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FAQs about Rhinecanthus Triggerfishes Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related FAQs: Rhinecanthus Triggers 1, Rhinecanthus Triggers 2, Rhinecanthus Trigger ID, Rhinecanthus Trigger Behavior, Rhinecanthus Trigger Compatibility, Rhinecanthus Trigger Selection, Rhinecanthus Trigger Systems, 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


Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Rectangle Trigger not eating   4/2/13
After months of searching, I was finally able to purchase a juvenile Rectangle Trigger, approximately 1.5" long. He ate immediately, and throughout most of tank transfer (where I was using 10g tanks), which lasted
13 days or so. However, since the final day of tank transfer he has been reluctant to eat much at all.
<Not unusual w/ small fishes being moved about; even triggers>
 He is now in my 29g QT that I have dosed with PraziPro, where he has been since the morning of 3/31 - and still won't
eat much at all. I've seen him bite an NLS pellet or two in half, and once or twice he has eaten a very small piece of fresh scallops (previously frozen and then thawed) and a small chunk of frozen Mysis. I soak the food in Selcon every other try, but it never seems to make a difference.
To me, he looks a little thin, and I'm worried that something else is going on with him. I dropped in a live littleneck clam on the half shell last night, and he didn't touch it. On top of that, he has been swimming slowly from one end of the tank to the other, at the top of the surface. I have tried offering him other seafood, but he literally swims right past it.
Water parameters are all perfect, as the water is only a few days old, so I can rule that out. Am I overlooking something here, and is there something else that I can try and convince him to eat?
<This small fish is likely simply frightened, stressed, even perhaps a bit lonely>
 I'd really like to avoid live foods if possible, because I don't want that to be an issue once he is moved
into my 90g FOWLR.
Nick Panaccio
<I would move this animal to the main tank, now. Bob Fenner>

Baby Rectangle Trigger care and diet 2/25/13
You guys have been great in the past with all of my questions, so I'd like to run a few more by you about the future star of my 90g FOWLR - a baby Rectangle Trigger (Rhinecanthus rectangulus). Currently, I have 3" One Spot Foxface and a 2" Blue Spotted Puffer (c. papua) in my display tank, and my final fish - which this tank was designed around - is going to be a baby Humu.
<Mmm, may well become overly belligerent w/ age, growth. See WWM re this Rhinecanthus sp.>
I've done my fair share of research, but have some questions that I can't find detailed information on. I'm looking to add a 1-1.5" (closer to 1.5") baby Humu, but have read recently that triggers this small have a high mortality rate in aquariums;
<Mmm, not really... Much lower than any measure of central tendency ("averages")>
I'm not sure if these articles/posts were speaking of triggers in general, or Clown triggers specifically, as that seems to be the one species often mentioned. How accurate is this, in your opinion? I want to make sure that I'm doing everything I can so that this guy can thrive here.
I have also read a lot of forum posts where trigger owners recommend feeding juveniles upwards of five times daily due to their high metabolism. To me, that sounds a bit on the high side, though I do know that I should keep the trigger well fed to prevent aggression (as best I can, at least). I plan on feeding mainly frozen foods (Hikari Mysis, SF Bay Marine Multi-Pack), with some fresh foods occasionally during the week (clams slightly opened, shrimp in the shell, etc.). If I truly do have to make sure the trigger is fed five times daily, can I use New Life Spectrum pellets for meals in an auto feeder while I'm at work?
<Yes; though twice a day feeding is very likely fine>
 I already use them for the Foxface, and by all accounts it's the best pellet food available. I'm also trying to figure out how much to feed at a time. For instance, I currently feed my Toby about 1/8th of a Hikari cube at each feeding, and he seems fine; not sure if this is enough for a trigger, though.
Finally, I'd like your opinion on my quarantine method - which has proven to be quite successful for both my Foxface and Toby, as far as I can see. I have two 10g tanks with completely separate equipment that I intend to use for tank transfer, cleaning using a 10% bleach solution, in case the fish has Ich. Upon receiving the trigger, he'd go into temperature and salinity-matched water in one of the 10g tanks. Once that salinity has been brought up to 1.024 over the course of a few days, I would begin the tank transfer method, utilizing Seachem Prime to handle any ammonia issues.
After the 13+ day TTM was completed, the trigger would go into my 29g QT where it would receive two doses of PraziPro over the course of two weeks, and then onto some observation time before being introduced to the display tank.
Sound good for the trigger, or is there a gotcha that I'm missing? I don't believe that triggers are as much a threat to be infected with flukes like some other species, but I've read that PraziPro really is the safest thing to use for a fish while in QT, "just in case".
<Sounds fine>
Apologies for the length of this e-mail, but I'm in the home stretch here, and didn't want to leave anything out!
Mahalo nui loa!
Nick Panaccio
<Aloha. Bob Fenner>

Rhinecanthus aculeatus Trigger, hlth., nutr.  3/8/2010
We need some advice. We have a twelve year old Rhinecanthus aculeatus Trigger who until a week ago was extremely active and healthy. Last year he broke two teeth and ended up knocking them out.
<Happens, but still... ouch!>
Since then he has eaten fine and been a great fish. Last week the teeth that have been gone a year started to come back in. He got until he wouldn't eat. We saw no signs of infection but treated him with Maracyn for one week. Just in case there was an internal infection. At the end of the treatment he seemed only slightly more interested in food. Now he seems to be having issues seeing. He runs into rocks and isn't eating at all.
His mouth is still swollen but from looking at other postings when a trigger goes blind it is due to vitamin issues.
<Mmm, could well be a "nutritional deficiency" at play here. Do you supplement foods with vitamins, HUFAs, iodide? I would add these periodically to foods, and the water if the fish/es aren't eating>
Is this the case or could some of his vision issues be tied to his recent re-growth of teeth.
<Interesting to speculate. I do not know>
Any information would be greatly appreciated
<Do see WWM re the nutritional items listed here; their supplementation for marines. Bob Fenner>

Rhinecanthus (diet, environment)  -- 10/13/08 Good evening guys! <Hello,> My name is Richard and I was browsing around here and checked out your trigger's FAQ page (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/faqs.htm) but didn't find out what i was looking for so here it goes. <Oh?> I have a Picasso trigger that's about 4" big inside 72 gal bow front tank. He eats like a pig (just ate about 10 fish) and is the alpha alpha male or female of the tank. <When you say "10 fish" please promise me you don't mean live feeder fish. Nothing could be worse for a captive triggerfish. Putting aside the fact Triggers don't really eat fish in the wild -- they feed almost entirely on shelled invertebrates and algae -- feeder fish are nutritionally imbalanced (too much fat and Thiaminase) and "parasite time bombs". As Bob Fenner has reported, THE most common cause of death for Pterois lionfish in captivity is feeding them the wrong thing, i.e., Goldfish and other freshwater fish. There's really no excuse for feeding a trigger live or even dead fish: instead given them unshelled prawns, crab legs, small clams, krill, algae wafers and so on.> It was doing some weird things today and was wondering if it was normal behavior in this fish type. (I had this fish for 3 weeks now btw) <Define "weird". These are characterful fish to say the least, but in part they're amazingly aggressive, and a lot of odd behaviours are simply threat or territorial behaviours of various types.> Picasso swims up and down the tank furiously and rub his face on the glass. I have checked for spots to see if it's an ich problem and no spots. Nitrite level is very, ammonia is very low, zero nitrate, ph is balanced and salinity is well balanced. <None of this means much, suggesting that you haven't quite grasped the basics of marine fishkeeping. Nitrite and ammonia levels in marine tanks are comparable to pregnancy: in the same way a person is either pregnant or not pregnant, and never almost pregnant or nearly pregnant, so nitrite and ammonia are either zero (Safe) or not zero (Dangerous). Simple as that. Nothing much to learn. So "very low" levels of nitrite and ammonia may sound fine to the less experienced fishkeeper, but to anyone who has kept marines for a while, all kinds of alarm bells are jangling! Review filtration and how much you are feeding your Trigger. Next up, the pH isn't "balanced" -- it is some specific value and very, very stable. The precise value is up for debate, with values of 8.2 or 8.5 often being quoted as optimal. But what matters is that the pH NEVER changes. The sea is vast, and has enormous buffering capacity, so unlike freshwater conditions there's no need for marine fish to evolve ways to handle pH changes. Moreover, if the pH steadily drops between water changes, this reveals deeper problems with water chemistry management, such as lack of carbonate hardness or overstocking.> I have 8 fish in that tank and so far this is only fish that's acting up like this. <Hmm... Triggers are not noted for their good behaviour with tankmates! I would certainly not recommend keeping Rhinecanthus is a standard community setting. As has been reported, breeding Triggers have been known to attack divers, let alone small fish!> My other trigger (clown trigger) seems to be doing fine with no erratic behavior. <Presumably not in the same tank -- mixing these two triggers in one tank would be crazy. Do understand Balistoides conspicillum is one of the most aggressive marine fish in the trade.> Any input would be appreciated. Stressed out fish owner Richard <Read, my friend. Much written about these fish here and elsewhere. They are remarkably hardy, so will put up with your "learning curve" up to a point, but imposing on that hardiness isn't a sensible idea. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Rhinecanthus (diet, environment) (RMF, comments?)  10/13/08 Hello Neale and WWM crew, <Hello,> Thanks for getting back to me so quick and let me rephrase few things so that you can understand the situation more and perhaps assist me better. <OK, fire away!> Ok, ph is at 8.3 (I try to keep it from 8.1 - 8.5, I read that's the place I want to be and that's why I called it stable), salinity is at .023, ammonia is .1, nitrite and nitrate is almost at zero (.1 ish), .now after a 10 gal. water change. <Now, don't get me wrong: triggers can, will tolerate less than ideal conditions for longer periods than most any other non-estuarine marine fish. Bob will correct me on this <<I would... if perceived as necessary, beneficial. RMF>> I'm sure, but they were certainly among the very first fish to rack up double-digit life spans in marine aquaria way back in the day. So they're tough. But they're not indestructible, and even small variations for "perfect" water quality can give disease-causing organisms the break they need to cause problems. A stable pH 8.3 is good. Careful use of buffers and regular water changes should tighten the variation down to a bare minimum. Do remember the pH scale is logarithmic, i.e., between 7 and 8 there's a ten-fold difference in basic (as in not acidic) ion concentration. So seemingly small variation is actually quite substantial. Salinity isn't too much of an issue in a fish-only system, though cured live rock with algae and invertebrates may experience die-offs if the salinity varies or goes below whatever the live rock was cured at. That will cause ammonia and nitrite to go upwards for some weeks. I do think you need to review water quality: ammonia and nitrite should be zero, and there's no real debate here. If the tank is new, that's one thing. But if the tank has been up a while, or you're using live rock for filtration, review stocking, how often you feed the fish, capacity of the filter, how much live rock you've used, and so on.> I will do another one at end of this week to try to eliminate this problem. PH is rarely changed because I try to keep at it certain level at all times. I buff them every time I do a water change and check the parameters short afterwards. <Not sure what "buff them" means here. Do you mean you add buffering salts to the water?> I have a predator tank which consists on black Volitans lion, clown trigger, Huma Huma, porcupine puffer with little school of Chromis. <Well, the Chromis shouldn't be there for obvious reasons. Diodon spp. porcupine fish have the capacity to get enormous, so do be careful there. 40-50 cm is the maximum size for even the smaller species.> I feed them various things, such as gut packed ghost shrimps (formula 1,2) , formula 1, flake food (triggers eat it to my surprise), guppies, dried anchovies. Would this diet be still be bad for the fish? <You absolutely shouldn't be feeding any of these fish any freshwater fish, live or, in the case of Cyprinidae especially, dead. Simple as that. Dried anchovies would surely be a treat, given how fatty they are. Do read Bob's articles on feeding marine fish: really, this is the single biggest way to mess up keeping large, fish-only systems. Standard seafood mixes from the grocery store (squid, prawn, mussels) are economical, healthy foods for all predatory fish. Weaning some onto dead foods may be more difficult than others, but it's do-able for all your species.> I am just doing what I was told at LFS. <That's the problem, and we've all been there, even me, back I when I started. The reality is that while many retailers provide excellent information, not all of them do. If you went into a clothes store you wouldn't blindly accept the word of a sales clerk who said a certain jacket or pair of trousers looked good. You'd be aware all the time he's making a sale, and it's all too easy to walk out the store with clothes that don't suit you at all. Just the same as in a pet store: listen to their advice, but balance against your own research. There's no lack of information. Bob's "Conscientious Aquarist" book on marine fishkeeping is just one of the excellent and inexpensive books out there. Given the huge cost of running and stocking a marine tank, dropping 20-30 bucks on a well respected text book is surely an investment?> They say that they just feed them frozen dead fish, guppies, goldfish and ghost shrimps. <Do read Bob's piece here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm There's also a broad consensus that using live foods *increases* the aggression among predatory fish, the last thing you want in a busy community of fish with deadly venom and massive firepower!> Algae wafers that you mentioned, you mean the circle shaped ones that you feed to fresh water fish? They will eat those? or do you mean some other kind? <Those ones precisely. Get a small package first, to see if your Triggers like them. Algae is a minor part of their diet, but a consistent one. They bite at rocks and corals, scraping away algae.> Krills are the dried ones right? <Frozen are usually better value and more readily taken. Do understand with dried foods you pay a hefty premium for convenience.> Besides putting feeding matters aside. My main question on Picasso how it swims top to bottom rapidly rubbing it's face on the glass wasn't really addressed. I know that this type of trigger have awesome personalities and are more like a dog then a fish but this behavior scares me because I'm thinking that it may be an ich or something. I haven't noticed any spots on the fish (both body and the fins) this morning.. Should I be concerned? <It may simply be trying to get out. Many fish will "pace" the tank, swimming against the glass if they feel confined. There's not much you can do beyond increasing water circulation (so they have to swim harder, and therefore feel less confined) and ensuring the rockwork provides each fish with sufficient hidey holes.> Also I try my best on reading up on anything possible, like the link I provided earlier. I read that same type (Picasso) should not be kept together and those of similar size of different kind should fare ok. <Hmm... wouldn't put too much store by this with Triggers; many is the aquarist who's bought one, popped it into a big tank, and then watched it mature and then decide to beat seven bells out of its tankmates. These fish claim big territories in the wild, and pound for pound have to be some of the "hardest hitting" fish in the ocean.> They are doing fine as we speak. <So far. Remember, aggression is primarily a problem with sexually mature fish. Reef-dwelling triggers breed in a cichlid-like manner, with males (I believe) guarding the eggs.> (thank goodness because those are my 2 favorite fishes!) <Among my favourites, too.> I know I'm not professional/expert level and I know I'm learning new things everyday but I try to do my best by reading and researching, doing maintenance diligently and keep my fish's health and best interest at heart so please don't say that I'm imposing on my fish's hardiness. <It's not a comment on your good intentions or lack of kindness towards animals. Merely a statement that if conditions deviate from 100%, you open the door to problems. That's the "imposition". I fully understand you like these fish and want to do well by them, and applaud you for it. All I'm trying to do is lay the facts out in the open fair and square, so that you can see the particular mines in this minefield, so to speak.> As you can see, I'm very concerned or wouldn't be writing to you guys. <Quite so.> Just thought I would throw that in there because your last sentence made me sound like a noob who really don't care about his fishes. <No offence meant.> Richard the stressed out fish owner. <Cheers, Neale.>

Trigger not eating  - 09/07/06 Dear Bob Fenner:<Hey Bob is gone on a dive, lucky man so you get me today>   I bought a Picasso triggerfish last Friday (9/1) and it's been 6 days but the Picasso triggerfish won't eat anything.   I have tried to feed her the brine shrimp, the row shrimp, flake, krill shrimp, and even the Rosey fish but I never see her eating anything.   My current tank has candy anemone, crown fish, damsel fish, Chromis fish, coral bandy shrimp, hermit crab....and they are all doing good. <You don't mention how big the tank is, what the parameters are, how big the trigger is, how big the other fish are?  In my experience triggers can be a bit shy at first and will often hide or lock in and only come out when the tank gets dark. They will pick food off the bottom or coral or rock at this time. Is your trigger seeming to loose body mass? That is one way to tell for sure.>   I should ask the PetCo people to feed the fish before I bought it. they told me it just arrive that day or day before. <I would definitely ask them if it ate anything there and if so what it was.>   Any suggestion you can give is welcome <Good luck Sam and keep the faith, triggers get over this initial phase usually pretty quickly with patience time and the tank in good shape.>       Sam

Picasso Trigger Won't Eat - 09/10/06 Dear Bob Fenner: <<EricR at your service today...Bob's in Jamaica trying out all the new flavors of rum since his last visit>> I bought a Picasso triggerfish last Friday (9/1) and it's been 6 days but the Picasso triggerfish won't eat anything. <<Hmm...did you see it eat before you bought it?>> I have tried to feed her the brine shrimp, the row shrimp, flake, krill shrimp, and even the Rosey fish but I never seen she eating anything. <<Those mostly a prophylactic treatment, you can try adding some Epsom salts to you system at a rate of one level-teaspoon per 10 gallons of actual water volume...and keep trying to feed the trigger>> My current tank has candy anemone, clown fish, damsel fish, Chromis fish, coral banded shrimp, hermit crab....and they are all doing good. <<If the trigger recovers/lives, the anemone, shrimp, and crab will all likely become "trigger food".  You really should spend a little time researching your purchases beforehand...and utilizing proper quarantine procedure>>    I should ask the PetCo people to feed the fish before I bought it. <<Indeed>> They told me it just arrive that day or day before.  Any suggestion you can give is welcome. Sam <<About all you can do is keep trying to entice the trigger to feed (try soaking some thawed frozen mysis shrimp in Selcon for a few minutes before feeding)...and hopefully, learn from the experience.  Regards, EricR>>

Picasso and the food that bit back... Polychaetes   5/26/06 Hey there Crew, <Dan-O> I have a young Picasso Trigger that I fed a bristle worm to. Hungry (his name), went for it and the worm promptly disappeared into his belly. A week or so later, he developed a growth approx. where his chin would be and he doesn't seem to be able to open his mouth to take food. His appetite is the same as he goes for my fingers if they are too close to the tank and he will attack any food I put in the tank, but he can't seem to open his mouth to eat. He hasn't eaten in 10-14 days, so do you think it will go away on its own? Thanks, Danny <I do hope so... is possible the worm feeding and this situation are related... the bristles from some Polychaetes are very sharp, hurt like the Dickens to get stuck in ones hands (I can personally testify). I do hope your trigger self-repairs. Keep offering meaty food items every few days. Bob Fenner>

Trigger Feeding  12/17/05 Hi,    <Howdy>   I have a feeding question that was not directly answered in my searches.  I have a Picasso trigger that is about four inches in a 55 gal tank. <... too small a world...> He had some damsel buddies but he is now alone.  My question is how much and how often should I feed? <Once, twice a day... more frequently, smaller amounts> The reason I am asking is because anytime anyone passes within 5 feet of the tank or once it is dark outside, the trigger violently swims at the top front of the tank, back and forth for hours. <Territorial... not for food directly> In fact, lately it has been his activity half to 3/4 of the day.  He breaths hard doing this, and I am wondering if he is stressed. <Good question>   I don't know if I should be doing something different in how I feed.  I was feeding (krill and silversides) once in the morning and once at night when the actinic lights were on (which are timed to be on a hour before and an hour after the whites).  I try to increase it to three moderate portions, but the erratic swimming has worsened.  I drop the food in at the surface by the outflow of the protein skimmer, should I do something different than that (use a feeding stick maybe)?  I don't see other triggers his size do this, so I am guessing it is something I am doing.  Any help you can provide would be helpful.  By the way, at last check pH and salinity were optimal, and I have a Remora skimmer, a Rena canister filter, with 2 powerheads and approx. 40-45 pounds of live rock.  I've had the trigger since July and he has been alone for 2 weeks.      JWA <This fish/species needs more room... should be placed near last to avoid agonistic behavioral troubles... as you'll experience should you try placing something with it in the 55. Bob Fenner>

Re: Trigger Feeding  12/18/05 Thanks for the reply.  Here is my full story and maybe this will explain why I have him the 4" Picasso trigger in a 55 gallon tank).  My previous e-mail should be included.  I had two damsels and a lionfish in the tank before getting the Picasso trigger.  It was a "surprise birthday gift" from my visiting in-laws.  From what the LFS told them, and from what the "Marine Fishes" by Scott Michael said, they (my in-laws and wife) were under the impression that the trigger's minimum size tank is 55 gallons. <At an absolute minimum... without other livestock...> So that is how he arrived.  I questioned it because he was large, but because it was a birthday gift from in-laws and because I really wanted one(s smaller one that is), I took him. He actually did pretty well with the other fish, no troubles for three and a half months. However, after dealing with major temperature fluctuations, I lost the damsels and lionfish to what seemed to be stress related issues about three and a half months after the trigger arrived (no new additions to the tank were made since trigger arrived).  The trigger was the only fish I saved (all fish were covered in white and it was definitely not ich, I and LFS could only guess "velvet" because of the temperature problems).  So that is why he is alone.  I am guessing the best approach would be to trade him in for maybe a smaller Picasso, because I do intend on buying a bigger tank, but not right now (I'm in school and will be graduating next year).  From my research, I hear Picasso triggers grow slower so this can be done, right? <Yes> However, I believe I need to get whatever other additions in before adding a small trigger.  I was trying to set up a fish-only "predator" tank that maybe can be transferred later from a 55 gal. to something bigger.  I am sorry this is so long, I just want to do the right thing for the trigger and for future additions to the tank.     Thanks,      JWA <Do consider means of making your water quality "self-regulating"... particularly pH, alkalinity... Predatory organisms in small volumes have a habit of mal-affecting their own habitat... 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 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 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 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>
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>

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!>

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.>

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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