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FAQs about Rhinecanthus Triggerfishes 1

Related FAQs: Rhinecanthus Triggers 2, Rhinecanthus Trigger ID, Rhinecanthus Trigger Behavior, Rhinecanthus Trigger Compatibility, Rhinecanthus Trigger Selection, Rhinecanthus Trigger Systems, Rhinecanthus Trigger Feeding, Rhinecanthus Trigger Disease, Rhinecanthus Trigger Reproduction, Triggerfishes in General, Triggerfish: Identification, Selection, Selection 2, Compatibility, Behavior, Systems, Feeding, Diseases, Triggerfish Health 2Reproduction,

Related Articles: Triggerfish, Rhinecanthus Species, Red Sea Triggerfishes

Rhinecanthus aculeatus in the Cook Islands.

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums

Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Humu Aggression? Incompatibility with parrot fish (Scarus), Incredibly Poor Purchasing Choices 10/26/05 Hey, I have a 90 gallon FOWLR with about a 7in rainbow parrot.  <Wow, a Scarus guacamaia? Talk about tank buster at a potential 50 inches!! Definitely not suited to private aquaria.> He was in there for about 3 weeks. I recently purchased a 7 inch Humu Humu.  <A risk? To say the least.> They seemed fine for two days. The third morning I was looking for the parrot, to my surprise I eventually find him floating behind rocks with an eye ripped out, and pieces of his body bitten into.  <Mmm, while I am sorry to hear of the passing of your specimen I am not surprised.>  I was told that parrot fish can live with a Humu Humu, is this wrong, or is this trigger crazy?  <Triggers have varying personalities, one trigger can be docile the next can be the Boston strangler?..its always a gamble, always a risk mixing triggers and anything else really? Nest kept a single specimens.>  <<When speaking of the Humu, take Adam's admonitions seriously - I once cared for a juvenile Humu who literally stalked me around the tub (3K gallon holding tub) - I had to take very real care that he didn't sample me.  MH>> What fish do you recommend I consider for this guy? <In this size tank? And now that he is alone, this trigger will likely not tolerate any tank mates at all.> Thanks a lot. ~Sam <Adam J.> 

That Old Triggerfish Compatibility Question!  9/22/05 Hi, <Hi Adam J with you this morning.> I have a 56 gallon tank, full of live rock, live sand, ample filtration   and water current....i have two damsels, Humbug and Southseas Devil....and a   Yellow Tang <This fish is (or will be) much too large for this system, US 100 gallons minimum for any tang, and even larger for some.> .....but I've always loved Triggerfish especially Picasso's! I've   seen a really perfect tiny one at my local shop, and would like it! Is this a huge mistake? <Each trigger had his/her own personality, this fish could be a saint and get along with everyone else or it could be a terror from the get-go…..It could also be a saint as a juvenile and then "snap" when it gets bigger.  Unfortunately I will have to advise against purchasing it do to its potential size at nearly 12", this tank buster will need a tank in the 100-150 gallon range.> I know the damsels could end up as a meal, but then I've also read  the Southseas devil is a good companion for a trigger with its added   belligerence! Is a Tang a good match for a Trigger? I also know my tank isn't an   ideal size, but I am going to get a far larger one in the future! <Wait for the upgrade.> would love to  see what you think! <Adam J.>

Picasso Trigger 7/24/05 Hello Bob. <M. Maddox tonight - long hair too, but a couple of years younger> I would like to thank you all for the helpful information that you share. <You're welcome> I have a Picasso Trigger in a 38g tank with over 50 lbs. of live rock. This is just a temporary thing until I have the space to accommodate something larger. It was a risky purchase because it's only about an inch long, but I figured it suited the small tank and the price was right. It eats well and often. <Good, good> How long do you think It can stay in this tank? <Until it reaches 3" or a little less> Should I move some of the rock to another tank? <I would to give it a bit more room> How long do you think it will take it to reach about 5 or 6 inches? <1-2 years, depending on how much it's fed> I don't doubt that the space may affect its temperament, but will it affect overall size or growth? <Will not affect speed, if it's kept in a tank too small for too long it will artificially stunt the growth that will result in severely reduced lifespan or death> I plan to eventually put it in a 75g with a lot of live rock. Potential tankmates that I am considering are a Moon Wrasse (Thalassoma lunare) and a Harlequin Tuskfish. Do you have any other suggestions? Thanks in advance for all of your time. <You're going to need something larger than a 75.  Consider a 150, as an adult Picasso attains 10", much less the wrasse and the Tuskfish, which will be fine tankmates provided they're housed in a large enough aquarium> Jeff Crowder <M. Maddox>

Dave/Luigi is now "Steve" - Picasso Trigger Questions (4/22/05) Hi and hello my name is (STEVE)  <Me too>  and I have been looking for a great fish to go in my 110-gallon tank no need to worry it has been setup and everything is up and running. Actually I had a fish in mind already that is the Picasso Triggerfish and I have some questions that I hope you may help me. Okay, are they good fish for beginners?  <I personally think so, as long as you do your homework and strive to provide proper conditions and tankmates.>  What is it that they eat?  <Pretty much anything meaty, which is why they are not reef-safe. To quote: "The Humu Picasso Triggerfish needs a varied diet of meaty foods including; squid, krill, clams, small fish and hard shelled shrimp to help wear down their ever growing teeth." I fed mine chunks of "seafood gumbo mix" from the Albertson's fish counter.>  Do they require good water?  <All fish do. Triggers as a whole are indeed hardier than average.>  Are they aggressive?  <Yes, but less so than you average Trigger. They need tankmates that can hold their own in an aggressive predator tank, and should probably be one of the last fish added.>  What fish may they live with?  <Check the compatibility chart at www.liveaquaria.com for some general ideas. You will note that none of the fishes there are considered definitely compatible. They're either labeled as "not compatible" or "caution required." Larger Wrasses and Tangs, Hawkfishes, Snowflake Eels, and Rabbitfishes are examples of potential tankmates.>  How big can they get in a tank?  <8-10", but they grow rather slowly, perhaps only an inch per year.>  And are they generally diurnal or nocturnal?  <Diurnal. They sleep at night wedged into the live rock.>  Thanks I really would like this fish in my tank but I'll wait and hear back again (STEVE).  <Do read more about them. I sense from the sort of questions you ask that it would be a good idea for you to research more. Decide exactly what mix of fish you want before adding anything. Add the most aggressive/territorial last. Steve Allen.>

Fading trigger Hey guys, is it normal for a three inch humu humu trigger to fade to real light in color.  He's been in the tank for three days now and I have a 65g.   Sometimes he's real vivid and dark, other times he's real lite and dull, sometimes *change is drastic in short period of time. Thanks <Isn't abnormal at all... Balistids do rapidly change color in response to mood, environmental conditions. Bob Fenner>

A Very Small Aquarium, 1.14.05 First of all, a very cool website!  I have a Huma trigger fish and a clownfish (both about 3 inches long) in a 10 gallon salt water tank.   <Oh my.  You'll need hundreds of gallons to support a trigger, and soon.> The clown fish is fine, but the Huma trigger has been uncharacteristically hiding and lying down (as they do when they are resting) for most of the day and night.  He gets up to swim every once in awhile, but has reduced his food intake.  Recently, 2 sea urchins in my tank died.  I have done 2 partial water changes since then (but not too close together) and the specific gravity is fine, yet the Huma trigger has not recovered fully.  What else can I do to help him out? <He needs fresh foods, lots of water movement, and great water quality.  I'd need results from a water test to explain exactly what's causing his stress...But I can tell you that the likelihood of keeping him alive in such a small space is low.>    The clownfish is fine and it seems strange that the Huma trigger is acting so sick.  His colors are still good, and he has no signs of infection such as white patches, etc. <Likely water quality.> Also - a question out of curiosity - I noticed that you often recommend very large aquariums for salt water tanks.  Could this be part of my problem?  I have had this aquarium set up since last March, with no real problems up until now. <Yes, larger tanks have more water, which help to dissolve pollutants before they can kill your livestock.  I highly recommend a larger tank for both of the fish under your care.  Good luck, Ryan>

Sexing Picassos Hello Bob <Dan> This is the first time visiting this site and so far very impressed.  I have learned many new things about my Picasso triggerfish and ways of treating problems should they arise.  I do have one questions for you.  Can you visibly tell a male trigger from a female? This has just been something I've wondered about for some time. Thank you Dan <Some species of triggers are distinguishable on sight, but I am not aware of any external differing characteristics by sex in Rhinecanthus. Bob Fenner> Grouper Grudge Hello all.  Sorry to be constantly asking you questions.  I am a very curious person and you all seem to be one of the only well-versed and reliable sources available (not that I don't also like you and appreciate the work, but you understand the difficulty in finding reputable information I'm sure). Just a quick question this time.  I have a four inch or so Huma, had him about a year now, and I was just wondering- when you say they are very very slow growers, exactly how long should I expect for him to take to become a sizeable specimen?  It seems like he's only grown an inch or so.  It's hard to tell since I see him everyday and it happens so slowly, even though he eats more than any other fish I own.  My concern is that I acquired a small (maybe 2 inches at the time) miniatus grouper who is rapidly putting on size, already about three plus inches.  The trigger has completely dominated him thus far.  Though they do not cause any harm to one another, the trigger has certainly asserted himself as the top dog (or fish) in the tank.  I can see how this may become a problem as the bitter miniatus has a mouth that will probably soon be able to fit around this long-term enemy.  Should I be concerned?  Is my grouper going to hold a grudge? thanks again. Reuben >>>Hello again Rueben, nice to hear from you. If you had a very small trigger, say 1", then it would be difficult for me to predict exactly what would happen here, but I can guarantee you it would be one of two things. One, the grouper, having been raised with the trigger, would grow larger and leave the trigger completely alone. Often, when a predatory fish is raised with another, smaller fish, (especially a more aggressive one) the predator will not consume the fish when it finally gets large enough to do so. It doesn't see the fish as food, just another part of it's environment. It's acclimated to the other, smaller fish's presence. The other possibility, things would be fine for a long time, then one morning you will wake up minus your trigger. Now, since your Huma Huma is already 4", you have little to worry about. Although they are a SLOW grower, as I said before. (about an inch a year, as you have witnessed) they are a tough mouthful. It will be quite some time before the miniatus is large enough to even THINK about ingesting a trigger of this size, and your trigger will continue to grow. No worries. It would take quite a large grouper (by aquarium standards, say14"), to eat a trigger of that size I had a 3" Huma Huma with a 9" miniatus for quite a long time. Cheers

Picasso Trigger HELLO! As I know Picasso Trigger needs plenty of room to swim, but would it be ok if I put it in a cube tank as an only inhabitant? Is length of the tank major factor of swimming space or capacity? Best regards     Darek >>>Hey Darek,   Among the triggers, the genus Rhinecanthus represents some of the slowest growers. If you put a 3" individual in a tank that size, you'll be set. He will not outgrow that tank in your lifetime. :)For one thing they only get to 10" or so in the wild, and in captivity 8 or 9" is more realistic, and it takes years for them to get there.   When you need figure how appropriate a given tank is, you need to be concerned with real estate more than gallonage. A 12"x12" tank that is 20 feet tall will have quite a bit of volume, but no swimming space for the fish. That's a bit of a silly example, but you get the idea.   Jim<<<

Picasso Running Scared? (9/6/04) Hi, <Hello. Steve Allen here.> I would like to ask your crew a question regarding my Picasso trigger. He or she has been a hardy specimen for some time now. I recently added two puffers to his tank which already had a clown. He (the Picasso) quickly asserted himself as alpha male within minutes. They have been getting along <or putting up with one another> now for some time (a couple of weeks maybe).  I have always fed him from my hand and he has always been a good eater. <Haven't been bitten yet, eh? Can happen & hurts.> The two puffers have also been eating from my hand also, especially the porcupine. This last Saturday, I got up to feed them, a little later than normal, and found the Picasso hiding in the coral he normally sleeps in and the dog face puffer had changed color. They both have not responded to my feeding. The porcupine is still eating well but I can't get the Picasso out of his hiding place. He now has started coming out very slowly and does not eat well. He will NOT eat from my hand anymore.  He also stays in his hiding place all day long. He has hardly eaten anything.  The dog face is starting to eat again from my hand and is starting to be himself again. Except today the dog face blew himself up for no apparent reason. I am concerned about this behavior from my Picasso, this is not how he used to act. I am planning on buying a new tank next week for all the other fish except the Picasso. <A big one, I hope. These puffers will grow to over 10" and will need plenty of room.> I read that these triggers can be a little aggressive as they age. <Not as bad as Clowns, but all Triggers get more aggressive as they grow/age.>  Will this behavior end soon and what do you suppose happened. <Hard to say, but it sounds as if they may have had a nasty tussle.> I have a 60 gal. tank and all chemistry is excellent. The new tank I am buying will be 120 gal. <Good>  Any help would be greatly appreciated. <How big/old the Trigger? You may need to house it in quarantine while getting the Puffers into your new tank. Keep an eye out for any symptoms suggesting infectious our toxic ailments as well. It does seem to me that the solution here is separation.> Thanks, Mike Jamison <You're welcome. Good luck.>

PICASSO TRIGGER QUESTION Hi, <Hi Rob> I'm new to the site, and couldn't really find a way to contribute to the forums (though I accept this could be pure ineptitude on my part)<You should just dive in and post Rob.> so I thought I'd try an email. I have a 55 gallon currently housing 3 yellow-headed Jawfish, a long-nosed Hawkfish, and a coral beauty.  A friend of mine has been keeping a tiny Picasso for me (about 1-1/2" - he keeps it now with another, quite dominant Picasso of the same size), which I am debating adding to the setup. I'll be prepared to move the Picasso when it outgrows the tank, but I do not particularly want any dead Jawfish or Hawkfish. <While Picasso's I've been around for the most part are not supremely aggressive fish all triggers are potential trouble. That being said I think they are wonderful fish but I really think the Jawfish would become a snack as the Picasso gets larger.> Would adding the trigger to the tank be a lethal decision? I will soon have the capability to move the Jawfish to another tank. <If you move the Jawfish it might work okay. I think the Hawkfish should be okay.> All the information I've found so far says it may or may not be, and I haven't been able to find any specialized info. I really appreciate any help you can provide. Many thanks, Rob <My concern is that the most docile of triggerfish can be a problem. I remember a story, I'm pretty sure its on the website of a trigger who was great until he accidentally bit a damsel then ate them all as he learned they were edible. The point being accidents can and do happen and you might have a problem with any fish and a trigger. That being said many people do have successful fish only tanks with triggers.  Generally they put them with a bit more aggressive fish and definitely not something like a Jawfish.  Good luck, MacL>
Thanks for the reply. <You are very welcome.> I've been wracking my brain over this for a while.  I don't want to endanger my Jawfish, but I've become quite attached to the Picasso. <I can understand that they are amazing fish.> I can't think of anything else I would want to add to a tank. <Sometimes your heart just gets set on one particular type or indeed one fish.> So, I've got another question.  How long do you think the trigger (still at 1 1/2") could stay coexist with the Jawfish (about 2 1/2" at the moment)? <That is such a tricky question. They could get along forever and never have a problem. Or the Jawfish could get scared and start hiding immediately and never recover. > I could move the Jawfish pretty soon, but if they'll be okay for a while I'd like to save up for a compact lighting fixture. <understandable. I guess the big thing is that you are taking a chance putting them together. The question is whether its worth the chance. Sorry don't mean to seem wishy-washy with the answer here but seriously it could work or it might not work at all. I would hate to tell you they could go together and then see you have a problem.> Once again, great site and thanks for the help. <Thanks for the kind words.> Rob <Good luck Rob>

Picasso Aficionado (5/24/04) Hi! <Steve Allen here> I plan to start a FOWLR system soon in my new home that will be ready next year. In the meantime, I'm doing a little research about Picasso triggers so that I can provide them with the best care that I can give. <Smart> I have loved Picassos ever since I saw a pic of one many years ago, even before I ventured into marines, and I plan to keep one in the new aquarium. <They're even cooler in the wild. You should try snorkeling in Hawaii.> Could you please tell me what the ideal size aquarium would be for just 1 Picasso - the only inhabitant. I have read about 75 gallons being the minimum, but some say that it's still too small. Would 100 gallons be big enough? <I disagree with 75, having observed this fish in the wild, and owning one myself. A six foot long tank would be the best. (I use a 180) This fish is very active and constantly swimming.> For filtration, I plan to use a wet/dry filter coupled with a protein skimmer and a refugium. I might also use some kind of mechanical filtration too. Is my choice of filters fine? <Get a top-quality skimmer. Money well-spent.> Which substrate is more natural to the trigger's home environment? Sand or crushed coral? <Either will do. A thin (1" or so) layer of crushed coral is easy to maintain by vacuuming. A deep sand bed may also work, but could be more difficult to maintain. I use the crushed coral and a remote DSB in a refugium.> Do triggers stir up sand beds? <They have been known to redecorate, including moving impressively large pieces of rock. BTW, there are suitable tankmates for a Picasso. Look into the Snowflake Eel.> Andrew Lee <Hope this helps. Keep up the research.> 

No such thing as a "REEF SAFE" Rhinecanthus aculeatus! Hi I'm considering buying a trigger fish to put in my reef aquarium - which I know would not usually be a good idea but the guy I would buy it from (private buyer) already has this particular trigger in a reef tank.  He seemed surprised to hear that they weren't reef safe and says this one has never touched his corals although he does admit to feeding it on very good quality food - cockles, etc rather than just flakes.  To add to this I don't have to just take his word for it because he's sent me pics of his set-up and in one of them the Picasso is swimming around with a great big coral in the background and a tiny damsel fish next to him. <It still is a GIGANTIC risk...adding this aggressive species of triggerfish could devastate an aquarium.> His set up is 5'/2'/2' whilst mine is only 2'/2'/2' - he selling up everything so I'm planning to buy quite a lot of coral off him (leather, mushrooms, cabbage etc) - his cleaning crew (7 hermits and a scarlet shrimp),<The shrimp will be eaten for sure> and a few fish: Lemon Peel Angel and Red Wrasse. <Wow... your aquarium is way too small...the lemon peel angel and red wrasse can be picked on by the triggerfish... or even killed>  If I did by all those fish I would get rid of my 3 green Chromis  (which were just starter fish anyway 6 months ago) which would leave me with an urchin, and yellow tang, a goby, one clown (maybe I need to get him a mate) and the above three fish.   Is this too much - my tank is 55-60 gallon (sump included - pretty big sump).<I would not add the Centropyge angelfish nor would I even consider adding the Rhinecanthus Aculeatus> I had read that some Picasso's - those with upturned mouths - are sometimes less aggressive. At the moment he is only 2 inches long - is there a chance he will turn more aggressive later. <most definitely> If so what I might consider doing is buying him now and setting up another smaller tank with just the Picasso in it (and a bit on rock obviously) - how big would that tank need to be?<at least 75 gallons for now> Thanks for your help - I know all the literature says triggers are "not reef-safe" but it was the one fish I've always wanted so when I decided to go reef I was very disappointed to find out I couldn't get one.  Have I found a reef safe trigger? <Negative, Good luck, IanB> Thanks again

Picasso Trigger tankmates Hello!  I have a 55 gal fish only saltwater setup.  It has a Penguin 330gph BioWheel,  SeaClone 100 protein skimmer, and a 300 gph powerhead.  The tank currently houses 3 damsels that are left over from cycling and a 2 1/2 inch Picasso trigger.  I would like to get rid of the damsels and provide the trigger with a compatible tankmate.  My LFS has suggested a harlequin tusk, possibly another wrasse species, or another trigger.  I'm new to saltwater and would love to hear your ideas on acceptable tankmates for my trigger. <I would either choose a small Pufferfish, or the Tuskfish. I would choose one not both, Good luck, IanB> Thanks in advance, Brandy

Assasi Trigger (12-28-03) Dear Bob, Cody here today!> I currently have a 90 gallon fish-only marine system.  For filtration I have a Filstar XP3 Canister Filter, a Whisper 4 a large protein skimmer and about 25lbs. of live rock.  The current inhabitants are a 4 inch Yellow Tang, a 3 inch Scopas Tang, a 2 inch Blue Damsel, and two 3 inch Clark Clowns.  I was wondering if I have room for a 2-3 inch Assasi Triggerfish? This will be the last fish added to the system.  Along with the Live Rock I have about 40lbs. of Lace Rock spread throughout the aquarium.  This will provide the other fish with some shelter in case the Triggerfish becomes aggressive.   If you are worried that any of the fish will be picked on,  have other aquariums that I can transfer them to. <You should be ok but just watch him as he gets bigger.  He will eventually need a larger tank but this should do for a while.  Cody> Thank you for your time, Sam Reef

- Trigger compatibility - Thanks Kevin, Also I was interested in finding out if a smaller Picasso trigger would be compatible in the mix as well as inches of fish for a 75 gallon, specifically with the semilarvatus butterfly, hippo tang and maroon clown (and a neon goby). <I would be most concerned with the trigger chomping the goby, it should be fine w/ the other tankmates. Tank size is a consideration though, and provided all these fish are only a couple of inches long, there should be no problem. The tang, butterfly, and trigger will all require larger homes some day, and it may be wise to wait until then to add the trigger.> I am gonna donate my Kole tang to the LFS because his mouth is damaged from shipping and he has a hard time eating. I wont have any invertebrates being that they're all pretty much gone from the hyposalinity I am currently practicing. <Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks again, Very much appreciated

- Assasi Trigger or Harlequin Tusk? Hawkfish-venomous? - First of all thanks for your time.  I have 2 quick questions. First I am having trouble deciding on getting either a Assasi Triggerfish or a Harlequin Tusk.  They are both on the higher side of the price range, but they are both beautiful creatures. In your opinion what is the better fish (personality, coloration, hardiness, easy feeding, social ability) for the money? <Depends on what else is going to live in the tank. The triggerfish will likely have more personality, is certainly smarter, but will grow large enough to consume many other occupants in the tank. The Tuskfish will top out at about a foot, perhaps a little less, but is a striking and interesting addition to any tank. Could still consume smaller fish in the tank, but it is less likely to become a terror.> Second, today I purchased my first Hawkfish at my LFS. The owner told me that Hawkfish are venomous. <Not to my knowledge.> This is the first time I have ever heard this. Is it true? <Don't think so, have heard this stated before, but have not seen any documentation. Hawkfish certainly don't behave like they are venomous.> Once again thanks for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

Assasi Triggerfish I have seen many pictures of this trigger and in every picture the trigger has bright orange eyes.  I was in my local fish store and they had an Assasi Triggerfish it was about 2 - 3 inches long and it didn't have the bright orange eyes I have seen in the photos, do you have any ideas why that would be? <Mmm, when they're small the eyes lack this coloring. Please see here on FishBase: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.cfm?ID=25420> The owner said it was from the Red Sea.  He said maybe it will get the color in its eyes as it gets older is this true? <Oh! Yes. Bob Fenner> Thank You

- Assasi Coloration - My question is about the Assasi Triggerfish.  I have seen pictures of this fish and it is so beautiful with the orange eyes and the green body. I was in a fish store the other day and they had one but it didn't have orange eyes and it had a white body. Does the color of this fish depend on where it is from? <It can vary... and sometimes just due to mood, but more often due to locale.> Because I hear they are from the Red Sea and other places. <Yes, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.> Could the fish I seen be from some other place instead on the Red Sea giving it another color? <Possible.> <Cheers, J -- >

- Lumpy Humu - Aloha WWM Crew, <Aloha.> Much mahalos for the wonderful service you provide.  I can't thank you guys enough for all your help.  I have a baby Humu which has a line (bump) that run from one side of his jaw to the other side (see attached pics). <Interesting.> I gave him a couple fw dips and quarantined him for a couple weeks before placing him into my transition tank (30gallon).  I was going to put him into my main display tank when I noticed the strange bump. All the levels in the tank are normal and I have been feeding him vitamin soaked food ever since I got him. What going on? <Really hard to say... I've seen similar lumps on related triggers like the Rhinecanthus aculeatus and your R. rectangulus but am still not sure of the origin. Think it could be one of two things: a subcutaneous swelling, perhaps from wedging itself into a tight spot. The other option, which is less inviting is a tumor. Both happen... and there's not really a whole bunch you can do for either one. I would just continue to keep the fish like any other pet and perhaps the lump will go away and perhaps you will name it Lumpy... as long as it's eating, you're both doing alright.> <Cheers, J -- >

Picasso Trigger (8-9-03) Hi, I have a small (2-3 in hard to tell though because the curved glass makes him seem larger but probably closer to two inch) Picasso trigger. Everything I have read says that Picassos are the nicest of the triggers<Certainly not the nicest, but not the meanest either.>...my girlfriends dad has a 7 inch Picasso trigger in a reef tank that he has had for 8 years and his trigger doesn't bother anything and he's got shrimp corals and small and larger fish. <He could probably sell that trigger for booku bucks.  There are a few reef safe types but these guys usually aren't one of them.> So I bought this small trigger and he absolutely mauled my fish.  I've heard lions and tangs can go with Picassos but is that only for these "tame" Picassos or is a trigger instinctively going to avoid a lion.  I would like either a fuzzy dwarf lion or a regal tang but don't want to kill them or if the lion could win don't want to kill the trigger...is my trigger doomed to be a species tank or can one of these fish go with the Satan Humu Humu?<I would say go for it, the tang and the lion are pretty tough customers, with the exception being the tang is a ick magnet and need a strict quarantine time before being added to the main tank.  Cody>

Scratching Picasso! Dear WWM Crew- My Picasso trigger constantly scratches in the sand and rocks he has no visible signs of disease or ick I've done 3 fresh water dips nothing works he's scratched him self up with wounds now please help! <Ack! Doesn't sound fun! It's Ryan helping today.  Triggers do this, to an extent.  This doesn't quite sound normal.  Unfortunately, without more info I can be of little service.  What size tank is this?  Have you made any changes in your water chemistry that may have caused this?  Is he a mature trigger with a history of this behavior?  There is much to be considered.   Please quarantine him if possible-in a glass bottom tank with little to no rock, ho won't be able to rip himself up too badly.  Just don't forget that with a fish like this in QT, daily water changes are mandatory.  Search the WWM FAQs- there is a ton about scratching triggers.  If you're still amiss, write us back with the details.  Hope this helps! Ryan>

Aggressive Assassi Hello, <Hi James, PF fielding your question tonight.> Searching the net for some answers, I found your site.  I recently purchased a young Assassi trigger for my 125 gallon tank.  He was my third "real" fish addition after letting it cycle - I had 9 damsels, a clown, a lawnmower blenny, in before.  A day after I purchased him, I bought a Jawfish.  Suffice to say, I have only 4 damsels left, and the Jawfish was torn to ribbons this weekend.  The clown and blenny seem fine, however, although I do not know how long that will last.  All of my research and questioning of fish specialty people, I was told I really shouldn't keep more than one trigger in a tank, but alas, if this keeps on, I'll be doomed to having one very aggressive Assassi only. Can you suggest some other triggers I could look for that would be...I guess, equally assertive in this large tank. (specs again were just 125 gallon, Hawaiian black sand w/ live black sand, no live rock). Any idea on puffer compatibility  - anything so I don't have a 1 fish show!! He was supposed to be the last one added, but now that he's decimated a number of damsels (at least he finishes his meals) and the Jawfish, the tank is looking sadly empty.....and he's only 2 1/2 niches! Thanks, James C. Graham <Well James, the humane thing to do would be to remove the other fish before they are eaten and find them a new home. That said, in my research on triggers the following words seem to come up like dandelions on a lawn: "best kept with no other triggers". Fish don't just recognize species, but general body build also. Just so you know, your little terror is going to grow into a bigger one, possibly to around 12". As for tank mates, something equally aggressive is in order. The Red, Spotfin, and Australian Dottybacks are all candidates. While smaller, they make up for it in attitude. These are the kinds of fish that attack divers (I wouldn't recommend you go sticking your hand in your tank either, a cleaning magnet is definitely in order). Avoid lionfish, while predaceous, triggers just tear them apart. In all honesty, I think a species tank would suit this guy best. If you want a community, I would recommend researching your choices more, after you return the trigger. Good luck, PF>

- Picasso Trigger's Eyes - Hello <And hello to you, JasonC here.> I just bought a Picasso and I noticed that at it's eyes' have a bluish tint at some angles and at others it has a greenish tint. However if it is facing me it's eyes are black. Is this normal <Yes.> Thank you for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

Trigger and Live Rock  3/30/03 hey again Phil<Hey Tyler!> If I bought a Huma trigger what is the smallest size fish I could keep with it?<This depends on the trigger.  I've seen some that are fine with smallish fish, others rip damsels apart in a few minutes.> Would he get along with a flame angel, clowns, full grown Firefish.<There's a good possibly that this should work out fine.  The tank is between 125 gallons... so that gives "appx." say 20 gallons per fish.  This is if you get 1 Angel, 2 Clowns, 2 Firefish and one Trigger.>   What's a good web site to buy live rock for cheap.<Hehe Cheep live rock??  Where? LOL!  Depends on what ya want.  I like Harbor Aquatics, but they do cost a bit more then other places.  But HA live rock has lots of life on it.  Read over our forums as we just had some posts about live rock.  www.wetwebfotos.com/talk  >   Thanks! Tyler<Hope this helps and good luck!! Phil>

Crunch and Munch (Feeding a Trigger Fish) Hello crew <Hey there, Scott F. here with you this evening> I was wondering if the Picasso would eat the frozen brine shrimp sold at fish shops or if it would be best to feed live brine? Also, do they eat turbo snails or any other 'cleaners'? <The Picasso trigger will certainly eat frozen and live brine shrimp, however, that's like you living on a diet of three musketeers. They certainly tasty, but they do not do a whole lot in nutrition. Brine shrimp does not offer a high nutritive value.  It's an excellent supplemental food, but should not be the basis of his diet.  Rather, I would feed this guy high quality frozen food such as Mysis, krill, chopped squids, clam, etc.  And yes, he will definitely eat snails and probably munch on your hermit crabs too.  Other than the fact that he will eat everything that goes in your tank, including your fingers, will rearrange your decor, dig in your sand, and tear the place up, he is a great fish.  Enjoy him!> Thanks for your time <Thanks for stopping in!>

Trigger Losing His Sight? Good Morning Guys <Scott F. your guy today!> Thanks for such an informative site. I have a question concerning a Picasso Trigger which has been part of the family for about 5 years. He has always been the picture of health and very responsive to my being in the room or nearby. Now here's the problem. He has what appears to be a vision problem. When I walk up to the tank he can see me. I know this because he comes running at feeding time. He comes to the top of the tank to feed but seems as though he cant see the food. The food can be right in front of him but he cant find it! The only way to feed him is by hand! So it seems as though he can see at a distance but not up close. He also has become very clumsy and disoriented at times. (i.e. running into the coral) I really would appreciate your thoughts on this . He has lost weight. Is this a result of not being able to find the food or is something else going on? Thanks again for your time. Randy S. <Well, Randy- hard to say...There actually is "nutritional blindness", generally brought on by (surprise!) dietary deficiencies. There are other possibilities, too: The fish could have had some sort of trauma to its eyes...? You should observe carefully...Make sure that the environmental conditions are stable and of high quality...This is an unusual occurrence, but it does happen...Usually, however, lack of response to environmental stimuli is indicative of some sort of water chemistry issue, in my experience...Hang in there, and take action as needed...Regards, Scott F>

Picasso Trigger Hi there, I have a small question regarding my baby pico.  I've had him for a month and he's been doing great, swimming all over, eating like no other...  This morning I saw a two small brown spots on the tip and side of his nose/mouth.  They eventually disappeared, but I don't know what they were.  He picks on the rocks all the time, searching for food and the other day I saw him scratch himself against the rocks.  Could the spots be just from his daily pickings?  I have 2 damsels in a 55 gallon with all the goodies, and I do a 25% water change weekly.  Any info/advice would be great.  Thanks Jon  <Just keep a close eye on him for know as these fish are very tough.  You need to quarantine all new fish in a separate tank for at least 3 weeks before adding them to your main tank.  For more info on quarantine and the trigger read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/rhinecanthus/index.htm Best regards Cody>

Trigger needs glasses Good Morning Guys                                                             Thanks for such an informative sight. I have a question concerning a Picasso Trigger, which has been part of the family for about 5 years. He has always been the picture of health and very responsive to my being in the room or nearby. Now here's the problem. He has what appears to be a vision problem. When I walk up to the tank he can see me. I know this because he comes running at feeding time. He comes to the top of the tank to feed but seems as though he cant see the food. The food can be right in front of him but he cant find it! The only way to feed him is by hand! So it seems as though he can see at a distance but not up close. He also has become very clumsy and disoriented at times. (i.e. running into the coral) I really would appreciate your thoughts on this. He has lost weight. Is this a result of not being able to find the food or is something else going on? Thanks again for your time. Randy S.  < Try soaking his food in a vitamin preparation such as American Marines Selcon.  Unfortunately this is a problem with many large/old captives. You won't be able to completely restore his vision but just keep it from getting worse.  Also make sure you are keeping up on your regular water changes.  Hope this helps, Cody> Re: Picasso Trigger Just a quick question......we're setting up a 29 gal marine tank......I'd REALLY like to get just one Picasso trigger (they're SOOOOO  cool)....will this tank be big enough for him? <No my friend. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm and the links to the genus Rhinecanthus triggers beyond. Bob Fenner>

HELP - Sluggish Picasso Trigger Hello, Over the past few days I have noticed changes with my Pecos Trigger.  Until recently the trigger has been very active, but now he has been spending a lot of time sleeping under the rocks.  I have even noticed him swimming past the power filter inlet and allowing himself to be sucked against the grate. Today when I go home from work I found him upside down lodged behind the overflow.  At first I thought he was dead but when I moved the box he swam away.  I checked my levels and found the following: Nitrates:            20 Nitrites:             0 Ammonia:         0 PH:                   8.8 Obviously I have allowed my PH to get way out of control so I instantly added the first dosing of marine buffer to get it back under control.  I have looked over the trigger and see no signs of other disease.  Would the PH be causing him to act sluggish and reduce the level of activity?  Any advice is appreciated. Stacey Hippen <Hi Stacey, Your pH is *high* at 8.8.  Are you sure it wasn't 7.8? Adding buffer to 8.8 water would raise it far too high. Of concern to me is your nitrate level.  I would perform adequate water changes to get your water to 8.3-8.4 pH and lower your nitrates to start. You might also try looking up your trigger at WetWebMedia.Com in the Google search engine to see if there is something you are missing.  Craig>

Trigger Happy! Hi, <Hello! Scott F. here!> I have some questions about my Picasso trigger.  I've had him almost a year now and he's about 4" in length.  He doesn't seem to have grown much (maybe 1/2") since I got him and was wondering if this is the normal growth rate in a 90g system. <Sounds about right...I'll bet he'll get a bit larger in this tank; it may take another 6 months to a year, but it will happen!> I feed him once a day and he eats plenty of frozen prawn, silversides, and a frozen minced preparation.  Should I feed him more frequently, like twice a day?  And does it have an effect on growth? <Well, I tend to favor small feedings twice daily. It's really a matter of personal preference, your judgment as to what is appropriate, understanding the needs of your particular fishes, and facing the potential consequences of feeding more frequently. Consequences? Yep- think about it...The more you feed, the more the fish need to eliminate waste into your system. This, in turn, means more attention to husbandry, such as water changes, protein skimming, and other aspects of aquarium maintenance. Yes- the fish will probably grow bigger, faster. But think- why would you want to push the growth? In closed systems, this can actually mean a shorter life span- the opposite of what we are trying to achieve, right?> How big can I expect him to get?  I've read your articles on feeding, but still felt the need to ask direct questions. <Certainly no problem to ask more questions! These fish can hit close to 10 inches as adults, but I rarely see them more than 6-8 inches. In fact, I've seen 'em off of Kona many times at about 5-6 inches.  Don't get me wrong- these guys can get big, however!> Also, is there a food on the market that would truly enhance his color? <I'd keep on feeding quality marine-based foods, such as krill, squid, silversides (like you're doing), etc.> I've tried Vibra Gro with no results.  As far as his eating goes, are there any type of anemones I could add to the system that he wouldn't see as dinner? <Well, I won't go so far as to recommend this- but I've seen one kept in a tank with a Condylactis anemone for a long time- and he's never taken any interest at all in the anemone. Does that mean that the fish will leave an anemone alone in your tank? NOPE! Each individual is different. Quite frankly, it's entirely possible for the fish to suddenly decide that an anemone is a tasty treat. On the whole, it's better to be more responsible and not chance inverts with these fish.> How about urchins, I was told a tuxedo (pincushion) urchin might be ok?  Would it be recommended since they're toxic? <Well, I'd have to say no. Why chance it? In fact, now that I think of it- there are a few frozen foods on the market just for triggers, which have urchin as a major component. And, you can actually purchase frozen chopped urchin for feeding these guys-so it's a great food, but a lousy companion, IMO!> Sorry for the barrage of questions, and many thanks for your input! Tim <Any time, Tim. Sounds like the trigger is in very capable hands! Enjoy him! Regards, Scott F> Trigger Happy (Pt. 2) Scott, Great info, thanks so much for your response!  It was very informative and answered questions I've been wondering about since I've had him.  You guys are a terrific resource, invaluable really!  Keep up the good work, and on behalf of all "aquarists", THANKS. Tim <Really glad to be of service, Tim! Feel free to "query" us any time! Regards from your neighborhood fish nerd, Scott F>

Trigger Happy! Good Evening Everyone <Hi there! Scott F. with you tonight> Lately I have been trying to find information on Rhinecanthus lunula.  All I have come across is that it is rare, and is more docile than the rest of the Rhinecanthus species. I have checked the Marine Center, Fishbase and searched through Google and have not found anything. The owner of my LFS has a 10"-12" specimen that he says  is very aggressive and is not compatible with my fish and I just wanted to here what you guys thought about this before I made any moves on purchasing him, and then quarantining him for 4 wks in my 75gal aquarium. <Love that you're planning on quarantine for new purchases!> I have a 180 gallon aquarium (72" X 24" X 24") with a 200gal wet/dry, protein skimmer, 175lbs of Fiji, Tonga and Florida live rock, and 1" gravel bed (crushed coral). I keep my nitrates at 0-20ppm, nitrites 0, ammonia 0, and do a water change of 75 gallons every two weeks. The three inhabitants are: 13" Naso vlamingii, 9" Pomacanthus imperator (which is very belligerent) and a 4" Balistoides conspicillum. The LFS owner is selling this specimen at only $200-250, which I am assuming is a bargain since you said on your site that "they can be had for a few hundred dollars". Do you think the two triggerfish would be compatible? <To be quite frank- no! I would not try this. You have a large tank, but simply not large enough to try to keep two triggers together, particularly if the specimen in question has a mean streak in him! This would simply be too many large fish in (yep) too small an aquarium! You would need several hundred (like 500 gallons or more, IMO) gallons to attempt to keep several large fishes like this in the same system. If for no other reason, I wouldn't attempt this because of the copious waste matter that these guys produce. Besides, the "personal space" that these species will require to live anything close to a normal life span is huge> I have never tried this before so I do not have experience on keeping 2 triggerfish "under one lid". The only thing I can think about is keeping the clown trigger in the 75gal until he grows a few inches.  I don't think the trigger will pick on the angel but I don't know about the vlamingii tang because I am not familiar with the lunula trigger's aggression, but after all he is a trigger. <Well said! They can be perfectly nasty at any time!> Well I thank you ahead of time for your input on this matter. Ian Behnk <Ian- I'm so glad that you are taking time before you actually purchase to review the fish's long-term needs. I think he will be better off in his own large tank, where he can be the "top dog". Best of luck to you in your efforts with this fish!  Scott F.>

Re: Rhinecanthus rectangulus So I decided against the trigger. I decided it would be too messy (too much bioload) and would restrict potential tankmates more than I was willing to accept.  <Well put> I've come up with this fish list which I think represents an authentic Maui Biotope, although maybe not accurate according to normal depths for the fish, but there are the obvious limitations with a tank. <Yes, for sure> I've gotten a plethora of information from WetWebMedia, a truly phenomenal resource, and a big thanks to you for most of that. <Much good help here... including of course from input from folks as yourself> I'm planning to go ahead with a 3" Longnose Hawkfish (Louie) who I picked up a little over a week ago, an 8-10" snowflake moray, a 2-3" yellow tang, and a flame angel. I figure the fish will probably need bigger tank than the 75 I have to offer them now, but I anticipate at those sizes they should be happy for awhile. Do those sound properly compatible to you?  <Yes... the Hawk is rare (deepwater) in Hawai'i... but all should get along> My only concern is really for the snowflake going after the flame angel. I've heard the snowflake will occasionally take potshots at small fish (not sure what counts as a small fish though). <Not likely here... the Angel is smarter, the Eel young... and able to be trained on strict prepared crustacean foods> I may try a red slate pencil urchin as well. Let me know if you think I'm off base with these fish. <The Urchin would be a nice touch (add in a few months though)> Thanks again for providing your book(s) and the material on WetWebMedia. I really enjoy the research and I think my fish enjoy me making less mistakes at their expense. <Our purpose (along with inspiration, recruitment...) to a large extent. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Bret

Another question for the pros (re a fast Picasso Triggerfish) Good day gentlemen. I trust you all are well. <<I am well, thanks for asking.>> I have a quick Picasso Trigger question. I have read articles on your site but cannot seem to find the answer. <<I can try.>> I have a 37G FOWLR. Crushed shell substrate. Marineland 330 BioWheel. Lots of BioMax media. No Skimmer. I have about 12 Lbs of LR. The sole occupant is a 1 and a half inch Picasso Trigger. Is it necessary for him to have a tankmate? <<I don't think it is 'necessary' but it wouldn't hurt.>> Does he need company which would add to his well-being? <<I think these fish are capable of being self-entertained. I would make sure there are some small rocks and shells that it can move about and I'm sure it will keep busy.>> I am perfectly happy keeping him alone in my small tank but that's me!! I would like to know how he feels. <<No so easy to do.>> This sounds crazy but do fish get "lonely" I was thinking of a cleaner shrimp of some kind but I read that it could easily become lunch for the trigger. <<Yeah, that won't work... consider perhaps a slightly larger tank before you consider some other tank mates. That trigger will be growing.>> Thanks, as always, David. <<Cheers, J -- >>

2 Picasso trigger questions Good day gentlemen!!! <What about scholars?> I just bought a 1 and a half inch Picasso Trigger for my 37G. I have 2 small pieces of LR (suggested by you) to cycle the tank quicker than using no LR. It apparently did it's job as my Nitrite just hit zero. I have no other livestock in the tank (other than a small hermit crab that hitched a ride on the LR). I also have some pieces of porous rock on the bottom. My 2 questions are as follows. Is crushed shells of various sizes ok to use as substrate?  <Will do... there are a few considerations (of course)... e.g. not ideal for maximizing biological filtration (likely no biggee). Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm > I read somewhere that Triggers prefer sand but it is too late since the shells are in the tank and I would prefer not to make radical changes unless you highly suggest I do. <Should be fine as is> Question number 2 is... Do Picasso Triggers prefer calmer or more turbulent water? <Mmm in this small a system, more than less...> I bought a 174G/H power head to move water around but I might not use it if I do not need to. I have a Marineland 330 BioWheel filter and lots of extra BioMax. No airstone, No skimmer. <I'd look into a skimmer... please read over re on WetWebMedia.com... and also a larger system... your trigger is going to need same> Thanks as always for your invaluable service. David. <You're welcome as usual. Bob Fenner>

Rhinecanthus rectangulus  I am trying to setup a Maui biotope in a FOWLR system. I would like a Humu Humu as the centerpiece fish but cannot seem to get a consensus on whether or not it would kill the snails I'm using as a cleanup crew.  <It will likely do so over time> I can't create the look I'm after without live rock and I happen to believe it is an important requirement for healthy fish like a dwarf angel which I would also like to include.  <Agreed. I would use live rock for sure... I did some drawings in anticipation of building out a public aquarium in Kona once... all had a rock motif> But I'm not sure how to maintain nice looking LR without some snails to clean it.  <No worries... there are other scavenger choices... and in actual practice, not much to worry about re problems here> If you could share some advice about this I would be very appreciative. If the rectangulus will not work, could you suggest an alternative fish, appropriate for this biotope, that has a similar character or personality, if there is such a thing. <Mmm, if you're set on this showpiece I would go with it, and build the rest of the collection/biotope around it. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Bret Packard

New starter (Wanting to keep a Picasso Trigger) My wife and I have just come back from the Maldives, where we swam with Picasso fish (Zorro fish as my wife calls them!). <Neat> We have now set our hearts on setting up an aquarium, but would like to know what kind of equipment (tank size) food friends these fish need. All your knowledge would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Troy <Please read here re these Lagoon Triggers:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/rhinecanthus/index.htm  Bob Fenner>

Let the fun begin: Humu Triggers Hi Robert. <Anthony Calfo in your service> I just thought you'd get a kick out of these photos. I purchased a Picasso today, and from the moment I took it out of the bag, it has had me laughing. I've sent two photos - one ( trig-n-bowl ) was taken when I put the thing in a big glass bowl and did a drip of aquarium water for acclimation. The fish was just killing me; laying on its side, watching every move I made. The second picture, which is distorted, is of the thing begging for food tonight. Jeez - it has only been here 3 hours and it has already gone through a short lock-in-rocks-using-trigger-fin-and-hide stage to relentlessly demanding food. Thanks for the suggestion on the Humu. I've already gotten my money's worth. <Ahhh... great fish and indeed such interesting and personable characters. Quite hardy too... thank you for sharing, my friend> Best, Edward. <be chatting soon... A>

Picasso Trigger/Stars & Stripes Puffer Hello to whomever may be working tonight! <<It's JasonC today, greetings.>> Here's a little story, with some questions at the end. I brought home a Stars & Stripes puffer tonight (3 inches), and acclimated him into my tank that currently contains Gordon (my 1.5-inch Picasso Trigger) and a random blue damsel I can't catch to get rid of. I was worried that Gordon would pick on him even though he's never bothered the damsel. The puffer settles himself in, and within a few minutes he's sticking his mouth into rock crevices and darting forward (trying to munch on something in there, I'm sure). Now here's the strange part: Gordon eyes him warily for about 15 minutes, then slowly swims up to him. Then, to my horror, he bites the puffer! But I soon realize it's not a hard bite, as the puffer doesn't even move. It's more like little nibbles, almost like what kissing gouramis do to the glass when they're alone ;-) And it gets stranger. Gordon shadows the puffer around, and the next time the puffer does the munchin' in the rocks bit, Gordon's right alongside him, doing the same thing. He's never showed any interest in the rocks before, except to occasionally rearrange them. So what's going on? <<My take on this is - and you should know that both these fish are pretty smart as fish go - is that the trigger realizes the puffer might reveal something tasty with its digging, and so the puffer is just standing by to see if this is the case. From time to time, something appears and it takes a taste.>> It's this a weird case of inter-species puppy love? <<I don't think so.>> Or was Gordon just getting a taste to decide if the puffer is edible? <<Less possible than the other explanation - again, because these fish are smart, the trigger probably knows already that puffers aren't good eating.>> Thanks in advance! Jodie <<Cheers, J -- >>

Trigger and Puffer II Hi Bob, <Actually, this time and last time, you were "talking" to Steven Pro, one of the WWM crew members.> I realize that feeder goldfish isn't a natural food source for my Huma and trigger, however, will that somehow affect their health? <Yes, will be bad for their health. You can read more about it here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm> I thought I was doing the right thing by feeding them live food versus frozen food. <Much easier to meet their dietary requirements with frozen foods.> I also occasionally feed them thawed mussels, shrimps, squid, and other marine variety seafood but it seemed to me that it was giving my puffer indigestion problems. Don't get me wrong, he'll eat anything, except for formula food. <Those are all good foods.> Another dumb thing that I did though was I threw in a freshwater crayfish. <Not dumb at all. Generally needed for the trigger and to a greater extent the puffer to wear down their teeth.> I'd read somewhere that it was good for the Huma to eat hard-shelled things to sharpen their teeth. My puffer ate most of the hard shell and had very bad indigestion for a couple days. I even though he was going to die cause he would float on his side! He's much better now and recovered. <A very strange occurrence, perhaps unrelated to eating the crayfish.> It seems that you're suggesting feeding them mostly frozen food as I've been doing above all the time. Anything live that I can buy occasionally that they'll like? <Ghost shrimp that have been acclimated to full strength seawater and fed a well round diet of marine origin are ok, but really not necessary.> Thanks for the reply. ~May <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Trigger and Puffer Hi Bob, <Steven Pro this evening.> I have a 75g tank with a 4-5 inch Huma Huma trigger, a 4-5 inch stars n stripes puffer, a clown and 2 damsels. The Huma was the last fish that I introduced in the tank. In the beginning (for the first two months or so) everything seemed fine. I'd feed my Huma and puffer 1 large feeder and they'd both share it. <By feeder, I assume you mean feeder goldfish, an absolutely horrible food for any marine fish. Please try to wean both onto foods of saltwater origin. Frozen krill, clam, mussels, and mixed "formula" foods would all be good.> In fact my puffer got lazier and didn't even bother to go for the kill anymore. He'd let the Huma chase the feeder and then would join in on the feast afterwards. I'm wondering if this is normal. Even with the feeder swimming right by him would not cause the puffer to do anything. <Maybe he realized the goldfish was bad for him (a little joke to amuse myself).> Another concern is that now my Huma is really getting mean and has started to bite my puffer whenever he approaches the dead feeder Huma is feeding on. I suppose it could be because my puffer usually takes huge bites and can swallow almost the whole feeder, leaving Huma with nothing. I don't know what to do to stop the Huma from attacking my puffer who is really shy. <Putting them in separate tanks would surely work. Also, try to feed them a little more and at different ends of the tank.> Thanks, May <Have a nice evening. -Steven Pro>

Fish Pacing Hi,  My Picasso trigger is swimming up and down the tank erratically (not sick) Is there any explanation to this behavior?  <yep... often a sudden change in lighting (new bulbs or old ones cleaned of a lot of debris or bulbs blown out then suddenly replaced)... more commonly it is caused by a change in indirect room lighting that causes a mirror effect on the glass of the aquarium (fish sees it's reflection and paces)... and less commonly a sudden downgrade in water flow (powerhead or water pump fails and is not replaced. This is more often seen in imported fishes that come from dynamic parts of a reef and are put into aquaria with typically weak water movement (common with Achilles and powder blue tangs...Naso's too... an increase in current often stops the pacing> This trigger used to be a dominant fish in the 90 g tank for 6 months (until Sohal outgrew Picasso). Is Picasso scared and should be moved?  <has nothing to do with species interaction IMO. It is a dynamic of their physical environment. Do consider recent cleaning/maintenance (or lack thereof) of powerheads recently too> Thank you. <best regards, Anthony>

Humu Humu Trigger died Saturday Hi all.. Anthony and all <greeting, my friend> sad sad...but Magnum died Saturday morning after his situation got worse on Friday. <alas... sorry to hear it but I admire you for your great efforts> he seemed to do fine on Thursday evening, after he got stuck to the air pump that morning. <great stress I'm sure> We saw the deterioration on Friday but there was nothing we could do, and we had small hope that he would get better. deep inside you know when a fish is dying. I really miss this cute fish and I wished he'd survived but we think the injury was too much.......or maybe even got infected inside in any case...after spending the last 2 weeks caring about this fish' health he became kind of like my little care project, meaning...you want to protect it and want it to have a good life.... <yes... and its death is not in vain... you have learned so much and other Q&A readers have benefited from the insight as well, rest assured> I just wanted to say thanks to all who have helped and given advice......too bad the last injury was too much Wendy <always welcome... best regards in this hobby/life to you. Kindly, Anthony>

Picasso Questions Bob I have read a lot of the FAQ's concerning the Picasso Trigger and I have a couple of questions. 1. How does one train them to eat from your hand? I would like to start this as he is only about 2 inches long and I thought this would be a good time to start it. <Take the food between your fingers and hold it at the top of the aquarium. At first, your fish will not feed from your fingers, but will come up to investigate. When he does come up, let go of the food. Eventually he will become braver and eat right from your hands.> 2. Will a Picasso get along well with a Hippo Tang, Yellow tang, and a bicolor blenny when he gets older? <Not notoriously aggressive as some other triggers, so it should be ok. The two Tangs will probably not like one another, though.> 3. Lastly what is a good diet to give him to keep his colors so bright? I have him on Brine shrimp, Krill, squid, and mussel. <I would finish whatever Brine Shrimp you have and then not buy any more. The other are good. I would add some O.N. Formula II (primarily for the tangs, but good for the Trigger too) and Trigger Formula (which has some sea urchin in it).> Thanks for your time and your responses helped me out a lot. Darren <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Picasso Triggerfish I Just bought a 2 inch Picasso Trigger and I heard that they get aggressive when older but will he kill my other fish. <overall the Humu humu complex of triggers are relatively well behaved but may be aggressive with some fishes. Do keep it with appropriate sized and speciated tank mated. Good buddies include puffers, eels, groupers and larger wrasse species. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Help me please (Looking for Huma Huma Triggerfish video, input for report) Hello, I am writing a 5th grade science report on the Huma Huma Trigger. I am trying to do a power point presentation and I need some help. If you have some video clips or some sound effects of the Huma Huma and could send them to me, I would really appreciate it.  <Wish I did... have observed Rhinecanthus spp. triggers underwater on many occasions... and do have underwater video rigs... but am generally making photographs (still images)> I want to show the characteristics of the fish's behavior and I am having a hard time doing it. Does anyone ever video their tank?  <I'm sure someone does... but don't know who. Am sure you have tried various search engines on the Net... under the names Huma, Picasso Trigger/fish, Lagoon Trigger/fish...> Do they ever record the sounds? I read that Huma Huma's get excited when their owner comes to the tank, and sometimes they even spit water out. Please help me. My report is due March 20th. Thanks so much! <If we had the video, I'd point you to it.> Kiersten from MI <Bob Fenner, who has a friend named Kiersten in San Diego>

Re: Huma trigger info Dear Ms. Taormina, I would appreciate your help so much!!!  I hope I can figure out how to put some images into my power point presentation!! If I can't, I plan to show any video/sound effects I get as a separate part of my program. Thank you so so much!! Kiersten P.S. My mom is Amy and she is helping me with all of my e mails. I am not allowed to talk to anyone or use the Internet without her. (yes, Mom is typing now!!) Thanks again!! Kiersten and Mom <A very smart mother. -Steven Pro (one of the other members of the WWM crew)

Trigger Behavior Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you for replying to my letter. I wish I could see underwater like you have. I've been to San Diego once 4 years ago. If you know anything interesting or funny about the Humu Humu's behavior to humans or to other fish (that needs to be in my report too), will you please write me back. I could use you as a source. You are probably any expert, right? Thanks again!!! Kiersten <Forwarded to Barb T  for response. Pls. cc msg.s back to WWM. Thank you. Bob F>

Follow up on Trigger Behavior Sure, Roberto & I will contact her and could probably video some footage of our little Huma Huma and mail it to her. (Although, Berto's disappointed his fish hasn't made any noises other than snapping sounds when he eats and is downright upset that the fish has never spit at him!) <Wowzah, what service! Bob F> We're on it, Barb--

... and Barb's reply. Hi Kiersten, Your message to Robert Fenner was forwarded to me. I am part of Mr. Fenner's crew at wetwebmedia.com and thought my son and I might be able to help you with your project. My son Roberto is 14 and recently set-up a tank due to the Huma Huma/Picasso trigger being one of his favorites. Our trigger is about 3" long, we've had him since X-mas and he's grown from 2-1/2". He hasn't made the noises you've read about [yet] but makes some interesting noises when he's going after food. No spitting of water at any of us although my son does think that would be 'way cool'! Anyways, we also live in Michigan and if some video footage of our fish "Trigs" swimming around and checking things out in the tank would be of some help to you with your project please let us know. Please have your Mom or Dad read this message and with their permission, we could make arrangements to mail the video to your school perhaps. Take care, Barbara <Outstanding. Bob F, to post to WWM>

Sexing, Feeding Huma Huma Triggerfishes How can you tell the sex of a Huma Huma Trigger fish, and how often should a 2" Huma Huma be fed? <Not externally and a couple of times per day. Please read over the "Triggerfish" materials stored on WWM starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/TriggerArts.htm and the links beyond. Bob Fenner>  Thank you Charles

Picasso trigger I wonder if u can help me I've had a Picasso trigger for about 1 year and last November he developed white lumps in his eyes 1 is size of pin head on one side the other is a couple of millimeters wide he's still eating well and seems healthy enough I've tried several cures to get rid of this any ideas <Mmm, likely these are worms of sort (probably flatworms of either the trematoda or Cestoda...). Not treatable per se. I would do what you can to optimize this specimens health (good water quality, nutritious feedings) and enjoy it as it is. Bob Fenner>

Re: Picasso Trigger Thank you for your response. What sort of vitamin would you put with the iodine and his food? Great to know that we met someone so keen on Trig's - he's our Favourite! :-) <Please see the WetWebMedia.com site under the Marine Index, Maintenance... or use the Search Feature on the Homepage or Indices. Bob Fenner>

Picasso Trigger We have had our Picasso Trigger for around 5 months now and he has been slowly developing a 'bump' on his nose. <Yes, I see from your image. Bizarre> Recently, in the last week his bump has begun to swell and he is beginning to get quite lethargic. Earlier in the piece, he used to 'scratch' his head on the rocks but there is no obvious scratching on his skin. None of the other fish in the tank seem to be affected. At first we thought that it might have been bruising as he bumps his head on the top of the tank when we feed him. He's eating a diet of frozen mussel, oyster and spinach with some dry flake food. We also give him fresh mussel as well. We've tried to give him a little bit of garlic (recommended to us by the shop we've bought all our fish through) but he doesn't seem to be improving. <No... I suspect this is a fluid-filled tumor or cyst within the animals internal skin...> Our other fish in the tank include a yellow tang, 2 blue/green chromos, a Percula Clown and a Black and White Humbug. We also have a few local shrimps to help keep the tank clean and they sometimes sit on his nose 'cleaning' him. The tank is 600 litres and recently set up and our regular testing shows that the water is good and we change it regularly with local fresh sea water. I have attached a photo of 'Trig' and we hope that you may be able to have a look at it and perhaps recommend what may be wrong with him. He's by far our most interesting tank inhabitant and we'd hate to lose him. The shop don't know what it is and all the diseases that we read about don't seem to come close to his condition. If you're not sure, can you recommend someone who may know. Thanks for your time ... <Thank you for writing, and sending the image. I have a long-standing keen interest in triggers/Balistids (for many years thought I was going to make them my life's study, do my doctorate on their systematics...)... so have always had ancillary interests in their biology. Have only seen these sorts of tumorous growths on a couple of other occasions. Unfortunately, nothing I'm aware of can be done to reverse or remove this "bump"... Though sometimes such growths resolve themselves spontaneously, of their own accord. I would keep the animal as well as can be, soaking its foods in a vitamin and iodide mixture twice a week... in the hopes that it will self-cure. Should this animal perish, do consider donating to university (zoology department) or through your veterinarian to a specialist. Bob Fenner>

Questions on Huma Huma Hello- I have a question about my Huma Trigger. I just got the fish a few days ago, it has a whitish rash on its body and has been ramming himself into the wall of the tank, the bleached coral, the thermometer, you name it. Is it trying to scratch an itch or is it just attacking these things? <Hard to say... all your suggested possibilities might be the one... or a combination of the reasons for this animals apparent aberrant behavior. Might also simply be something that disagrees with it in the way of water chemistry. What other sorts of life do you have in the system? Or consequent with capture, handling damage... Or an internal disorder...> Also I have 3 damsels with this guy. Are they safe, they seem to be happy for now. The Trigger is quite small. <Safe for now.> Last question. I am wondering if there was a good scavenger fish that I could get that would clean up after the trigger. He is very messy. I know that if I get a shrimp or a crab it would end up being an expensive snack. Any suggestions??? <Please see our site re marine scavengers, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marscavart.htm following the links, FAQs from there> I have a 32 gallon tank with a Fluval 304 filter <Yikes... this is a small system for what you have now, and smaller as the fishes grow.> Thanks for any help Jason <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Picasso Trigger Diet Hi Bob and its great to be able to correspond with you again. I recently purchased a 4" Picasso trigger for my 90g FO tank. He is getting along famously with his tankmates, a 3" Hippo Tang, a 2" Yellow Tang, a 2" Flame Angel and 2 small damsels. My question is about the Picasso's diet. I think he is a great specimen, both beautiful and with a great personality and I want him to thrive. Right now he only seems interested in eating whole prawns, which is what he was being fed at the LFS. I feed the other tank inhabitants daily with frozen Formula 1 and 2 (evening), Formula 1 & 2 flakes (morning) and Seaweed Selects. He does not seem interested in these at all. I am soaking his prawns in Selcon, but I am still fearful that he may not be receiving the proper nutrition. Any thoughts you might have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. <Ah, I share your concern re keeping your Rhinecanthus trigger healthy, vibrantly colorful (as in the wild)... good to be guarded about a fish developing a single food item as a solitary diet, even though vitamin soaked. Would start weaning it away by mixing some other foods in with the prawn... then leave off offering the prawn for a day or two (the Trigger won't starve as you know), inducing it to feed on other materials. Most anything meaty, prepared (like the Formula foods or your own mix) will do. Also, though this tank is Fish Only, do place some live rock here... no better way to assure, provide a steady, complete (nutritionally) diet. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Picasso Could you please tell me how a Picasso trigger juvenile would be in a 75 gallon tank with an juvenile emperor. I currently have a full grown tang, 2 fire gobies, 1 cleaner wrasse, 2 damsels, 1 blenny, 1 lawnmower blenny and some hermit crabs. <Hmm, I would likely pass on a Picasso for your set-up... too much chance/likelihood it will/would eat your Hermits, gobies (if not terrorize them)... perhaps the damsels and blenny...> I have read two different reports on the Picasso. One said it was aggressive (I don't believe) the other said peaceful. <Please see the coverage of this species on the WWM site. Bob Fenner> Thank you sand

Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus color change) Bob, I wrote yesterday regarding my Passer Angel and received your response today. Thank you for replying so quickly. Frankly, I wasn't expecting any kind of response. Unfortunately, your diligence has prompted me to write again, this time regarding my Triggerfish, which I am hopelessly fascinated by, to pose a question to you. I have researched a great deal of literature, both printed and on the internet regarding the species, Rhinecanthus aculeatus and have been unable to find mention of the "manifestation" I am about to describe. When I consulting my seller, he had no idea what I was talking about. I have enclosed to small video captures of what appears to be coloration changes between the eyes of this particular specimen. I watched on several occasions as this transformation took place before my very eyes before getting the event on camera. My initial thought was that it was simply some bizarre optical illusion, having to do with the placement of the scaling in conjunction with the light. However, I have observed these color band changes in different lighting, in various locations within the tank. I am wondering if you can shed some . . . light . . . on this observation. There appear to be seven distinct bands of coloration between the eyes (which I will call his forehead for simplicity). At various times he appears to cycle or change the coloration of these bands between black and tan, the color of the majority of his body, to black and blue . . . but reversed. By that I meant that the bands of color that were black and tan, the black lines change to blue and the tan to black. I do not know if this an actual color change or if my eyes and video camera deceive me, or, if it is genuine, what might the origin of such an unusual, and highly specific region of coloration change? Any thoughts? <If your eyes are deceiving you, then we are in good company. The triggers of the genus Rhinecanthus do indeed change these markings apparently at will, or with mood... suspect this is a function of the same sorts of chromatophores, iridophores that produce coloration in most fishes. Bob Fenner> James Witmer

Humu Humu and Queen Angel (more like versus) Sir, First I would like to thank you for all the information you provide on your web site, it has helped me immensely.  <Very good to hear/read.> The situation is this; I have a 120gal. fish only tank, in it I have a 2" Humu Humu Trigger, 3" Blueline Trigger, and a 4" Queen Angel. I was wondering, is the Humu Humu a fin nipper?  <Yes, assuredly> I have read just about everything I could on the Humu Humu and never once did I read that it nips at the fins of the other fish.  <Given the opportunity, hunger it will nip at the rest...> I am asking this because on occasion I see what looks like the Humu Humu nipping at the Queen Angel, is this normal? <Yes, though from separate oceans.> The Queen Angel was introduced after the Humu Humu, could he just be trying to bully the Angel? If so, will this eventually stop?  <Maybe and maybe> All three of my fish are flawless (at least in my eyes) I would hate to lose any one of them. Any help you can give me on the subject would be greatly appreciated. <Wish I could be more specific here. Triggerfishes as a group are quite predatory... as they grow in captivity some mellow, others become terrors... as species and individuals. Most of the genus Rhinecanthus ones learn to get along... given enough food, space, and their opportunity to be the alpha, or near alpha individual... the Queen, Holacanthus ciliaris, unfortunately occupies about the same status in the wild and captivity. Bob Fenner> Mike
Re: Humu Humu and Queen Angel
Sir, Thank you so much for the quick reply. Good and bad news, first the good. The Queen Angel and Humu Humu are now like the best of friends, they are getting along very well, very happy to see that. I did, however, have to get rid of the Blueline Trigger. Out of nowhere he became VERY aggressive and started to attack both the Humu Humu and Queen Angel.  <Yikes, thank goodness you were there at the time to separate them> I was very fortunate to find someone who I know will take good care of the Blueline and I did not have to take it back to the LFS. Once again, thank you for the reply, it is nice to see that someone out there really cares about the hobby and it's hobbyists. <As it is obvious you do. Bob Fenner> Mike

Rhinecanthus aculeatus and assasi (+ standard lengths of fishes) In reading over your FAQ's on triggers, here's an excerpt. "I just bought a small 2 inches Rhinecanthus assasi and was wondering if it was possible to get another Rhinecanthus to keep in the same tank, let me know what you think. Thanks, Stefi/London <A great and beautiful species... Wish more found there way over to this side of "the pond"... I give you very good odds in being able to house more than one of the members of this genus together... starting small, and having a large enough system (bigger as they get larger... at least 200 liters now...) and plenty of live rock, other decor to get out of eye-shot and biting of each other... Bob Fenner>" I would love to add an Rhinecanthus assasi to my tank... here's what I have so far... 100G with 40G sump/refugium 100lbs live rock 5" Naso lituratus 1.5" Rhinecanthus aculeatus 2" Canthigaster valentini 1" Premnas biaculeatus 4" Genicanthus melanospilos Do you think I'm overcrowded right now as it is? <You're on the lower side of overcrowding per the usual hobbyist index...> In your opinion, could I possibly add in the Assasi? <Yes> BTW, when you speak of fish length, do you measure the tip of the "nose" to the end of the tail, or just the "body" portion of the fish, excluding the tail? What about "long tailed" species? Curious to know. <By and large "standard length" (i.e. to the end of the hypurals, the bones at the terminus of most fishes caudal peduncles (the body section right before the caudal fin... as in fisheries bio. and taxonomic ichthyology... Thanks for asking for this clarification... a sticky point at times, some species as you point out. This "joint" can be found by wigging the fish's tail "up and down"... Bob Fenner>
Re: Rhinecanthus aculeatus and assasi
Thanks for the response. Is a juv. Imperator out of the question for my tank?... knowing I may have to move/reconfigure the tank in a few months as it grows/matures? <I wouldn't add one to the grouping you have... in a one hundred gallon system. If you had to have an Angel, I'd look to the genus Centropyge. Bob Fenner>

Picasso Trigger OK here is my dilemma. I have a 55 gallon fish only. Right now I have only crushed shells as my substrate. I want to avoid live rock at all costs. What  all can I put in the tank as far as decoration. Are any plastic decorations safe for saltwater?  <All sorts of polyethylene and ceramic ornaments are made for aquarium use that are safe... some even attractive!> Also the lighting on the tank is moderate. I have about a 6 inch Picasso triggerfish that I purchased from FFExpress by the way. He is  doing very well. I am curious as to if any corals, anemones, inverts would be safe in the tank with him. Thanks for your help >> Not really in a tank of this size... I would either set-up another tank, give this Trigger away and switch the tank over to something more mixed in livestock, or reconcile to have big, bad biting fishes in your 55. Bob Fenner

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums

Diversity, Selection & Care

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