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FAQs about Odonus niger Triggerfish Health

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

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

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

Niger Trigger mouth       6/19/15
Hello! I have a Niger Trigger. Beautiful fish!! He eats and swims normal, however I've gradually notice an issue with its mouth. The lower part of his mouth has a little pink mass in it. At first I thought it was food, but it's been there for nearly a week. It's not his teeth. It looks similar to having a pinch of Big League Chew in your mouth, and you don't close your
mouth. Again, it eats normal (plankton, krill, etc) and I even put clam on a half shell in the tank so it can keep the teeth short. But this pink mass has me worried.
<Likely resultant from a physical trauma... Nothing to do directly... will likely heal on its own in time... Balistids are very tough. Optimized and stable circumstances are what is called for. Bob Fenner>

sick fish; SW...         11/10/14
I have a 75 gallon fish only aquarium with 5 fish.
<Other fish species?>

The niger trigger has been in my tank about 10 years and has been in excellent health and beautiful condition until recently. It disappeared for about a month and I thought it was dead, but it just reappeared. The fish is now laying on the bottom of the tank breathing rapidly.
<... what did you feed this fish over this decade?>
It can swim but seems to have a problem with its swim bladder because its swimming is very erratic<ally> and it mostly just lays on the bottom or locks itself against a rock. This has been going on for about a week and the fish doesn’t appear able to swim normally or eat. It otherwise looks perfect. There are no lesions on its skin or fins and other fish are not bothering it.
I would like to treat the fish (tank) if it might be productive.
<... not likely>

I considered removing the fish so it won’t die in the tank and cause a problem. Also I’m concerned that if it has an infection it might get worse and spread.
Do you recommend treating it? If so, with what medicine?
Please advise.
Thank you,
Stephen Berman
<Foods, feeding information please. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick fish        11/10/14

Thanks for your reply. I have been feeding the fish marine flakes of two varieties -- green and reef; also krill
<Mmm; not too much of this, exclusively I hope>
or mysis shrimp; also leaf algae on clip alternating brown red green. The Niger trigger eats everything. I soak with Zoe or Zoecon or both about once a week.
<Dang! All this is fine>
Other fish: Marion clown; marine Betta; yellow tang; cream Angel.
All fish very healthy. No fighting.
Water change 15%-20% every week or two weeks.
Stephen Berman
<Well; it may well be that this one fish ate "something" in the tank that resulted in its hiding... But, being older myself, I am hesitant to state it too plainly, but ten years is about a trigger's life span. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: sick fish        11/10/14

Thank you for your advice. I will keep a close eye on the fish and remove it if it looks like it is hopeless. I see that there are a lot of antibiotic treatments for aquaria. I am going to avoid medicating the tank unless I get a clear recommendation.
If it passes away we will get another trigger, probably a small one, and/or a flame Hawkfish (another previous occupant of the tank and family favorite).
<Sounds mighty fine. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Added Blue throat Triggerfish, lost Niger     5/27/12
Hope all is well and you are having a good holiday weekend.
<Thank you>
I wanted to touch base with you.  I was busy this morning and had not looked at the tank yet.  Came home and started my weekly water change and after I had the water out of the tank, I noticed my Niger Trigger floating upside down.  All other fish appeared fine. 
The Niger has been the dominant one in the tank and last night was no different.  I do feed frozen foods and alternate with NLS pellets.  Last night I fed NLS pellets.  I assume the Niger died over night or  early this morning and I did not notice.  I am not sure why.  Do you think it could be a blockage from NLS pellets?
<Doubtful... have never heard of an account...>
I am just wondering what it could be.
<Do you still have the fish? Might be worthwhile to "open it up", take a look>
My tank is 150 gallon FOWLR.  Been up for over two years now.
The fish now in the 150 are:
24" snowflake eel - 26 Months
7" Porc puffer - 24 Months
7" red breasted wrasse - 13 months
6" banana wrasse - 6 months
4" Blue Hippo Tang. 2.5 months (had this for 2 years before in a smaller tank)
The 4" Niger Trigger was in there for 6 months too.
<Very strange>
I did have a Blue throat that I had in the tank for 2 weeks and had to take out due to the Niger.  I took him out around 3 weeks ago and put him in my 55 gallon QT.  I am going to move him back to the display now since the Niger is gone.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Added Blue throat Triggerfish     5/27/12

I put the fish in a bag and then in the freezer.  what should I look for?
<The gut, contents... if you had a copy of Ed Noga...>
Any ideas of what it could be?
<Unfortunately, no>
The fish seemed perfectly fine last night while we were watching the tank.
<An "anomalous loss"... not satisfying description. BobF>

Injured Niger trigger... no rdg.   1/23/11
Hey crew!
I recently noticed my Niger trigger had a few "wounds" I'm guessing from a run in with a snowflake eel.
<Mmm, unusual if so. More likely an altercation with itself, swimming into rock, the side of the tank>
I was able to catch him and put him in a hospital tank. I'm wondering what I should treat the tank with to help keep out infections/aid in healing.
<... worthless. Search WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Niger Trigger, hlth./appearance concerns    1/23/12
Attached are some pictures of my Niger Trigger.  He is around 5" long.  On his left side, he has brown marks that look like he scraped against rocks.
<I see them and likely so>
 Those are not a concern to me.  However, over his left eye, he has a white dot that looks like a grain of sand that his been there for two days.  On the top of his head there is some white that looks like powder.
<I see this/these as well>
  I am not sure if these are items to be concerned with such as Ich or anything else.
<Can't really tell w/o microscopic examination... let's see what else...>
My display is a 150FOWLR.
I also have:
24" snowflake eel
7" porc puffer
7" red breasted wrasse
6" banana wrasse
The Niger trigger and banana wrasse were both added around 6 weeks ago.  I had them in a 55 gallon QT for around 8 weeks.  I did treat with Quinine Sulfate and Prazi Pro in the QT just in case.  I never saw signs of parasite.
<Good data>
All the fish eat well.  The Niger does chase the banana wrasse sometimes, but the banana wrasse seems to taunt the Niger.
<I'd do nothing to treat these symptoms... Likely as you state this Odonus has just scratched/damaged himself. This condition should heal itself w/ in days to a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Re: Niger Trigger   1/23/12
Thank you.
I will continue to observe and write back if anything changes for the worse.
thanks again,
<Thank you Mike. A further note: Though the marks on the body may indicate the presence of Protozoal parasites, the obvious good health of your other livestock, leads me to the decision that I wouldn't risk further trouble by administering medicines here. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Niger Trigger  1/23/11
thanks again.
I am not the best photographer, but while trying to take pics of the Niger, I got a few of the others too.
<Ah, thank you for sharing. B>

Niger Trigger Cloudy eye  10/25/11
Hey Crew,
I just noticed today that my small trigger has a slight cloudy eye, I don't know if I just caught this problem early or if he just mildly injured it.
My trigger and dwarf angel seem to nip at each other a few times a day. I'm wondering if maybe his eye got nipped or when he bolts back into the live rock when someone runs into the room, could he have bumped into a rock?
<Much more likely this latter than the former>
But my main question is, if his eye condition worsens what can I do?
<Not much... just maintain good conditions, nutrition... Should heal on its own>
I'd basically have to take down my entire tank to catch him, so are there any medications I can use in the main tank?
<Neither is necessary or advised>
Also water conditions checked out fine.
Thanks Crew!
<Welcome. BobF>

quarantine of niger trigger -- 4/12/10
Hi guys,
I've got a 2" Niger Trigger in a 10 gallon quarantine. It's been there for 2 days, with the water at 77 F, salinity at 1.022,
<... too low>
and ammonia levels at around 0.25ppm (Do these seem alright?
<Mmm, no>
The filter's a bit new since this is my first quarantine,
<Needs to be pre-conditioned... cycled... See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/quarsysfiltrfaqs.htm>
and I'm planning to do a 10% change a day. He spent literally the entire day today hiding in a ceramic mug I put in. Is it normal for Niger Triggers to be this shy?
One last question. Should I have a cover over the tank?
<I would, yes>
I don't have lights for the tank, just have the tank under a lamp in the living room.
<No need for light>
Thanks so much!
Charley Teng
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Niger trigger help! Crypt, other induced prob.s    4/6/10
Hi WWM crew!
<Hi Charley>
I've got a dilemma and it's really scaring me. I've got a 55 gallon (150 set up in the house we're moving to in a month...or so the bank says.
Anyways within 4 months) with a 3 1/2 inch Trigger, 3 inch Coral Beauty, and a Yellow Tang.
It used to be just the Coral Beauty, Yellow Tang, and 2 aquarium bred Clowns (that wouldn't move toward the two anemones...idiots).
<55 gallons is way too small for these fishes>
But I was dumb and didn't have a filtration system, assuming the protein skimmer would be enough.
<Should be, as long as you also have adequate biological filtration as well, in the form of live rock>
Sure enough, the Coral Beauty got some severe white spots all over the front of its head, though the Yellow Tang didn't have anything and I'm not really sure about the Clownfish.
<This sounds like a protozoan infestation, probably crypt. Have you read/ looked around here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm>
Anyways, I installed a sump, added two Cleaner Shrimp and the Niger Trigger.
<Without quarantine? And 55 gallons is far too small for your present fish, yet alone this one which will grow longer than your aquarium is wide><<... and the Trigger will eat the shrimp... RMF>>
The Cleaner Shrimp went nuts over the tank <?> and the Coral Beauty is as good as new.
<Please capitalise the names of these animals in future Charley, I am spending some time going through these.. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wwmadminsubwebindex/question_page.htm>
In fact it's colour is even more beautiful! Unfortunately, the protein skimmer stopped working. The bottom chamber generates...bubbles or foam, but the top chamber is not getting any bubbles to come out. And so the outlet of the protein skimmer is just shooting out bubbles and protein.
<? You need to get this sorted out pronto. Will cause poor water quality, especially since your tank is overstocked>
So the main problem of all this (sorry it took so long to get here) is that although the Coral Beauty and Tang are great, the Niger Trigger is coated head to tail in white dots.
<Typical in tanks overstocked with fishes, w/ poor water quality and parasite infestations>
He's not shy, in fact he mostly sits at the top left of the tank (and dominates the entire left side of the tank too...no
one goes near him even though he's not bullying anyone either...I think they're just scared).
<Stress is adding to your problems here'¦ overcrowding>
I'm wondering if this is just flecks of protein that's being ejected from the skimmer (that he chills next to most of the
<Not likely>
or if it's Ick or some sort of parasite <this> that the Cleaner Shrimp could get off the Coral Beauty but not him.
<Cleaner Shrimps cannot remove most parasites from fishes. All they can do is provide a bit of relief. All of your fishes are infested whether they show signs or not.>
The Niger Trigger is my favourite fish, and I'd really like to see him get better.
<Then move him and the Tang to the 150, after treatment for parasites. And READ re: these infestations here on WWM.. you have much to take in>
Thanks for everything and this great site!
<No problem!>
Re: Niger trigger help! Parasites again  4/7/10

Hi Simon,
<Hi Charley>
Thanks for the help.
<No problem>
I'm desperately trying to set up a hospital tank, but I'm having trouble adjusting the pH (yeah I'm pretty new). I'm using calcium carbonate. Do you have any tips for how much to add per gallon?
<If you have the salinity at 1.025-1.026 then the pH should be fine for fish. Just make sure you acclimate them to it. If you like you can adjust the pH using baking soda http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-09/rhf/index.php>
I've got a scale that measures to the gram (a few decimals behind).
From what I've gathered, I can: freshwater+methylene dip
<You can>
bring salinity in the main tank to 1.017 (for the snails and shrimp etc.)
<No. Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm . This won't work>
use garlic foods as a food motivator/ immuno supplement
<Won't work either, but you could add some to the food if you like.. probably does nothing that a decent diet won't do 10 times over.>
and set up a hospital tank, and treat them with copper/quinine compounds.
<Yes. Quinine is my current fave, and you have a Coral Beauty. These cannot 'take' exposure to copper>
So I was wondering should I do all these at once?
<Most definitely not. Have you read where you were referred & the related FAQ's? All is posted many times>
And a really novice question, if I bring down the salinity should I adjust the pH of the water I add in or will the change be negligible.
<I would not mess with the salinity in either tank. All fish need to be removed and treated externally, in a large bare bottomed tank, with the main system left fallow for 8 weeks>
Lastly, just curious what are the chances that the Niger Trigger can fend against Ick on its own (don't worry I'm planning to do everything since now I'm going to run quarantine on all future fish; I just don't want to mess up
so I'm erring on the side of caution)?
<Usually this fish holds up well and does not show any external signs at all. The others are far more prone to have problems with these infestations. But the Trigger will not be able to fend the parasite off. It will exist, and irritate, in the gills>
Thanks again!
<No worries>
Charley Teng

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>

Niger Trigger, hlth, env., no reading  10/2/2009
I have had a Niger Trigger for about 10 months and he has sopped eating and was hiding in his favorite spot till last night. he has wedged himself between rock and glass in the corner. the salinity is 1.021,
<Too low>
ammonia is .2
(lowest reading) nitrite is 0, nitrate .40
<Too high>
. i did a 15% water change last night.i have been treated the tank with Melafix. no new fish added . i have a blue damsel, dogface puffer, and a snowflake eel. everyone else is eating fine and showing no signs of
stress. what can i do? show i get him out and treat him? help Sean
<... For one, run your writing through a spell checker before sending it to us. For real, read on WWM re your toxic water situation and fix it. Maybe start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm
Scroll down to the tray headed by the yellow bar. 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 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. 3/27/2009

Nothing is being added to the water, that wouldn't have been in the system since he's been in the tank. At this point, he's still glancing away but I still see no signs of skin parasites/abrasions/ich.
He's still very active and eating well at all times, I'll keep you posted!
<Sounds good.>
Thanks as always, Ole.
<Welcome, have a good one. 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.>

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

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)> 

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

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

See why it's called "Red Tooth?"

Re: Marks on Niger trigger face  12/23/08
Good deal, thanks for alleviating my concern. I was pretty sure it was physical trauma but it's so hard to tell, I don't have a lot of experience of fish self abuse I guess.
<I have seen such "pitting" times before... does generally heal over in time>
Thanks for the compliment on the pictures, I recently bought a new camera and have been having a blast. I'm going to Hawaii January 31st, I'm really contemplating buying the underwater covering for it so I can get some fish pictures :)
<Ahh! I encourage you to purchase the housing, try your hand here>
I attached a couple of my favorite pictures I've taken over the last week I've had the camera. Feel free to use any of them you want, if you had a use for them, it's the least I can do for the help you provide.
<Thank you for sharing... I esp. like the pic of the young Sohal>
I didn't want to bog down the email with lots of pictures, but here's a couple links to the other noteworthy images, if you enjoyed the ones I attached you'll like the ones I've linked to.
My clown's chipped tooth!
I particularly like this feeding shot. I put a small Sohal tang into the mix a couple months ago and started feeding Nori, I didn't realize how much the triggers would dig into it. I cant even use the standard "Nemo" looking algae clip, the clown trigger is such a brute he just rips it right out, so I have to use my magnetic cleaning pad to hold the algae on. Anyway, I love
this shot :)
Well anyway, you get the idea, I'm a proud fish papa ;)
<Thank you for sharing Grant. Bob Fenner>

Re: Marks on Niger trigger face  1/1/09
Any other thoughts on what this might be on the face of my Niger. We had talked a week ago and both agreed it was just physical damage, but I'm really starting to wonder. In this current picture, you can see the pits are full of a white something and they definitely bump out from the skin for a little bit. I'm having a hard time believing this is physical damage, why would the center of the damage turn white and start protruding?
<Sign of healing... did you have an urchin in this system?>
Any other guesses would be great, OR just being told that you still think it is physical damage is great also :)
<I do still believe this is the latter>
For what it's worth, the Niger is still the picture of health otherwise.
His coloration is amazing, he swims actively and doesn't pace the tank or seem bored. He eats well and just seems like a really healthy "happy" fish, so I don't think the spots are harming him yet if they are parasitical in nature.
I'm concerned though that if they are parasitical, they could eventually take too much of a toll on him.
<I don't think these pits, damage are due to a parasite... Have "skinned" quite a few triggers, for science and consumption... their integuments are TOUGH!>
I'm not sure if I said this before in this set of emails, but I'm treating the tank right now with hyposalinity as I've been having ich problems. So if it is a parasite, I'm thinking it isn't one a FW dip will kill off, as right now the tank has been at 1.009 for 2 weeks straight. Although a FW dip is obviously stronger of a treatment than 1.009, but I would think over time the low salinity would kill most stuff that is killed by FW.
Thanks for any help you can provide.
<I'm not a fan of continuous hyposalinity as you'll see by perusing WWM... this might be a cause of trouble here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Marks on Niger trigger face ~ 01/01/09
No urchins in the system, never have and probably never will, I've been told most of the triggers or puffers will eventually bite all their spines off and kill them, or just flip them over and kill them. I'm not real thrilled about the idea of my fish being injured by the urchin either, so I've never kept one.
<I see... and am glad to realize your knowledge here>
Well I'm going to keep going at this as the trigger just damaged itself and is healing. It just seems weird to me because the white is protruding from the area of damage and just doesn't look normal, but it also doesn't look parasitic to me so I was just kind of at a loss for what it could be. It simply doesn't look "normal" to me ;) Not normal healing, not normal parasite, not normal anything, but we will see.
I'm not a real big fan of prolonged hyposalinity either and I read extensively through your site before deciding on it as a method of treatment. I basically don't have the time or resources to maintain all the quarantine/hospital tanks I would need for removing all 7 fish from the display and letting the main tank go fallow for 2-3 months. I'm in an apartment, not my own home, so I don't have a garage or anything like that, I'd just have to have tanks spread out all over or a big tub somewhere, it wouldn't work out.
<I understand>
So I'm trying hypo. I'll probably only do it another week or two, giving it a total of 1 month of hypo, then raise the salinity and see what happens. The nice thing is my golden puffer, who was really showing lots of ich, way more than the triggers, cleaned up and stopped showing ich within a week of dropping the salinity. I'm hoping when I return back to 1.025 I'll have kicked the ich, but I guess we wont know for another couple weeks.
I'm actually tempted to continue the hypo treatment for another month and a half.
<May prove too hard on your livestock... damages the kidneys mostly>
I'm going to Hawaii at the end of January and wont be back until the middle of February, so the guy I have who is going to be feeding my fish and stuff would probably have a lot easier time of it if my fish weren't dying of ich. If I leave the tank at 1.009 (I have auto top off so the guy in charge while I'm gone wont have to try to maintain low salinity) while I'm gone, then he doesn't have the be checking the fish for ich, or trying to remove them to a hospital tank if they do have it. He definitely isn't a fish person, but he is reliable so I'm trusting him to be my feeder buddy.
As long as I've got your ear... from what I remember reading on WWM, you didn't like long term hypo as you felt it disturbed their sexual reproduction organs and caused them to not ever develop, or something along those lines.
<Mmm, must be someone else>
What exactly is long term? Are we talking more than a month?
More than a week? A day? Or anything more than just a FW dip?
I've really got to get this ich kicked once and for all, it's frustrating and the hypo has really been easy to maintain and it seems to be doing good.
<As you state, "we shall see". Cheers, BobF>

Re: Marks on Niger trigger face ~ 01/01/09
All right, well in 2 weeks I'll have ran the tank in hypo conditions for a month total, I'll start raising the salinity then. My plan is to take a week to go from 1.009 to 1.025. That isn't too quick is it?
<Is about right... i.e., can be done>
I read a lot about people saying not to raise salinity by more than .001 a day, but the problem I have with that is I get fish from the LFS in tanks at 1.019 and my tank is usually 1.025, I drip acclimate them for an hour and then put them into quarantine and they seem just fine, so that is .006 raise in salinity over an hour and they seem fine. It seems to me going by that logic that I could raise from 1.009 to 1.025 in a week, right?
Thanks for all you do, by the way. I've learned a lot in my pursuit of the hobby and most of it has been through your website. Most of my own hands on knowledge I have wouldn't be possible without having had followed the things you recommend on WWM, I really do appreciate what you guys do. It's crazy, I don't know many, if ANY, other services I could email on New Years and actually get an answer from, especially an intelligent answer :) You and your crew's dedication helps keep me dedicated and loving the hobby, so for
that, thanks Bob.
<Welcome my friend. BobF>

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

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