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FAQs about Odonus niger Triggerfish Compatibility

Related FAQs: Odonus 1, Odonus 2, & FAQs on: Odonus Identification, Odonus Behavior, Odonus Selection, Odonus Systems, Odonus Feeding, Odonus Disease, Odonus Reproduction, & Triggerfishes in General, Triggerfish: Identification, Selection, Selection 2, Compatibility, Behavior, Systems, Feeding, Diseases, Triggerfish Health 2Reproduction,

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

Name it, and an Odonus will likely at least try to/sample it... Any, all slow moving fishes, even large... All sessile invertebrates, including "corals"... though the species is found on the reef itself in the wild.

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

sick lionfish... incomp. w/ Balistid/s  6/27/12
I'll start at the beginning. 90G
tank set-up is crushed coral, 90lbs
live rock, lots of swimming room, and Tunze
9011 skimmer (I’m on well water) all my parameters are good. I got 2 Volitans lionfish (6" and 4") and a Picasso trigger,
<... not compatible... the image you show evidences this Rhinecanthus having chewed the larger lion>

the guy I got them off of only had them for 2 weeks and didn't want them anymore and they have now been in my tank for 2 weeks. The Picasso is fine but the lionfish was not active in his tank and very hard to feed.
<... stressed... by the Trigger>

 In my tank same thing... lethargic and very hard to feed. I got them to eat on the 4th day (1 silverside) and then 5 days later (1 silverside) nothing since. 3 days ago I notice they both had mucousy
stuff on their back by their spines. The next day it peeled off and it was just white underneath. Today the area is bigger and now they have white dots (not like Ich),
it's larger dots and in a concentrated area. The smaller lion is now pale. I ran out to the local SW store and bought feeder guppies, carbon, Kent garlic Xtreme and prime. I added the garlic (9
drops) than added 5 guppies...I got no reaction from the lions. I then added the prime and carbon. My smaller lion looked like it was having trouble staying perched on the rocks so I turned off one powerhead (1 have 2 Koralia 1080's) and the smaller lion started swimming around...she's been swimmer around for about an hour now. The larger lion has perch himself on rocks so his mouth is at the surface sometimes out of the water. She has never swam around since I got her...hopefully a good sign. Do you have any idea what is going on with them...velvet disease? Stress? PH - 8Amm - 0Nitrate - 20ppmNitrite - 0Temp-80 I sent you a picture i took today
<The Trigger and Lions need to be separated... NOW. Bob Fenner>

Re: sick <killed> lionfish   6/28/12
Thanks for your advice!! I lost my large lion today but the smaller one seems to be active all today. I pulled the trigger out of the tank and into my QT. Unfortunately it's only a 15G so the trigger is not liking it but hopefully in the next couple days I'll find a home for him....or if i lose my smaller one he'll go back in the 90G. Lets hope the feeding for tomorrow will go well now that there is no trigger in the tank.
<... see WWM re feeding Pteroines... they're eager eaters>
I guess I presumed because these fish have lived together for the last 3 years they would be okay but I guess the stress of moving got to them. For the future is a niger trigger safe with the lions?
<? See WWM re... No. B>


Re: Added Blue throat Triggerfish - 5/7/2012
thanks. I agree on your advice (as usual) on no more fish. However, do you think in the long run I am better off taking the Niger out and maybe going with the Bluethroat (not both) or just leave the Niger in as long as all other fish are fine. The latter is easier.
wwm: I'd just keep an eye on the Odonus... Not the "meanest" Balistid, but close... and at times, size, unpredictable in its behavior
I need to watch now, but I do not recall any real aggression towards the other fish. I know I need to find a home for the BT since long term in 55 is probably not good. However, I want his nips to heal first. He did eat tonight, although hiding both before and after. I think that is understandable considering the stress of the Niger plus the chase of getting him out. thanks, Mike
wwm: Again and always welcome. BobF

compatibility of Sixline and trigger    3/23/12
Afternoon my ever-insightful friends!
<And a good afternoon to you!>
I have read  a good deal on your pages but can't find an answer to  my specific question.  I am upgrading my current 30 gallon FOWLR to a 75 gallon reef.  I currently have a Sixline wrasse, various inverts, cleaners and live rock.
Background:  The wrasse had previously tormented one clownfish to death and the other jumped out of the tank to his demise after being chased into an upper corner for weeks.<Sixlines tend to have a Napoleon Complex.>  He is well fed but clearly extremely territorial in the 30 gallon environment.<To be expected.>   My dilemma is how it may react to future tank mates in the larger reef tank?<They can be quite territorial but a 75 should provide enough room for all. I would add the wrasse last though.>  I am very interested in introducing a Clarkii clownfish pair,  and a Kole tang.  My plan would be to add the wrasse last in hopes that with the larger area, more rock work and existence of other fish he will cool his jets but am weary.<Good idea.>  My brother has a 150 gallon containing a Niger Trigger and a Beau Gregory that could possibly (hopefully) be a new home for the wrasse.<Temperament wise, it should work.>  Would you advise this?<The trigger may see the wrasse as a snack depending on the size difference. Stegastes sp. are feisty little buggers themselves and may bully the wrasse but a 150 should provide enough territory for all three.>
thanks for your help!
<Quite welcome.>

Niger Trigger/Behavior/comp.  12/21/11
Hello all,
<Hi Kyle>
 recently set up a 60 gallon tank and had a maroon clown and some live rock, about 4 days ago we added our trigger and very next morning the clown of comparable size to the trigger was torn to shreds.
<Not surprising.  The Niger is an aggressive fish and belongs with similar tank mates.  Your 60 gallon tank will be much too small as this fish grows.>
We removed him and now our trigger has started to lie on it's side on top of one of our live rocks, always in the same spot.  Tank is free of disease and water was just tested. Is this normal behavior?
<Not really.  Niger Triggerfish are very active during the day although when alarmed/frightened, they will lock themselves into a rock with their trigger.  Their personalities in that regard can differ by a wide margin. 
Do read here and related articles/FAQs.
James (Salty Dog)>

Niger Trigger possibly in a 75G? 5/2/2011
Hello Crew!
"First time writer" here with close to 10 years experience in the hobby.
Like most, I have spent hours pouring over forums, retail sites, and of course the best information on WWM! The exposure to so many different sources is great, yet also has its downfalls with the occasional "success" stories of poorly stocked combinations in various tanks of all shapes and sizes that offer false promise of certain stocking lists.
<Well put>
As with anything in life, particularly our hobby, there are always exceptions and even though we can control the "neighborhood" in which we keep tankmates, we cannot control the individual specimen.
<Indeed; there is variable variability!>
Since all of you are already aware of that, I decided I would just go ahead and write directly with my questions for straight answers, which is what you are best at! So brief background....75G tank, 50 lbs live rock with quite a few caves/holes, mixed reef but only 4 corals, 2 OC clowns hosting in a BTA, one cleaner shrimp, and many hermits/snails in a CUC.
<Let's stop right here. There is TOO much probability that an Odonus, indeed any Balistid will consume the Clowns, Anemone, Shrimp, Snails>
Filtration includes one HOB power filter mainly for carbon, Aqua C Remora HOB skimmer (I love it.), and powerheads for flow. I typically perform 3 - 5 gallon water changes weekly, depending on how much RODI water I have left.
I have kept over the years species of all sorts, some with success, others as a learning experience/headache. I even had an undulated kept individually with an emerald crab for 6 months or so before selling him and the tank. Some of my favorites in the hobby include clowns, triggers, and tangs, which obviously for a 75G is not a good combination at all. My dream is for a larger tank, at least 150G but preferably 200G+ several years down the line, but as we all know things don't always happen when and as we hope. The reason I say that is I do not believe/like to buy a fish with plans to simply "trade in" in time for a smaller or different species. I prefer to keep something for it's entire life span and not take a fairly steep risk with a living creature.
So after all of that, my research, and confusion, here are my questions/hopes/concerns. My two clowns are non negotiable and will remain as the "centerpiece" of my tank. Having done angels, grammas, damsels, "smaller" tangs, Anthias, and cardinals, etc, over the years I'm looking for something "new" (one or two fish) to attempt that still appeals very much to me.
<How about a culture project?>
This of course is where the trigger comes in.
1. Obviously there is the risk associated with triggers with smaller fish and inverts, but is this a reasonably "OK" choice to make to add a Niger to the current setup, given the Niger's mid water feeding habits? It may not be recommended, and there are way worse combinations out there, but is this mixing feasible?
<Not really, no>
2. If we can determine this to be OK, could I/should I add one additional fish, which I would be leaning toward a yellow tang? If not any other recommendations? Particularly something with color, preferably yellow to offset the Niger and clowns? I am OK with just the trigger and clowns.
<I'd place a/the trigger last, whatever mix you end up putting together>
3. This again varies from the individual, but if I do try this how long would I have generally speaking before the trigger is too big for the tank, though liveaquaria.com says 70G as the minimum! (frustration here as they are known as a "standard" in the hobby)
<There are some exceptions/differences twixt KevinK and co. and my/WWM's impressions>
4. The Niger I am contemplating is in a VERY overcrowded tank at the LFS (go figure right) with turbo snails, small Clarkiis (my OCs are about 1.5 - 2", and the Niger itself is probably 2-3"), and quite a few other assorted species. Could this current combination "help" the Niger's passiveness? At least temporarily?
Many many thanks in advance and chances are I may have follow up questions as well. Have a great week!
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Niger Trigger possibly in a 75G?   5/6/11

Thanks Bob! That is pretty much the answer I expected. One more question about this? In your opinion, what is the better choice here between a Niger or Humu Humu? Thanks again!
<A tough one... I like both these fish... The genus Rhinecanthus "on average" is better behaved (more disposed to leave other fishes, corals... alone), but Odonus behavior does overlap! BobF>
Re: Niger Trigger possibly in a 75G?   5/6/11
Sounds like a coin flip! Well the Humu is my personal fave so I would lean that direction. Still trying to be smart about this though.
Thanks again and have a great weekend!
<You as well Clayton. B>

Mixing Damsels With Niger Trigger/Triggerfish/Compatibility 2/5/10
I have a 125 gallon FOWLR with a Niger Trigger (about 4 inches) and a Fox Face (also about 4 inches). The tank has been setup for about 2 years. I would like to add 3 to 5 Yellowtail Damsels to add color and movement. Is
this reasonable, or would it create problems either for the existing or new inhabitants?
<You would be placing the damsels in an environment not to their liking, they will be at risk. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: I killed my fish... Soft Coral comp.    12/28/09
Hope your holiday was wonderful.... Happy New Year. I went on line this weekend and Looked at some Taro Tree Corals that I really liked.
<Aka Kenya... Capnella sp.>
Since I have a fish only tank at this time can I add this coral and can I just add it or is there a curing time??
<Mmm, best to wait until your system is well-established before adding Cnidarian life>
I have a 100 gal tank with a wet/dry filter and have community fish - damsels, Angel Eibli, Niger Trigger fish,
<This fish may chew your Soft Coral/s>
2 Clown fish and a Red Banded Coral shrimp. I don't not want to introduce something that will not make my babies happy. Also, with the Angel Eibli can I get a Beatty Angelfish (not sure on spelling)..
<... a Coral Beauty? Centropyge bispinosus?>
Or because they are both Angels I will have problems. The Beatty is not a big fish - maybe 1-1 1/2 inches long and my Eibli is about 3 inches or so.
Thanks for your help..
Cecilia Lester
Paris Texas
<Mmm... The two dwarf angels might chase each other about quite a bit...
Please see WWM re compatibility w/in the genus. Bob Fenner>
Re: I killed my fish... soft coral addn.
Thanks for the info - I trust what you guys say - I read up on things on the internet - but I'd rather get it from you all.... I will just leave my tank as is. Like I said I want my babies happy.... My trigger fish almost met his maker this weekend - I cleaned my tank and did my water change - I decided to clean the castle we have for every one to hang out in and I did not realize when I took this out my Trigger was up in it.
I washed it in the bathtub - did my cleaning and went to put the castle back in the tank and I saw a weird shape in my tub - it was my Trigger fish - I screamed and my daughter came running in and we carefully put him back
in the tank and he sank to the bottom - I cried and told my daughter to get the net - MUCH to my surprise - he swam away and hid - after an hour I decided to try and feed everyone and he came to eat and is just fine - I
think the Fish Gods were with me this weekend. I don't know if I could handle another fish death. Isn't it funny how attached we can get to a fish?
<Life attracts, embellishes life eh Cecilia?>
Have a really great weekend
Cecilia Lester
Paris Texas

Two (simple I hope) questions): Low-light Corals needing High Light and Niger Trigger/Clownfish Buddies! 1/15/09
You guys and gals are the best!
Two quick questions, this time.
I got some low light corals from a LFS who has 400W MH lights on their tanks. I had power compacts.
First, the corals did not open until I got a MH. Is this to be expected?
<Mmm, if they were photo-acclimated to different quality, intensity light, yes... all organisms have such "range" and varying adaptability>
In other words - if corals that generally are low light corals (including mushrooms, etc.) reside in a high light tank (as in the LFS) - will their light demands remain high once switched to a more appropriate lower light tank by a buyer?
<Mmm, no... not "remain" as in most all can be "re-adapted" to new (though sufficient) light conditions... Please read here:
and the linked files above>
This seems to be the case in my tank. Is this odd?
<Not odd at all>
Second, have you ever heard of, or seen a Niger Trigger and a (black) false percula clown being "best friends"?
The strangest and sweetest and most unusual thing has been going on for several days in my FOWLR tank. The clown is treating the measurably larger Niger trigger like a buddy and vice versa! The clown is shadowing him and flitting all around and even grooming the trigger who keeps his spike down, stays still while it is going on and seems to enjoy it!
Is this unprecedented?
<Nope... captivity makes "strange bedfellows" at times... Not often permanently>
He is a shy trigger and not aggressive at all, but this is totally unexpected for me!
There is only one other fish in that tank - a Coral Beauty Angel - and no other clown. Does this clown think the Trigger is just another clown?
<Maybe... or another of whatever it considers itself to be>
They were together for a few months before this started happening.
Baltimore, MD
<BobF, Kailua, Kona>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Niger Triggerfish/Compatibility And Trouble Ahead  12/16/08 Hello, Hi Brian> I have a question about the Niger trigger and reef compatibility. I have heard and read many conflicting things about this fish. I just got a 2" Niger Trigger for my 120g reef tank. <Yikes!> Currently I have 1 Rose Bulb tip Anemone, 1 Green Bulb Tip, 2 Flower Anemones, a feather duster, yellow suns, various Palys, zoos and mushrooms. I also have an orange sponge, toadstool leather, 2 types of candy coral, 2 types of torch, 2 types of frogspawn, hammer, and bird's nest corals. For my livestock, I have a Tuxedo Urchin, 2 serpent stars, a sea hare, 2 a mated pair of percula clowns (1 black, 1 regular), 1 Chalk Basslet, 1 Tiger Jawfish, 1 Pearly Jawfish, 1 Purple Firefish, 1 Diamond Goby, 1 Neon Cleaner Goby, <Brian, docile fish such as the Jawfish and gobies do not belong in the company of a triggerfish. As this trigger grows you will have problems with this matchup.> 1 Christmas Tree Wrasse, 1 Sailfin Tang, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Pink Cucumber, 3 Queen Conch's and many snails and now the Trigger. <You can probably cross off the snails on your list. Shouldn't take too long for the trigger to put these on his plate along with the Peppermint Shrimp for dessert.> I was assured by the owner of the store that he would be fine in my tank as he is so small. He has a larger Nigger Trigger in his 120g display reef tank and has never had a problem. <Very rarely will this occur. Triggerfish are generally aggressive and are not safe in a reef tank and are more suited for a rough and ready fish only tank. The risk is yours to take. Do read here and relate articles and FAQ's, it should change your mind quickly. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm> I would just like to get another opinion as there is a lot at stake if this fish is indeed not reef safe. Thanks for your time!! <You're welcome, and please capitalize all names of fish and invertebrates in future queries. Saves us time if we do not have to do it. James (Salty Dog)> Brian Van Allen
Re: Niger Triggerfish/Compatibility And Trouble Ahead 12/17/08
Thank you for answering so quickly. <You're welcome.> I just have 1 more question. Is there a chance that the Trigger could harm any of my corals, and if so, which ones are more at risk? <Yes, and they all could be at risk. Triggerfish are great at rearranging rock in the tank and any rock a coral may be on can be overturned or fall causing damage to the coral(s). Believe me, you will just be asking for trouble keeping this fish in a reef aquarium, especially with the inhabitants you have. Not worth the risk. James (Salty Dog)> Brian Van Allen

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

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