and Undulated trigger. <Oh yes... know already... a social disease... psychological stress from mis-stocking, crowding> Other than normal checking each other out at entry the fish were ok with each other. <Uh, no> The fish ate the first day in the tank. The second day I found the fish with his head pointed at the top of the tank near the surface. <A submissive posture... "trying to get out..."> The Huma did not eat and kept staying around the surface all day. I noticed on his body color loss. The color loss started behind his trigger fin and ran like a straight line down one side of his body. It was like his body has divided in half with half looking normal and the other half looking muted with color loss. The line ran from top to bottom. The fish died within 6 hours after I noticed the line down his body. I noticed after I moved him to a sick tank the other side had started to do the same thing. I have not seen anything like this before and wanted to know what it was? Can my other triggers get this from the one I lost? The fish had been at the fish store for over a month in a tank with another trigger and a lion fish before I bought him. Thanks for you help, Chad <... These Balistids can't be housed together... not compatible behaviorally... Bob Fenner>

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? <<Im 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. Thanks again
<<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

A buddy's Picasso in distress.... - 04/05/2006 <Sab> I had a quick question for ya.... I have a buddy at work (Cc'd here) with a 2" Picasso in a 40g tank with two other fish; <Gonna get crowded...> water parameters all sound great, am going to double check for him in case his test reagents are old/faulty. Sounds like a decent setup given the inhabitants' current size; also, the tank's in good shape/health aside from this little trigger. He's been in the tank for 5 months and has started showing signs that he might be blind. <Does happen> He tries to go for food and fails to find it. He apparently acts as though he wants to eat, just can't see/get the food. The only things I can think of that might be issues are nutritional problems and toxic metals (copper, etc). <These are the most common...> I think we've ruled out the latter though. The fish are fed on frozen krill, Mysis, brine shrimp, and flakes. I've suggested he start trying some frozen/thawed human-consumption fish/shellfish meats, foods soaked in Selcon, maybe some Spectrum pellets, but I'm just not sure if nutritional issues would blind a fish? <Yes, can/do> I've read so in a couple of places, but.... is there anything else that I'm missing? Other things that cause blindness in fish/triggers? <Likely the third most common "cause" are pathogenic/parasitic problems... next, too-bright/continuous lighting...> Am currently recommending quarantining the critter so he won't have competition for food and trying to get something into his little concave belly. Any other thoughts? Also, Brent, the link for the conference is http://www.wmc2006.org - hope to see ya there! -Sabrina <Oh, yes. And do send along a close-up pic of this fish's eyes if you can. Bob Fenner>
Re: A buddy's Picasso in distress.... blindness
- 04/05/2006 thanks to both of you. I'll get a close-up of his eyes soon. as far as lighting goes, i have a 50/50 skylight/actinic on a timer (no reef/coral set-up), so i don't think that's it. <Me neither... Bob Fenner>

Bursa triggerfish 3/27/06 I have a question for you guys, about my Bursa Triggerfish. I have had him for two days, and he is eating fine. He lays around a lot behind the rocks, and comes out every once and awhile, and then goes and hides. <To be expected...> The night I first got him he dove into a tight hole and got stuck, and I had to free him. <Can free itself> Two days later, I noticed he had a whitish film covering different areas of his body. I think it's a bacterial infection, so I have been treating with Pimafix. <Not a good idea...> I would really appreciate if you could answer this question for me. I would not like to lose this fish. <There is no question posted. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm scroll down to the Triggerfishes area. Read re their Systems (yours needs a few hundred gallons ultimately, at least sixty uncrowded right now for itself), Compatibility, Disease... Bob Fenner>

Failing Undulate Trigger ...No, failed aquarist. - 2/15/2006 Hello. <<Hello Amber.>> I have a four year old Undulate Trigger. He was recently moved (December) into a larger tank (40 gallons). <<This fish reaches a foot in length. He needs a tank at LEAST double this.>> All of his familiar shells/ornamentation was moved with him. About a month went by before the algae started to show ("normal" levels that have never bothered the fish here before); the algae were a mix of the green and the red. Recently, the red algae began to "GROW" into membrane-like coverings throughout the tank. This obviously did not make trigger happy. <<Poor water quality is bugging him more, I m sure.>> Last Thursday I physically removed as much of the algae as I could while I prepared to do the water change/ maintenance (I know I should have changed/cleaned the filter sooner, but was out of carbon). <<Not a compelling reason to skimp on maintenance.>> Between Friday and Saturday, I cleaned as much as I could while I prepared the new water/ treated it with buffer and Prime. I took a water test on Saturday, and the Nitrite/Nitrate were off, everything else was within ideal range. <<What does 'off' mean. Please give numbers. If you were detecting nitrIte, something is very wrong in your tank. You need to move your trigger into larger quarters.>> I had plans to do a 25% water change, clean filtration etc. on Monday. <<Had plans? Did you?>> Alas, Sunday Morning, trigger was not as vigorous as usual. He came out of his shell only once for a quick nip and that was all. <<He is being poisoned by his own waste. Id be ornery too.>> Sunday night, he wouldn't come out to eat, and was 'gasping' and looking generally stressed.. I did a quick 10% water change. <<Not nearly enough to keep toxins down.>> Monday afternoon the Trigger was lying down outside of his shell, breathing rapidly, and otherwise NOT swimming, even when I tried to 'nudge' him. <<Bad idea, will only stress him further.>> I broke down the filtration (a magnum 350 with activated carbon), cleaned the hosing, did the 25% water change, put a bubbler in to give him more Oxygen. Tuesday morning the only change was he is lying on the sand floor on the opposite end of the tank.. He is not breathing as rapidly and does not look as stressed, but his color is darker than normal, and he still will not swim or eat that I can see. <<Doesn't sound any better to me.>> I took water test, showed ammonia ideal, Nitrite .5, Nitrate 40, PH and Alkalinity, showed high. <<These subjective terms ideal, high mean nothing to me. Please give numbers. NirtIte showing is a sign of terrible water quality, and a lack of appropriate cycling bacteria.>> I have new water again to do another 10% water change today (Wednesday) & to remove as much red algae as I can.. Is there anything else I can do for this fish?? <<Yes. Do LARGE (75%+) water changes as many times per day as needed to keep ammonia and nitrIte at 0, while you go buy a larger tank.>> I don't see any white spots or other discoloration, and frankly.. I am out of ideas. <<Its quite obvious what the problems are here.>> Any advice would be helpful at this point. Thank you. Amber A. <<Lisa.>>
Re: Failing Undulate Trigger ...No, failed aquarist. - 2/15/2006
You know, I e-mailed you looking for help and advice.. NOT for mockery and debasement! <<I did not mock you, Amber.>> Obviously we are aware that the Trigger will need larger quarters. <<Was not even mentioned.>> We have a 150 gallon tank that will be his future home; we are currently researching equipment & environmental choices to see which would be the best options. <<Awesome.>> When I say that ammonia is ideal, it is because on the quick-strip test that is the readout option! There are no numbers! <<Ah I see, hence the confusion.>> I realize nitrite and nitrate are bad... if you were reading my e-mail, you would have noticed I took IMMEDIATE steps to rectify those levels!! <<I did read it; I simply feel/felt that larger water changes are in order. Nothing rude in that.>> There was no need to mock my maintenance methods... the scheduled maintenance was not due until the last week of the month... so it is understandable that I did not have carbon on hand. <<I did not mock you, just stated that lack of carbon is not a reason to let water quality slide.>> But gee, thanks for all your great advice! <<Although you are being sarcastic, you're welcome. If you set aside the fact that you think I mocked you, you will see that I suggested larger quarters/water changes, and that these are quite helpful. I am sorry, but there is no other answer to give you.>> Meanwhile this trigger is very lethargic.. probably starving...and I'm doing water changes every day (I only did 25% because the action was stressing the fish more!) <<Even if so, reducing the toxins in his water is the main concern here, and will kill your Trigger if not corrected.>> So I'll continue doing daily water changes, with hopes this fish will pull through, without any helpful information/advice from you. <<Sorry you feel that way, but not true. Lisa.>> Amber A.

Clown trigger unable to eat - 2/11/2006 Hi, <Hello there> I have had a 2" clown trigger for about 4 months now. Things have been going well as he appears happy and actively swims around. However, over the last week or so, I've noticed that he's no longer able to eat. <!?> He is definitely trying as he eagerly bites at the food I put in the tank. Unfortunately, he is unable to chew or bite through the food at all. He'll even take food into his mouth, but then he always spits it out. I have tried a wide assortment of items including pellets, flakes, freeze-dried krill, seaweed and frozen shrimp/scallops/mussels etc without any luck. I really worry there is something wrong with his teeth, but I can't see any obvious problems. I assume he is injured or deformed <Me too... likely the former... from "running into something"> as everything I've read about feeding triggerfish talks about how strong their jaws and teeth are. Shouldn't he be able to easily devour all the above-mentioned foods? <Yes> Do you think this problem will correct itself in time or is my trigger doomed? <I do hope for the former> Any recommendations, in terms of what to feed him or how to improve his situation, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. -Jay <... really only "time going by" can/will tell here. Bob Fenner>

Mysterious Trigger Deaths - 01/08/06 It is too late to help with my problem but I hope you can give me advice on where things went wrong for the future. <<Sorry for your troubles...I'll try to be of help.>> I strongly believe in quarantine. At the end of October I purchased a smallish female Blue Throat Trigger and put her in quarantine. Things progressed very well and she began eating the second day and was becoming less shy. On 11/21 I purchased a male Blue Throat Trigger of about the same size as I had wanted to add a pair to my display tank and thought it better to quarantine them together and add them at the same time. <<Agreed. I too bought a pair of these fish, though I acquired mine "as a pair".>> He was much shyer and more skittish than the female was. Quarantine tank is 20 gallons, bare tank with pieces of PVC of varying sizes for hiding places. <<Sounds good>> I have a hang on filter with no media just for circulation and to allow me to add carbon or other media if needed and a sponge filter that I keep going at all times so it has as active bacteria culture already. <<You've done your homework...>> I don't normally add any medications unless there are specific disease signs/symptoms. <<Ah! Excellent to hear. I too am a believer of "treat only when 'absolutely' necessary".>> Display tank is 72" x 30" wide x 24" high and total system volume of about 250 gallons. Things progressed fine for a couple of weeks although the male continue to be very skittish and would hide whenever anyone came near the tank, or even walked into the room. <<Not really atypical behavior. Once the fish is with other fish the hiding should become less, though this specie likes having a "bolt hole".>> The female was eating well and would stay out of hiding most of the time, even when I approached the tank. <<My experience was similar.>> Near the holiday time neither fish displayed any disease symptoms at all but the male was still skittish and would only eat if I added the food to the tank and then left so I decided to leave them both in the Q-tank a bit longer hoping he would get more accustomed to things. <<Mmm, that is a bit surprising/disturbing. Mine will often dive for cover if I make a rapid movement, but always comes out for food while I stand and watch. But still, fish are individuals...>> Around 12/31 (5 -6 weeks in quarantine for the male and 8 weeks for the female) his behavior got stranger and he started zooming around the tank, running into the walls, or trying to jump out and banging against the top of the tank. <<Uh oh>> He stopped eating and spent most of the time hiding in the corner behind the sponge filter unless startled by someone coming into the room or the lights coming on. A few days later the female started acting the same way. Both stopped eating. Wednesday of this week, 1/4, the male died. There were no spots or unusual areas on his body, no bloating, eyes clear, fins intact with no problems. Female was exhibiting same symptoms so I decided to treat with an antibiotic just in case as I figured things couldn't get any worse. <<I tend to agree...though I think this may have been an internal parasite...very difficult to treat.>> I was using Maracyn and Maracyn Two which the directions told me could be used together. This morning the female was dead. <<Likely too little too late...though I'm not sure there was/would have been anything you could do.>> She did seem to have a little bloating in the abdominal area but otherwise, no outward signs at all. I am very distressed over the loss of these two fish and feel very responsible. <<I understand>> What should I have done differently? <<Hmm...maybe nothing...possibly a separate quarantine. Is possible the male was malaffected when purchased, and subsequently infected/affected the female...but then hindsight is always 20/20 my friend. Also possible this was (in both cases) merely the result of poor collection/mishandling... I still support your stand on not treating/pouring chemicals in to the tank unless you're absolutely sure what you are treating. Even then, not much (if anything) you could have done. Purely my own opinion here, but based on your statements I'm inclined to believe these fish were doomed before you ever got them.>> I haven't decided if I want to try again or just leave my display as it is. <<If I may suggest... If you try these fish again (wholly worthwhile in my estimation), ask to have them collected/shipped from Hawaii. Shorter transit time and good collection/holding practices...all which increase survivability. Also use a LFS that will quarantine/ensure the fish are feeding properly before purchase, if at all possible.>> Thanks. Mickey <<Regards, EricR>>

Blind Triggerfish 9/29/05 we have a 325 gallon marine tank with 7 fish - mostly triggers. <Mmm, not found mixed like this in the wild... trouble> One of them is a Pinktail trigger. About 2 weeks ago his stomach appeared to be sunken in and he wasn't eating. Soon after we noticed that he appeared to be blind. <Happens... avitaminoses... as with humans> He's constantly bumping into coral - swims full force right into it.......and is now afraid to swim too far it seems - just sort of wedges himself in one main area. He is absolutely unable to detect food by sight. We've been hand feeding him previously frozen fish wedged in a drinking straw and although he clearly wants to bite and will voraciously search for the food when it comes near, he can only take a bite when we place the fish directly in his mouth. This method is working for now but I'm really perplexed as to how or why this happened. Is it reversible? Any advice would be appreciated. <May be reversed... by moving the fish into a small tank, basically "hand-feeding" it with tongs, large meaty foods, soaked in liquid vitamins... will not likely be able to be placed back in the main system. Bob Fenner>

Discolored Clown Trigger... poor mix, environment (Marina Looks for Photos..) I have a 4 month old Long 30 gallon tank. heavily filtered. Prizm (H.O.T.) skimmer, old school gulf stream wet dry filter, 8 lbs live rock, phosphate absorbing media, carbon, PolyFilter. Also left in the undergravel filter, (covered by very little gravel) with 2 powerheads to pump the fish waste back up to the skimmer (ideally.) <Mmm, am sure you realize the requirements of substrate with UG filters, their shortcomings/strengths> I have more bio balls on order to increase the nitrifying bacteria for the system. I currently fight the nitrite with heavy skimming and a 1/3 water change weekly. currently levels are 2.5 PPM nitrite and 30 ppm nitrate. everything else is ideal. <... any nitrite is dangerous...> I have 1 Niger trigger 2.5 inches, 1 nano undulating trigger 1 inch, <<A what?>> 1 Royal Gamma 2 inches (lives in barnacles) 4 brave and fast damsels 3 Emerald Crabs (clean up crew) and a 2 inch clown trigger. <... crazy to have this much fish life in an uncycled system> everyone gets along. <Mmm, for now perhaps... apparently> - I know that your recommendations are for huge tanks with triggers, but I live in NYC and the triggers live as we do, in well laid out, small quarters. sleeping places for all and a good circuit to do laps. I do not want to reduce stock or trade in until they grow too big 1+ inch growth. I purchased the clown trigger 3 weeks ago. The clown trigger survived and ich infestation 10 days ago. I treated with a 5 minute fresh water dip, and then treated with copper. When I bought the clown it had some discoloration, but was eating well, and was an excellent price retail at $49.00. I decided to bring it home and with TLC bring it back to fighting strength. After undergoing medication, the clown is eating well, although only brine shrimp or Mysis. Does not seem to have the desire to attack the krill like the Niger. On one side of its body the colors are perfect. The photo attached is of the other side. There are white discolored patches. under close observation, it does not look to be fungus. Although the fins have some white bits forming, perhaps bacteria attacking post ich? <Mmm, no, at least not immediately, directly the problem... the source of troubles here is/are environmental... nitrite, likely transient ammonia, too much stress from unnatural assortment, crowding> Also the pectoral fins appear to be enduring some rot. I am going to the LFS to buy some Maracyn, is this the best course of action, given I am dedicated to not making tank size change or destocking? Also how long should scales take to grow back if scrapped from netting or shipping? <Mmm, no... antibiotics period are not a good idea in main/display systems... this one, Erythromycin is not a good idea period> Thanks for your help, your site is very interesting. - JR <Keep the nitrite down below 1.0 ppm... through huge water changes, careful feeding, add more substrate, get a bigger tank/s. Bob Fenner>
Re: Discolored Clown Trigger
Thanks for your advice. I think I will definitely de-stock the tank. Leave the nano undulating and clown. The Niger is growing very fast and it will get ridiculous soon. Do you know of internet fish exchange site where hobbyists sell/trade/donate livestock to each other? <Mmm, not fishes... likely better to trade locally... through a LFS likely... for credit> I added the antibiotics which I now realize was the wrong move. how should I go about removing them? Just more huge water changes? Thanks again for your insight. Moving to Australia in a year. Will then set up the 100 gallon and collect instead of purchase. looking forward to it. - JR <The water changes and use of activated carbon ought to do it. Bob Fenner>

Niger Trigger problems, spots yea hi my name is Kevin I just bought a Niger trigger and I noticed that there are white spots on its fins but only near the tip of the fins and that there's white patch's on my triggers skin. The white patches are barely visible though. I was wonder if the white spots are ich and if the white patch's are marine velvet. <Not likely> if they are please tell me how to treat them. Overall my trigger is not acting like it has a dieses. It doesn't have cloudy eyes, it doesn't swim weirdly, it doesn't act weirdly, it eats, etc. But please tell me what it is and what soul I do to help my trigger. thanks for you time <These marks, spots are likely encysted worms... not treatable, may "go away" of their own accord, not spread-able to other fishes... I would just keep your eye on them, lest this is something else. Bob Fenner>

-Survival of The Fittest- Crew- thanks for your great site <Thank you> A story and a question: <Sure, you have Justin here.> Yesterday I did a water change in my 90gal FOWLR. Also bought a couple more lbs of cured LR (yes, really cured at the LFS). When adding the LR, I removed a fake coral piece that I had purchased but never really liked in the tank. <Everyone says aquascaping is never done in their tanks heehee I know the feeling.> When changing water in my tank, all the inhabitants do a Houdini- they all disappear. <No To them the hand of god just appeared and its time to get outta the way .> I figure this is good as it means there is sufficient hiding places in the tank. After the water change was complete, all seemed well. I checked out the tank after about an hour and noticed that my 4" Picasso trigger had not reappeared. He has a normal hiding place in large piece of coral skeleton so I figured he was still hiding. Unusual but not yet reason for alarm. After about another hour - still no Picasso so I started looking/wondering. <Done this with an eel several times and a wrasse. I feel your pain.> Used a flashlight to checkout his normal hiding space and no sign. Checked out the floor around the tank in case he escaped without me noticing. Still no sign. Pondered this for a few minutes and then realized the one piece of fake coral removed earlier was hollow. The fake coral was not yet put away and was still on a towel on the floor by the aquarium. When I checked there - I had a oh sh@# moment. The trigger had wedged himself inside of the coral. His trigger was out and was stuck into the coral. He had been out of the water for almost 2 hours. I had screwed up and killed one of my favorite fish. :( I reached into the coral to remove the dead fish and he surprised me and moved! I quickly filled a bowl of water from the tank and "unstuck" his trigger from the coral. <Ok, usually not recommend touching the fish, rather simply submerging the whole coral, however its a heat of the moment thing, so good save.> He fell into the bowl and immediately tried to jump out. With the help of my son, we got a cover over the bowl and held him there for a few minutes. When introduced back into the tank, he quickly found his normal hiding place. He has since come out, looks fine and is eating well and acting normal. I figure I'm lucky enough to own "one tough fish." My question(s)- Is it normal for a fish to be able to survive 2hrs out of the water? Is there anything I can or should do to for the trigger? <Well Yes and no. Triggers are notorious for their incredible survival. It is not normal in my experience for fish to live for so long outside of water, However the coral might have had water in it etc, it does not matter, the fish is alive and eating. All you can do for it is to give it time, Its stressed some, but the eating is a great sign that it is doing fine. Id simply enjoy your fish and be careful while aquascaping. :) > <Justin (Jager)>

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

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

Injured Niger Trigger... Help! I have a Niger Trigger, which has been in the tank for about 1 year. He's been very healthy, with no apparent problems. I noticed recently, however, white tissue surrounding his trigger. When I check on him today, the trigger is actually dangling from his body. I don't know if it was bitten off by another fish, or if he injured himself. Is this something that will correct itself (i.e. grow back), or is Nigel, my favorite fish, in trouble? Thanks for any help you can provide. Maria <Wow! It takes some doing to damage the trigger mechanism of Balistid fishes... I have a few (collected from beaches) of these anatomical beauties... they're strong! I suspect your Nigel must've really banged himself on rock, or maybe the top... Won't regrow but he will very likely live in your good care just the same. Bob Fenner>

Niger trigger with bad tooth I have a niger trigger with a bad tooth and I'm not sure what to do about it, <Uh, nothing... naught to do, can be done> I'm guessing he bit at one of the rocks too hard and pulled it loose. The tooth looks as if it's just lying across the bottom lip and I've noticed he doesn't have much of an appetite. Please help!!!!! <Does happen... have even seen this and other trigger species in the wild with broken, missing teeth. Very likely this fish's appetite will return. Bob Fenner>

Niger trigger infection Dear WWM crew <Tristan> Please can someone come to my rescue, I have a juvenile Niger trigger in my 60 gal reef tank, and have had him for about 1 month he has settled down wonderfully is not aggressive at all, not too bold or too shy, recently I noticed that his right eye was a little larger than his left, over the past few days this has grown noticeably worse, I estimate that his eye is almost 3-4 times the size of the other one with a white circle surrounding it (this may be his skin stretched) I cannot see any stress patterns on his coat, or other symptoms his behaviour has change completely very aggressive to other fish (green Chromis and clowns) snapping his mouth and violently banging his head/eye against rock, coral, glass. <Time to move and treat this fish... in a separate tank> He is the largest fish in the tank, although it is a reef tank it has only a few soft corals and no anemones, I have performed 2 water changes since, I use marine salt with RO water parameters are good the tank is about 5 months old, no other fish show signs of illness, at the moment I feed him Mysis shrimp, marine flake, and small amounts of mixed sea weed. If any one has encountered this before please can you advise on a possible treatment method, I do not think Ol' Evil Eye Ivan will make it through the rest of the week without immediate action, I have to try something but am at a loss, I have a small 10 gal tank that can be retro fitted to act as treatment tank if that helps. Thank you all Tristan <DO move this fish... with the water it's already in... to a darkened tank, with something chemically inert for it to hide behind/within AND add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per gallon in its water... DO monitor ammonia accumulation, and be ready to change out the treatment tank water with the old system water re-adding whatever gallonage removed in Epsom... if the ammonia approaches/exceeds 1 ppm... Your trigger likely just bumped its eye and does NOT require any chemical medicine other than the Epsom. Bob Fenner>

Triggers Scratching I'm not sure if this is the right email to send questions to, but I saw your name on WetWeb, and thought I'd fire off a quick question for you. <No worries it got to the right place.> (Have your books by the way, outstanding.) <I got to say Bob Fenner is amazing, but you got me, MacL with you tonight.> -I've been battling with Niger, Blue Jaw Triggers scratching in my FOWLR set up. (100 gallons) <Hmmmm> -Have a Wet Dry, UV, Good Protein Skimmer, good circulation -Fish eat aggressively but have been scratching for about a year now. On the sand, and the rocks. <That's truly usually a sign of parasites but could be something else irritating them. Have you grounded the tank to make sure its not electric current?> -Tried, KickIch, Copper, etc (knowing I was messing up my live rock) -I've tried raising the temp to 80, lowering the salinity to 1.018. <Did any of these things help?> -Feeding with Garlic Juice and Selcon, seems to help slightly, not much. <Selcon is vitamin C, Garlic is supposed to keep parasites from digging in. The fish aren't supposed to "taste" good after eating the garlic.> -Increased water changes to improve maintenance practices, but haven't noticed much change. Do triggers just scratch, or is there something in my tank causing this problem? <Triggers do scratch but usually there is a reason and its usually some type of parasites. Have any of the things made any difference at all.> Anything I can try at this point? <There are so many things it could be and I don't want to leave you here floundering. Please take a look at the FAQs and see if you have tried everything there. Have you considered a freshwater dip on your triggers? Sometimes that is really good for getting rid of parasites. Have you seen ANYTHING on your fish at all? Usually around the gills? Please let me know, MacL> Thanks Bob, Dave Block

Twitching Trigger (not finger) Hey guys, quick question for one of you? Since you're always here and always have given me valuable feedback, I chose to continue to ask questions when I'm stumped. <Learn to use your spell and grammar checkers...> I just took a humu trigger out of QT for over a month because of Oodinium. I did exactly what the directions said and he had full treatment of copper. I now just put him in my display tank and he's doing well except for the fact that he keeps twitching mildly. <Likely from the copper exposure> He has not a single white spot nor is he sitting on the bottom. What do you think the cause of this twitching may be? He also always has his trigger up and his coloration is real dark. Thanks, Jay <Bob Fenner>

- Picasso Trigger Needs Help - Hiya, I have a Picasso Trigger and a Volitans Lion in a 75 gal. (1) Fluval 304; (1) Fluval 404. Lately noticing the Trigger is having trouble seeing. He can't quite grasp the food so I've resorted to putting it on a skewer for him. It appears as though both eyes are larger than before w/ white circles around them at the base. No signs of parasites (at least externally). Water quality: salt = 1.021; ph = 8.2; nitrates = tend to be on the high side; ammonia & nitrites = 0. When the Lion was first introduced I caught the Trigger nibbling on his fin and wonder if perhaps he's been poisoned in same way or stung and could this lead to eye problems or trouble seeing. <Is a possibility.> Now that he's having trouble seeing, he's getting in the way of the Lion during feeding and therefore the Lion is turning on his side and then the Trigger gets into his fins. He's going into a 20 gal QT. <Excellent.> After searching your FAQ's I read about using Epsom Salt, but that all appeared to be for pop-eye. <I would treat as such anyway... think the Epsom salt could help reduce some of the pressure in those eyes.> Not sure if this is the same thing so wanted to double check before using something. <The Epsom salts are safe to use in the quarantine tank. As an aside, if the trigger was actually envenomized in/near/around the eyes, there is likely little you can do. All the same, I'd give a good try at getting it to eat and you've already outlined the steps that I would take. Make sure you have plenty of new water made up so you can provide frequent water changes in that 20 gallon tank.> Please help. Your site is always informative and extremely helpful...thank you for always being there for us hobbyist! ;) <Cheers, J -- >

Parasite on trigger? Pics Hi Bob, <James here today> I've gotten a new Bluejaw trigger within the last few days that I purchased off of the internet. I noticed that he has something attached/coming out of one of his fins. Is this some sort of parasite, and if so, what is the best way to remove it? Here are a couple pics, one of the general fish, and the second of a zoomed in portion of the best pic I could get of the affected fin. <Chad, I would leave well enough alone. You will cause more stress on the fish that any damage this will cause. Appears like he picked up a "sliver" of some kind. I think it will work itself out in time. James (Salty Dog)>

Sargassum trigger fish in trouble Hi, <Hello Jeri> I just posted to your 911 topic site and am not sure how long it takes. So I figured I would go this route as well. I have a 46gal. saltwater tank. Up until last night we had 2 clownfish, 1 Sargassum trigger, 1 potters angel, and a blue tang. Also have 4 turbo snails & blue & red crabs. We noticed our clowns swimming and laying at the bottom yesterday, but eating very well. Later in the day I noticed some white patches on their skin. I called our regular fish store and asked what we should do. They said watch the fish because it could be stress from adding the Blue tang on 6/19/05. this morning both clowns were dead. Our trigger stopped eating yesterday has some white spots, eyes a bit cloudy and not swimming much today. The potters is pale in color but swimming and eating well. Blue tang looks great. we do not have a QT tank. We are trying to set one up quickly, any advice is appreciated. Our regular fish store is closed until Thursday and I don't know if our trigger can hold on that long. Please help . I love this fish and would hate to lose him. <Jeri, your tank is a little small for keeping the fish you have. I'm sure the bio filter didn't adjust in time and you had an ammonia spike. I would change about 25% of the water for starters and return the blue tang. Even without the tang, some of the fish you have grow quite large and will be producing more waste than the system can handle. James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Jeri
Sargassum trigger fish in trouble
Thank you for your response. I do appreciate it. <You're welcome> We did a 50% water change right now. However the ammonia test is still at .25ppm. The tang is pretty small right now. We were told that she will eventually outgrow this tank. The trigger is our largest fish at about 4in. How much larger will he grow? We were told about 5.5in. How much larger will the Potters grow? We were told not much bigger than he is. <The Potters don't get much larger than three inches.> I am a little disappointed in our LFS. We only bought from them and they knew tank size and other fish in tank. <Time to look for a new one.> The trigger was looking better after the water change, but now he is sitting at the top of the water directly under the filter. Is realistic to believe we can save him? <Jeri, I think I would start with a healthy diet if the fish is eating. Something on the order of Ocean Nutrition frozen cubes soaked in Selcon. AS to size, most triggers can attain lengths of up to twelve inches. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Sargassum trigger fish in trouble! I have attached some photos of the trigger. Who is amazingly still alive. He is worse on his left side and that is the eye that is bulging. We did a 12 minute freshwater dip (lots of white stuff falling off) and put him in a quickly set up QT. After the dip he seemed to have a beard. If that makes any sense. The ammonia level was still at less than .25ppm. Not sure why as we used purified water to set up. <Mmm, the system is not "completely cycled"... something going on with your biological filtration... a lack thereof> Anyway the QT has less ammonia then the main tank did. So we figured it had to better than just doing nothing. We did use some Amquel+ to help with ammonia. We will clean the tank again tomorrow. Hopefully he pulls through this. Please let me know if you think this is ich or are we dealing with something else. <...> Thank you so much for all your help! Jeri <Triggers are tough... hopefully yours will recover... Keep monitoring nitrogenous poisoning, levels... and read on WWM re cycling, Triggerfish health. Bob Fenner>

Sargassum trigger fish in trouble The trigger died this morning. Our tang died last night. We still have our potters angel who looks good and is eating. The fish store is open today and they asked us to bring the fish in with a water sample. Hopefully they will be able diagnose what went wrong. Any recommendation on how to find a good, reputable fish store in Boulder, CO? <I'd look in the yellow pages, visit a few stores and ask customers if they are happy with the service they are receiving. Ask the dealer about return policies, exchanges, etc, and make a decision. It is best to arm yourself with knowledge of the fish you are buying (easily found on the WWM), and it's requirements as to tank size, compatibility, etc. Then ask the dealer the same questions you now know and compare answers. I've been to dealers who showboat their customers with bs. Also had a dealer tell me mandarins will do just fine, no live rock/copepods needed to sustain life. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again, Jeri
Re: Sargassum trigger fish in trouble 7/5/05
Unfortunately, we lost all of our fish.<Sorry to hear that.> Good news is we think we know what went wrong. Looks like Oxygen levels became a problem which cause the stress that allowed secondary problems to emerge. A very harsh lesson to learn, especially as it cost the life of these beautiful animals. <Yes indeed> We are allowing the tank to stay empty for at least 30 days just in case. We do have some snails and hermit crabs that are doing well. <Good> We have a 46gal tank with a Penguin 350 bio filter, and 1 aqua clear powerhead rated for a 70 gal. tank. My question is how can we better oxygenate the water here in the mile high city of Denver? What can we do or change? I've heard switching to a sump filter (Is that the same as a wet/dry filter?) or adding a protein skimmer. <I'd start with making sure you have at least 460 gallons per hour of circulation. A wet/dry would be the best way of improving your oxygen levels. The bio balls in the sump breaks the water down that allows for near 100% oxygen saturation. If you have an air pump you could drill a hole the size of the airline tubing and put the line in the bio ball chamber.> By the way I was looking at the articles on the website and the one on aeration is blank. Just thought you should know. <I'll pass this on to Mr. Fenner.> <<Is yet another, as yet unwritten article/place holder for a FAQs file. RMF>> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)> Jeri
Re: Sargassum trigger fish in trouble 7/5/05
I am not sure I understand when you say 460gph of circulation. Is that from the filter, powerhead, or combination of both? Our filter does 350gph & powerhead does 400gph. Should both the filter & powerhead be rated for 460gph? <A combination of all. James Gasta (Salty Dog)> Hope you have a Happy & Safe 4th of July. <I'll have a safe holiday unless I get hit by lightning. Daughter's wedding coming up....keeping us broke. Thanks, Jeri

Triggers, copper Ok thanks. In your book you mention that triggers have high tolerance to copper treatments. Considering, I did exactly what the directions said and didn't overdose, how come this affected mine? If his twitching is from copper exposure, does this mean it damaged him permanently? Will this ever stop? Thanks again <Likely your Balistid will be fine. Bob Fenner>

Triggerfishes for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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