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FAQs about Triggerfish Compatibility 2

Related FAQs: Trigger Compatibility 1, Triggerfishes in General, Triggerfish: Identification, Selection, Systems, Behavior, Feeding, Diseases, Reproduction, Balistapus, Balistes, Canthidermis, , Melichthys, Odonus, Pseudobalistes, Rhinecanthus, Sufflamen, Xanthichthys

Related Articles: Triggerfish, Triggerfish Regional Accounts, Red Sea Triggerfishes, Hawaiian Triggerfishes

Triggers may "sample" sessile invertebrates from distraction to death. Aplidium tabascum. Colonies reddish to orange, opaque. Indo-West Pacific; Pic in N. Sulawesi by DianaF.

Triggerfishes for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Pink Tail Triggerfish And Crosshatch Triggerfish pair     9/9/14
Greetings Mister Fenner/Crew. I have an 8" Pink Tail Triggerfish that used to live in my 8 Ft x 3 Ft x 3 Ft, system. I moved him temporarily to a 75 gallon tank, several months ago. I did this because I was trying to introduce a 6" female Crosshatch Triggerfish, and the Pink Tail took an immediate disliking to her.
<Ah yes>
I have since added a 9" male Crosshatch Triggerfish, which paired up with the female, and they have spawned regularly, for months now. I would like to try and re-introduce the pink Tail Triggerfish to this lightly stocked system loaded with live rock, because he seems very restless now in the confines of the 70 gallon tank.
<I'll bet; though you may have to net it out again...>
I don't have another option in my 2 other large tanks, because a single 7"
Clown Triggerfish dwells by himself in one,
<Ah yes>
, and the other is loaded with Fairy Wrasses and a huge French Angelfish.
I hate to take him to the LFS, but I also don't want him to be crowded in a smaller tank. Your advice has been invaluable to be for well over a decade.
I will wait to hear from you before making a decision here, as always thank you very much.
<Certainly welcome. Oh, am out diving in Nusa Lembongen in Bali... seeing many Melichthys>
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: compatibility      2/5/14
but one fish Id love to have is a Hawaiian black durgeon trigger. I have read they are a safer bet for sharks,
especially compared to the humu. Is this possible with the marbled cat? is it worth trying and observing, or are they just as bad as the more aggressive triggers?
<See WWM re. B>
(Looked and did not sea anything specific about durgeon trigger and sharks.
I know some places state no triggers at all, but I have also read certain triggers such as clowns, queens etc, are absolute no no's. Others like the pink tail or blue jaw, are pretty docile. Was lead to believe the durgeon is similar to the latter.)
<I do concur; though no Balistid should be trusted explicitly. B>

Adding a 7" Female Crosshatch Triggerfish With a 7" Pink Tail & a 3" Huma Huma Triggerfish       8/15/13
Hello Crew. My LFS has a 7" Female Crosshatch Triggerfish that has been sitting in a 40 gallon Aquarium for over a year. They would like to find it a good home and are willing to sell it to me for 100 dollars. I have a 400 gallon, light to medium stocked Aquarium with assorted semi aggressive Fish, nothing nasty or mean. I currently have an 7" Pink Tailed Triggerfish and a 3" Huma Huma Triggerfish residing there. They both get along well.
Would I be able to safely add this new fish to the current mix?. Thank you for your advice. I always follow what I read on your Web Site.
<Is a gamble... I'd float this fish/put a divider in for a week or so... to keep the newbie from the established Balistids. Bob Fenner>
Re: Adding a 7" Female Crosshatch Triggerfish With a 7" Pink Tail & a 3" Huma Huma Triggerfish       8/16/13

Thank you Sir for your advice on this. I will heed it.
<Ahh, enjoy your triggers! BobF>
Re: Adding a 7" Female Crosshatch Triggerfish With a 7" Pink Tail & a 3" Huma Huma Triggerfish     8/17/13

Thank you Sir. I did as you advised, and put a plastic light fixture cover, type of divider in the Tank. It is divided at the 1/3 of the tank where The dominant Pink Tail Triggerfish stays. The Lunare Wrasse and 1 Yellow Tang also happened to get caught on that side. No Aggression from any fish on the right hand 2/3 of the Tank at all, including the Huma Huma Triggerfish.
The Crosshatch Triggerfish looks very happy :) How long do you recommend I keep the divider up for? Thus far the Pink Tail Triggerfish isn't even interested in the new addition. Thank you Sir for your excellent advice :)
 <A week should do it Paul... You'll be able to see/detect over aggression (unlikely in this volume amongst these species) at that time. BobF>
Re: Adding a 7" Female Crosshatch Triggerfish With a 7" Pink Tail & a 3" Huma Huma Triggerfish, now Naso and Fr. Ang.!      8/18/13

Greetings Sir. I have a new issue concerning this same evolution. I have a large Vlamingi Tang, who has been getting very aggressive lately.
<Oh yes; happens>

When I put the divider in and introduced the New Crosshatch Triggerfish, The Tang went crazy and was pulverizing the Triggerfish.
<Flip this Naso to "the other side". Use two nets; WATCH your hands>
I caught the Vlamingi Tang and placed it in a quarantine Tank, but the divider came undone. The Pink Tailed Triggerfish went after the Crosshatch Triggerfish, chasing her into the rocks.
<Aye yi yi! As I was concerned>

 I separated them and placed the divider firmly back in place. Here is my question: I also have a 250 gallon Aquarium with peaceful Wrasses, I.e. Fairy Wrasses and Mystery Wrasses, a 3" Hippo Tang and a 8" French Angelfish, that is almost at adult coloration. Should I continue with the divider for a
week, knowing the actions of the Pink Tail Triggerfish, or should I introduce the Cross Hatch Triggerfish into the 250 gallon system?
<I would do the latter; place the Xanthichthys in the 250>
 I have been told by others that the French Angelfish may try and kill the Triggerfish,
<Mmm, not likely... Definitely less risk than w/ the present situation>
so I didn't even mention that possibility before. As you well know, there are so many challenges to this hobby :) Thank you Sir.
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Help! Rabbitfish in dire way!! Now two triggers tussling... BTW in a 240 gal.     4/3/13
If it's not one thing it's another. So far so good with new fish introductions and our humu trigger. We added a beautiful 4 1/2 in queen angel last week and after a day of squabbles, the trigger chilled out.
Today we introduced our second trigger (Sargassum or red-tail trigger) who is roughly the same size as our humu.
  He was NOT happy about this so we grabbed a large critter keeper and drilled holes in it (have yet to find a big enough colander). They weren't big enough for him to fit through so thought they'd be fine (our small drill bits kept causing cracks so had to get a bigger one). Well, they weren't big enough for him to get through but he was SO stubborn and mad that he managed to wedge himself INTO one and get completely stuck.  After some judicious cutting with a pair of Fiskars (minding his mouth - didn't want to get bit) he was finally free but we're pretty sure he got banged up a little in the process. He's hiding in one of his caves so I can't see if he's injured (if he is it's probably minor) and he won't come out.  I'm thinking he's just fine and his "adventures in plastic holes" may be enough to keep him from being a pest until the new kid settles in. Is there anything more we can do until he's feeling better?
<No; best to not manipulate this fish further>
Ps.  My boyfriend has forgotten who his favorite fish was until he got himself stuck. He's very upset with himself over this. I keep telling him that the trigger is a tough fish and he'll be okay.
<You are very likely spot on here. BobF>
Re: Help! Rabbitfish in dire way!!     4/4/13

Well, looks like he's fine. Except for one tiny issue - he has a very specific sleeping spot in one of his caves and the new trigger has decided that's his new home.  I think he's freaked out enough from his adventures that he didn't want to do more than make a token effort at getting his spot back. His rock "tower" has a pretty impressive cave network and he's gone into another one for now. The lights are completely off now so hopefully he'll just go to bed (he is the first fish to settle down for the night always) and things will sort themselves in the morning.  Thanks again!
<Thank you for this further input. BobF>

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

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

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

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


Compatibility/Stocking where to put my Xanthichthys auromarginatus and them more questions....   6/28/11
I hope that whoever gets this question to answer is having a good day. Also thank you in advance for reading my question and providing your feedback. It really is appreciated.
<Well, all right!>
I have been busily perusing all the articles and facts that you have on the fish that I am going to be asking about, but I seem to be finding conflicting information/confusing myself
<"Many roads...">
I have two tanks to play with. They are both 120gal systems. One is a custom made bow front that was given to me by a man who works with my husband. Apparently it was "too much effort" he offered it to my husband who quickly acquired it for me. They are both plumbed into the same system (both drain into a 100gal sump).
Tank 1:
Inhabitants are currently:
1 X Siganus doliatus (3 years in tank)
1 X Macropharyngodon meleagris, male (3 years in tank, started as a female and underwent sex change about 6 months ago)
1 X Calloplesiops altivelis (2 ½ years in tank)
1 X Pterois volitans (2 years in tank)
<Surprised the Pteroine didn't consume the roundhead>
and round about 40kg (ish...probably more...not sure really...three decent sized baumies <bommies> with lots of hidey holes at any rate) of live rock
Tank 2:
Nothing as of yet but I currently have
2 X boxes of live rock on order AND
1 X Rhinecanthus aculeatus in quarantine awaiting placement (think it has about 3 more weeks in quarantine, but it won't be placed until live rock has been in quarantine and then added to bow front).
The sump has about 50kg or so more of live rock in the refugium.
I think that sets the scene as far tanks go...
I also have a male Xanthichthys auromarginatus in quarantine with my R. aculeatus. I know that I can place him in Tank 2 as well, but my question is can I put him in tank 1?
<Mmm, maybe... there's a chance this will prove to be the "last straw" psychologically here... The Trigger may bite the Lion, out-compete the Rabbitfish and Leopard Wrasse for food>
I don't want to risk my volitans...if it will nip his fins he's not going in. But I've read everywhere that X. auro are reef friendly (I know that a lionfish is not usually classed as a reef fish...
<Are... found on reefs>
but isn't that just because it's a big messy fish and produces lots of waste and eats small fish as opposed to it's incompatibility with coral??)
<A percentage (and variable) risk>
my thinking being that generally in a reef setting you think hermits, cleaner shrimp....invertebrates. SO if a X. auro is reef friendly I would assume they don't 'sample' invertebrates...
<Can, do at times>
so if they don't 'sample' invertebrates, my leap of thinking being that perhaps they also then wouldn't sample say...the fins of my lion?
<This group too>
OR is it as per any fish, it all depends on their personality.
Next question. I am also quite fond of the Canthigaster genus. Specifically C. papua or C. solandri. They both pop up quite frequently in the local aquarium store, so if I were to buy one it would most likely be which ever one became available first, UNLESS one of them is more compatible...
<All in the genus are about the same; even the smaller species>
My first reaction is that they would absolutely not be compatible with a lion. I would automatically assume they are nippy. But I read in your facts (Tank Mates for Blue Spot Toby 5/7/08) where puffer punk said that she had kept or seen one kept (can't remember exactly now) with a dwarf lion. If it can be kept with a Dendrochirus would it not also be able to be kept with a Pterois?
<Possibly... if swallowed though...>
As per with the trigger, I don't want to risk my lion, so if you think it would be too nippy it's too nippy. Would I then be able to put it in tank 2 with R. aculeatus and potentially X. auro?
<Possibly... I give all a 50:50 chance of getting along indeterminately>
I've seen conflicting posts both ways. Some say no, puffer picks on trigger/trigger picks on puffer. Some where they say yes (specifically Trigger, Toby and ...lion answered by Ananda on 03/18/04) where she said she'd kept/seen (again can't remember exactly which) a Huma Huma (very closely related to the R. aculeatus) and a valentini (different Canthigaster I know but I wouldn't think they'd be THAT different) kept together? I also read one where I think it said the Toby had bitten the Rhinecanthus on the face and they had to be separated. Then I read " not to place puffers with 'disturbing" fast-swimming tank mates'. I would class a trigger as both "disturbing" and fast-swimming.
<Me too; I as well.>
So I'm just confused in general. Can it be kept with a trigger or would it be best not to risk it?
<For me? I would not>
Last question. Odonus niger. Tank 2? Probably pushing it huh?
<I do think so>
I guess ideally what I would like would be to be to have:
Xanthichthys auromarginatus (which I already have) in tank 1 with P. volitans and Odonus niger and
Canthigaster solandri or papua in tank 2 with R. aculeatus
<The first an okay risk, not the second>
If the X. auro can't be put in tank 1 can it go in tank 2 WITH the other two, or would I need to sacrifice one, (and if so, which would you recommend leaving out, if it's one or the other I think I'd prefer the Canthigaster) or both?
<Again, not a good risk>
If it can't be done...it can't be done so be it.
Hope I didn't completely confuse you.
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Tang and Triggers 10/23/10
I have a 3 feet long tank and I have a cleaner wrasse and a small 2-3 inches niger trigger for about 2 months.
<The trigger is going to need a larger home, and cleaner wrasse are generally poorly suited for captivity.

http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm .>
I'm thinking of adding a small regal tang of 2 and a half inches long.
<This tank is too small.>
My question is that can trigger and tang live together in peace or will the trigger kill the tang?
<In a larger tank this might work as the niger is not as aggressive as many triggers, but in a too small tank all bets are off.>

Trigger fish compatibility   7/24/10
Hi crew. I currently have a 5x2x2 ft FOWLR set up. It's been up and running for about a year and there is plenty of coraline and a pair of Turbos.
<Snails... will be eaten likely by any Balistid>

The first three fish introduced were a 2" Picasso, 4" Foxface and a 4" tusk. I have unfortunately lost a few fish since then, including the tusk. The trigger and Foxface have survived through tough times, including ich outbreak, poor water conditions and low salinity. I also added a 4" lawnmower blenny a few months back is seems happy. With a lot of time, patience, heartache and money I have water parameters within acceptable measures and do 10% fortnightly water changes. My question is: I wish to add one final fish. I'm thinking of adding a Niger. I've read a range of articles on compatibility, particular with Picassos. Is it a risk worth taking? I trust the "dominant" trigger will be based on their individual personalities. Thanks again for your great site and prompt replies.
<Mmm, if the Odonus is decidedly smaller or larger (a couple inches), I give you good odds of the two getting along. You should be able to tell almost immediately if this will be the case... I would introduce the new fish during the day, when you can/will be about to observe them for a few hours. Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger, incomp.  -- 06/10/10
<Hello Terry>
I would like to start out by saying thank you or all your past help and advice, thank you!!
<No problem!>
I'm thinking about adding a small size Clown Trigger to my 180. It would be the last fish added and the smallest, I have heard horror stories about the Clown Trigger and wanting to know if they are really as mean and aggressive as they say,
<Yes they are.. the most recent one I saw in my local LFS had to be moved from the tank that he was in because he was bullying a Blueface Angel (Xanthometopon) that was four-five times his own body weight. He was about 2 inches and they moved him to the 'big tank' with several fishes over 6 inches as company>
I have a 3" Powder Blue tang, 3" Blonde Naso Tang, two med size clown fish, a 3" Emperor Angel
<No.. your system is too small for this fish.. and this won't get on with the trigger>
and a 6" Magnificent Fox Face. I have a lot of live rock and plenty of caves, I have a well established refugium, ASM- G4 skimmer, Coralife uv sterilizer and a lot of flow, my levels are, ammonia and nitrite are at zero, my ph 8.2-8.4 and my nitrate are 10-20.
Any advice would be appreciated.
<I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this really won't work in the long term
Sent from my iPhone
Re: Clown Trigger - 6/11/10

<Hi Terry>
Thank you for your reply,
<No worries>
I stopped by a LFS and witnessed first hand exactly what you were talking about! They had a small maybe 1.5 at best terrorizing everything that was in the small tank, which everything in it's tank was at least four times it's size, I'll take your advice and pass!
<Yes.. best kept alone as a 'pet' with just you for company IMO>
When you said my system is too small, what did you mean?
<I have in the past kept both N. Lituratus & P. Imperator in 180 gallon tanks and can say with certainty that as time goes by and these fish grow, they both need much more room than this. Uncrowded 8 foot 240+ systems at a minimum IMO>
I should upgrade to a bigger tank?
<I would, and have. The bigger the better for these>
It's been running for over a year now with no problems,
<The fishes are small at the moment. When they both get to 8 inches you'll see what I mean, and they will (or should be given the space to) top out at over a foot each eventually>
I tend to over feed, I grow some corals in my refugium with no problems.
<then this is not a refugium as such.. needs to be devoid of predatory life>
I was wanting to add another fish just not sure what to add, I was looking at the trigger family or maybe a small lion.
<Most of the smaller Lions are difficult to feed when there are other vigorous feeders (such as Triggers & Pomacanthus) around so a Lion might not be such a good idea. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-11/fm/feature/ The only possibility I can think of is the 'Fuzzy Dwarf' Dendrochirus brachypterus which is a bit more outgoing than most. As far as Triggerfish go, there are plenty to choose from. Look to ones from Melichthys, Sufflamen, Xanthichthys & possibly Rhinecanthus genus.. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/
but you really need a bigger tank before you add any other fishes here at all. Sorry again!>
Sent from my iPhone

Compatibility... Pinktail Triggerfish and smaller peaceful fish 09/15/09
Hey Guys,
<Hey there, you got one of the gals tonight.>
thanks in advance for the info.
My question is about compatibility. I have a 120G with 100 pounds of live rock and about a 7 inch sand bed.
<Oooh! Nice deep sand bed! I like!>
The livestock that I would like to place together is a pair of pearly Jawfish, <Is one of my favorite fish! You could likely have more than a pair if you so desire. I have seen 4-5 sharing the same burrow successfully in
captivity, but I have not observed this in the wild.>
an orange spot goby, a six line wrasse,

<Good choices.>
and until he starts to get big (in which by then I will have another tank) a Pinktail trigger,
<Mmm, this fish can grow to more than a foot long in it's normal habitat, and may quickly out grow your tank particularly if your tank is only 4 foot long. The Pinktail Triggerfish (Melichthys vidua) may not do well with your smaller more peaceful fish and may eat your shrimp. Would you consider a different trigger? The Bluechin Triggerfish (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) may be a more suitable fish for your system. The Bluechin does not get as big and would less likely to outgrow your 120 gallon tank.
This fish may also not do well with smaller more peaceful fish and may also eat your shrimp, but I have seen more instances of success with this triggerfish than the Pinktail. A word of caution, Bluechins have been know to spit water like pufferfish commonly do, so make sure your electrical cords and outlets are not on the receiving end of the spray.>
along with some shrimp, snails, and 2 emerald crabs.

Is this going to be a problem?
<All depends on the behaviors of the specific fish, just like people, each fish is an individual, with it's own quirks and tendencies, some fit the mold, some break them. So it is impossible to say if it will or won't be a problem.
Good luck with your setup.

Humu Trigger & Clown Trigger in 55 gallon systems. No Surprises: Trigger Compatibility\Behavior 8/4/2009
Hello Crew,
<Hi Meg.>
I will start by saying I am new to saltwater tanks and have read your site till my eyeballs want to fall out. But it is so helpful. Thank you. But anyway I have two questions to ask you.
<Fire away.>
1. I have a Humu Trigger about three to four inches long (I call him my little devil)
<An appropriate name.>

He was my second fish....Initially he was in a 55 gallon with a striped puffer, maroon striped clown, and two blue damsels.
<Ouch. Triggers need a much larger tank than this.

http://www.wetwebmedia.com/triggersysfaqs.htm >
All was well until I found him eating my clown and chasing puffer (those two then decided they couldn't ever come out of hiding)...so enters second 55 gallon.
<Still too small for a trigger, even if left alone.>
I put him in with a Diana hog wrasse, powder brown tang, and dwarf lion.
<This will not end well.>
All was well until ich hit....recovered but lost tang.
<Ahh... Quarantine, dips and baths will keep these pests out of your system. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm >
I wanted to add more fish so I purchased another powder brown(couldn't resist), Flame Angel(beautiful), and still had wrasse and one blue damsel.
That was 1 month ago.
<I've already said it, but that is too many fish for a 55 gallon, especially with a trigger that will grow to just over a foot in length.>
Flame and Tang timid at first but in the last week came around. Triggy(his name) responded well....until today. I came out this afternoon to see Triggy eating my flame angel..literally.
<Territoriality, hunger, or just being a trigger...>
Most of the face was gone and eyes. I was horrified!! So I sadly cleaned that disaster. Well after feeding time this evening(I feed frozen krill)
<Hmm needs better food than just krill. Feeding krill all of the time is the same and you or I eating nothing but popcorn. Http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trigfdgfaqs.htm >
he then ate my blue damsel....they have lived together since Triggy was less than half the size..day one.
<Not surprising, unfortunately.
To my disbelief my "little devil" was now the enemy. He was very animated, ate out of my hand, and loved to play with small shells and search all areas of the tank. What would have made him eat everyone and can I do anything?
<A few things actually.>
I have taken him out and left wrasse and tang in the tank. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to lose him but can't afford to have him wipeout entire tanks!
<You have a couple of choices, Clearly, this is a belligerent trigger. You can purchase him a much larger tank for him, add a few tougher fish first, and he will probably make a great 'pet' fish, or you can find him a new home.>
Okay now second problem. In another 55 Gallon tank with a 6 inch clown trigger, 7 inch dog face puffer, and a domino about 3 inches, and striped damsel 2 inches.
<Terrible mix of fish for a 55 gallon tank, and dangerously overstocked.
Do realize that Clown will get up to 16 inches long, and generally have a nasty disposition.>
This is my boyfriends tank. Everything is good. Water quality, eating, etc.
For the last two months clown has been laying at the bottom of the tank not doing too much. He will make himself pale when he does this, and(prob sounds crazy) looks sad, breathing is fine.
<Likely a result of the overcrowding.>
Everyone else in tank is just fine. He still gets excited about eating and such. But just seems to lay around all day now. Now I have read numerous times on here that they can just be pulling your leg but is two months of this normal?
<No, the fish is stressed.>
He is such a beautiful fish we really don't want to lose him and he seems healthy as can be....I check them all over everyday since I am at home.
Sorry to repeat a question...it just seems a little long for this "episode". I appreciate your time and any feedback would be wonderful.
<You really need to reexamine how you are stocking these tanks. a 55 gallon will not work with these fish. I personally would not keep a trigger in a tank smaller than a 125 gallon, with a 180 or better preferred - these fish get big and mean.>
Thanks to your site I'm not always running to fish stores(some of which are not knowledgeable) Keep up the good work. I am sure I am only one of many who enjoy such an educational site! :) (didn't realize it would get this long winded! Sorry!)
<No worries.>

Trigger Compatibility 5/31/09
Hi guys, great site! In regards to trigger fish compatibility, my questions has been asked many a time. However, the answers I find don't really specify tank size and set-up. I will be starting a new predator FOWLR system with a 3" sump with refugium and a larger-than-required skimmer. It will be a 150 gallon tank and I plan on having large amounts of LR with lots of hiding places. My million dollar questions are: Can I keep a Clown trigger with a Volitans lionfish?
<No. Balistoides conspicillum is, to be honest, a one fish, one tank kind of beastie. It will nibble, bite or kill just about anything.>

Can I also add in a Picasso?
<Possibly. I've certainly kept Pterois volitans and Rhinecanthus rectangulus in a 200 Imperial gallon system (240 US gallons) without problems. But don't forget many of these triggers patrol areas the size of football fields, so 150 US gallons is nothing to them, and if your Rhinecanthus aculeatus decides it doesn't like the Pterois, you're going to have problems. I wouldn't risk it, to be honest. There are milder Triggers
I'd recommend before Rhinecanthus species, such as Melichthys spp, for mixed species aquaria. So if you were smart, you'd choose one of those species rather than Rhinecanthus.>
The other two fish I intend to keep are a Harlequin wrasse and a Naso tang.
<This is a LOT of fish for 150 US gallons. Choerodon fasciatus gets to about 30 cm in the wild, though that is exceptional in captivity; Naso lituratus to 40 cm, though again, usually quite a bit smaller in captivity. I'd review your stocking, filtration very carefully before progressing. The Triggerfish would definitely be the "wild card" of the bunch, so I'd choose the species you keep very carefully.>
I only intend to have 4-5 fish. As you can appreciate, I'm getting all sorts of responses from both the internet and LFS. Thanks and keep up the good work!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Lonely clown? Lonely Trigger? Trigger pairings?  5/6/09
Bob (and/or crew):
Two clown situations/questions. (I hope you do not think me a clown for asking):
<Not a'tall>
1. In one tank, as you know (Bob), a leopard grouper (I could not catch as of yet), recently killed a black clown (after several months of harmony) that had bonded with and groomed a docile and shy Niger trigger. (I know, my fault.)
<Mmm, there's always draining the tank down and removing rock et al... not that big a deal really... to facilitate removing livestock>
2. In another tank, one of my pair of bonded orange false percula clowns has, after much time, taken up residence in a xenia. The other clown is left out "in the cold".
Without the risk of anthropomorphizing too much, the questions are:
a. Will the Trigger "miss" the black clown and what do I do about it? I am afraid another clown may not bond or be fearful (or be lunch). I am removing the grouper when swapping/breaking down tanks in
the next few days.
<Won't "miss" it... are rather "autistic" re such memories>
b. Will the stranded (orange) clown (in the other tank) - the one no longer allowed to be around the "xenia hog" former partner, suffer ill effects?
<Mmm, not if there's sufficient room otherwise. Such "third parties" (sometimes fourth...) occur in the wild as well... Some folks employ "extras" as "whipping boys" to inspire breeding et al. behavior>
The orange clowns were bonded for 3 years before the other left for the xenia patch. Shall I get another clown for the lonely one - and, if so, of which sex (opposite or same)?
<Mmm, I would not... unless there is PLENTY of room... like an uncrowded 50 gallons per pair>
Maybe I'm silly - but with the recent articles on exactly how even lowly invertebrates feel things (well physical sensations, like pain anyway) - am I to assume that higher species can have "emotional"
<More of this is "reading in", anthropomorphising... than real>
(As an aside, my friend - a no nonsense Ph.D. - tells me that, many years ago, his wife once donned an ugly mask, hid behind a door (and near the aquarium) to scare him - her husband, near Halloween time.
As she hid masked by the aquarium (but before jumping out at him), a normally friendly (almost dog-like) (freshwater) fish darted across the aquarium and hid his head in the sand - not to come out until after a
day later when he was gently pulled from the rubble by the husband after the fright. This behavior had not been exhibited before, nor any hiding behavior.
<I believe it>
So . . . one wonders how much lesser creatures know and feel!
<Some fishes... e.g. larger puffers, are quite "intelligent"... capable of acquiring/retaining working knowledge, bridging bits...>
Any clown advice relative to the lonely clown and lonely trigger?
<Don't worry re the trigger or clown>
Also, after much research, and affirmative assertions via internet discussions, I tried the docile established Niger trigger and a new (similar sized) Picasso trigger together. No dice!
<A poor idea>
Niger did not like him near his hiding place and harassed him even after my checking to see if they could re-establish territories - so I immediately caught the new trigger and placed him on a holding tank a few days ago.
I am setting up a new larger tank and obviously rearranging rock (and rehoming the grouper). Can I try the trigger pairing again?
<I would not... In the wild some species are social... best ex. Odonus niger as sub-adults, Xanthichthys mento et al. as adults... some get about as pretty constant pairs, e.g. Blue-throats, but most Balistids are
loners, and do NOT mix with other trigger species... only courting their own in brief association during "breeding". In captivity, most should be kept singly>
What else can go with them - I have a Coral Beauty Angel and a Sharp-Nosed puffer in the same tank with the Niger (who I believe is scared of the grouper) - another reason to rehome.
<Need to read, experiment, perhaps with removing, floating established, more "alpha" species/individuals for days while new, less alpha ones are introduced, rested in the DT>
Can I add anything else to the Niger Trigger, Coral Beauty, Sharp-noised Puffer (and hopefully Picasso trigger mix) if al introduced at once? And do I really put them all in at once?
<More reading>
I think Anthias are pretty, as are other triggers. May a Volitans Lion, or something else that can hold their own?
<Not good choices with triggers>
FOWLR - so I need some more biodiversity (under the assumption my larger tank can support it).
Dundalk, MD
<BobF, San Diego, CA>

Triggerfish/Reef Safe 4/7/09
Good Afternoon guys,
<Hello, whomever you are.>
First off, thanks for the great site! It has helped me many a times over the years on my growing quantity of saltwater tanks.
<You're welcome.>
Recently I have begun gathering the funds/purchasing things to set up a new 75-100gal tank... I currently have a 30gal reef set up with a 10 gallon sump/refugium on it that I have had for a couple years as well as a 40 gallon mantis tank. I am looking into housing a trigger in my new 75-100gal tank (which he will probably get mostly to himself) aside from frags from my reef and rock. Is there any specific species of trigger that get along better with Corals than others?
<The Blue Jaw/Chin Triggerfish, genera Xanthichthys, is probably one of the best, but I'd lean more toward that 100 gallon tank rather than the 75.

Most triggerfish need more room than a 75 can provide. Concentrate on more length/width than height in your tank selection. Read here and related articles/FAQ's on triggerfish.
Additionally I have read that some triggers grow very slowly (what is the growth rate for triggers?), if this is true what species do this and would I be able to house them temporarily in my reef tank while I am setting up and cycling the large one... knowing of course that I would not make them live in there permanently.
<A difficult question to answer, too many variables, water quality, tank size, nutrition, etc. all have a hand in rate of growth.>
I was leaning more towards a small niger trigger ( my LFS has several small 1-2" ones right now ) and I feel down right bad for the with the conditions they are under at the LFS.
<This triggerfish grows rather large and I would not recommend it for the size of tank you have in mind, and is not quite as reef safe as triggerfish from the Xanthichthys (sic) family <<genus>>.>
Thanks in advance!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Trigger Compatibility... Again.  1/18/09 Now, I really am sorry for this one... I know that similar situations and recommendations abound within the FAQ's... But, I'll throw it out there anyway...Can a 2" Rhinecanthus Aculeatus/Picasso Trigger kill a 6" Arothron Manilensis/Striped Dogface Puffer? <Mmm, doubtful this would occur... but is a remote possibility> Or does it only matter than he thinks he can? <Hmmm> I know there's no guarantee with any Trigger, but I thought that Rhinecanthus were somewhat more mellow than the various Balistapus and Balistoides. I have had Picassos Before, but never anything like this... Evil. And would you say, as a very general rule, that any display of aggression will intensify with age? <This is most often the case> There's a scary thought... Barely two inches - The smallest fish in the tank... He tries to bite me... He forced me to return my beloved Mullidae/Goatfishes (well, actually, he had been chasing them for awhile - thought it would pass - one of them decided to split from the entire program and leave the tank on his own). He even brings out the worst in a Chromileptis/Panther Grouper... You ever notice the Panther's body is almost like a Pig or a Rhinoceros? With that low-slung mouth just like certain mammals have for rooting and grazing? My 5" Panther Grouper very quickly scoops and flings the Picasso just like a Rhino... (Just an observation). Now, on to the Puffer... During feeding, the Puffer gets his... No way around that... Could not care less about the Trigger. The Trigger, however, tries to steal the puffers food... So much that, even if I feed them on separate ends of the tank, the Trigger will stop eating to dart across the tank and try to prevent the puffer from eating. The Puffer keeps on munching like that green, hotdog eating thing in Ghostbusters. But the Trigger is clearly not happy and getting more and more aggressive - Biting and shoving the Puffer. Which is extra weird because the Trigger hasn't grown much in the last three months, whereas the Puffer has almost doubled in size. I guess my question is this: Is this going to get worse? I love both fishes. I don't know if a larger tank would make that much difference... Right now, they're in a 15g show (about 20" X 10" X 18")... <... Are you joking? This is too small by more than half for just the puffer alone...> I have also ordered a juvenile Pomacanthus Imperator/Angelfish to balance it out... No, I'm lying... They're in a 100G and I will definitely not be adding an Imperator in this system ever... <Ahh!> But I do have a lovely Pogonoperca Punctata/Clown Grouper/Soapfish that is still doing quite well his recent near-death experience... I know... I need a bigger tank. What do I do with this Picasso Trigger? Smack him with a rolled up newspaper? <I'd put him in "jail"... in a floating colander (plastic of course) for a week or so... See if that doesn't take some of the "spit and vinegar" out of him. It just might. Bob Fenner>

Minimum Tank Size for... 8/18/08 Hi WWM crew! I'm currently in the process of researching to start my first saltwater aquarium and have become greatly drawn toward the triggers. The system I intend to purchase will be about 90 gallons, sumpless, with a hang on the back Octopus 800s skimmer, and eventually a hang on the back refugium. I was wondering if I could keep either a Sargassum trigger or a Picasso Trigger (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) in a tank this size? <Mmm, could, yes> The other fish I plan to keep are a Singapore, aka Vermiculated, Angel, a Kole Tang, and a third, undetermined species. Would these two fish cohabitate relatively peacefully with the two other known fish? Thanks a lot, -Ricky <Triggers are always a "wild card" in terms of their compatibility, but I give you good odds that the mix listed will get along. I'd place the Kole first, the Trigger last... Lots of live rock... Bob Fenner>

Trigger/Angel-"safe" inverts  10/7/08 Hi, crew, I always come across questions such as "which triggers are reef-safe?" or "which angels are reef-safe?". <Neither really; while some species may work successfully in some tanks, both families evolved to eat invertebrates, so at least some of the things in your tank are at risk of becoming food.> I'll have an 8 foot x 2.5 x 2.5 foot tank, and am really interested in a Clown Trigger and an Emperor Angel. If I can't have both in this 375g tank, then at least the Imperator. <Clown Triggers are comparatively aggressive fish, and I don't really recommend any triggerfish outside one or two genera (Sufflamen, Melichthys) being kept in community settings. Does of course depend on the specimen. Emperor Angels can of course be kept in multi-species tanks, with the proviso that (as ever with Pomacanthidae) that they're "top dog".> So, my question is, what inverts/corals are most probably trigger or angel-safe? <Angels specifically go for sponges, so that's the main group to avoid; that isn't to say they won't have a go at other types of invertebrate, but provided they are well fed, and the tank is sufficiently large, any damage tends to be minimal. With triggers, shrimps, molluscs, annelids and echinoderms are all easy meat. Some triggers ignore cnidarians (corals, anemones, etc.) but many don't, and the Clown Trigger is one that will damage, likely consume, such animals given the chance.> The FOWLR does not appeal very much to me, and if I can't have inverts, then it will be a pure reef tank with reef-safe fishes only. <Would HIGHLY recommend that approach, perhaps building up experience of this aspect of the hobby generally before thinking about either a trigger or the Emperor angelfish. Do remember the Emperor angelfish has a poor survival record, in part because less experienced hobbyists are attracted to this animal without fully comprehending the demands it places on its keeper. There are many easier to maintain angels out there.> However, if I can have an Imperator as my "showcase" animal, and still have a reef, then that would be great. <Suspect it would be worth doing a bit more reading before anything else...> Thanks for any recommendations! <Cheers, Neale.>

Missing Anemone 9/25/08 Hello! <Hi> Recently I bought a Condy anemone and a week or 2 later I added some red hermit crabs (2), well, over night the anemone disappeared so I took out all my rock and such to see if maybe he had sucked up inside one, but found no sign. So I figured it died, however, there is no sign that an anemone had ever been in the tank. So my question is: is it possible that my anemone was eaten by my hermits? <Very doubtful.> I also have a Picasso trigger, niger trigger, dog face puffer, Volitans lionfish, fuzzy dwarf lionfish, and a snowflake eel. <The triggers or puffer are the most likely culprits here. Also in future queries please spell and grammar check before submitting as instructed here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm  , the time taken to correct them before posting would be better used answering more questions.> <Chris>
Re: Missing Anemone 9/25/08
Thanks for the quick reply! <Welcome> The strange thing about this is that the anemone and fish had lived together just fine for 2 weeks, never bothering each other. <Just took them a while to get around to checking it out.> Are anemones part of the trigger fish's natural diet? <Not usually, but they will sample most anything they can, as will your puffer.> <Chris>

Trigger Crazy, comp.  -- 09/23/08 Hey Guys, <Hello Lance.> Don't know what you'll think of this and you'll probably think I'm nuts, but here goes. I've got a 125 Gallon, Fish Only. Currently housing a Redtooth Niger, a Hawaiian Black, a Piacaso <Ever heard of Pablo Picasso, the artist? That's the guy this species (there are at least 5 trigger species given this common name)was named for.> , and a Blue Throat. Currently everyone is living a peaceful existence. The Piacaso <Picasso> seems to mother everyone by bringing out food to the others, the Hawaiian is the big guy in the tank and seems only concerned about the other Hawaiian in the reflection. The red tooth is his normal passive self along with the blue throat. Having said all that, how much trouble am I looking at in the future as I know temperaments can/might/probably will change as they age and get used to each other. Lance. <While I cannot exclude future aggression and recommend to keep some of yours as mated pairs (if available) and as the only triggers in the tank, your project might actually work. Your choice of species excluded all the potentially super aggressive ones like Clown trigger (Balistoides conspicillum), Orange lined trigger (Balistapus undulates) and others from these and similar genera. The Odonus may become problematic with age, but that's not for sure. A problem you will have to face is that your triggers can reach sizes around a foot and housing 4 one-foot fish in a 125 gallon tank will push or cross the limits of physical and psychological crowding. You'll also need very good filtration. Also see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm  and all the sub-pages and FAQs for experiences with your species. Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Trigger Crazy -- 09/24/08
Thanks Marco, <Welcome.> this is actually my first testing of the waters so to speak. This is my first fish tank, not counting the 50 gallon that lasted about 2 weeks, because it was too small. I figured Hawaii was the best place to "learn the hobby" I started with "Wild Captured" butterflies however quickly realized they were just too tender to transport. I've since progressed to the triggers, which have proven both hardy and entertaining fish. Once I've completed my "Bachelors Degree in Home Aquaria" and the Army moves me back to the main land. In my retirement home I plan to do my "Masters" with a 1000 gal. So as this is both fun and educational now, it does have a larger purpose. I figure in the 1000 I can get away with much the same mix, maybe minus Pablo (that is what we named the fish, BTW) however, he is the kid crowd pleaser. I'm just not too sure as to how he will temper with age, so to speak, as most of the wild ones I see seem to be very solitary customers. So, I continue to research and read and educate myself. I hoping to get away with a couple of Wrasse types in the 1000 gal. I'm looking at Dragon, Christmas, Yellow Tailed Coris and Hawaiian Blue Cleaner to round out the posse. I figure 8 fish, 1000 gal and all the bells and whistles that money can buy filtration and lighting will set it up nicely without any overcrowding issues, and it should make a nice display. <Indeed, should become impressive. Good to hear to are planning to have larger quarters for your trigger clique. In my experience it would rather be the Odonus, which might become a little aggressive when larger, not so the Rhinecanthus, despite their somewhat solitary nature they appear to function well in mixed societies, but this may depend on the personality of the fish and R. species. I'm not a big fan of the Cleaner wrasses due to their often limited lifespan in captivity, I do wish you luck if you decide to have this fish in your community. Enjoy your triggers! Cheers, Marco.>

Compatibility - triggers, puffers 05/30/2008 Hi Guys, <<And ladies I hope....Andrew with you this evening>> I just have a quick query; your website has been really useful but I just want to ask something specific. I'm considering a marine FOWLR setup. I have fallen in love with three fish, and I just wanted to know 1. would they get along and 2. what sort of a tank size would best fit these guys (I'm guessing pretty big, but would like to see if it is within price and room!) The fish are a Pinktail trigger, a narrow-lined puffer (Arothron manilensis) OR dogface; both are cute, and the last is the fuzzy dwarf lionfish that's just too... fuzzy to resist. Could these three ever get along and in what size of tank? <<Three very nice fish indeed. I don't see any problems with the puffer and the trigger in a tank of about 200 gal plus ( they both can get pretty large, especially the trigger, which can reach about a foot, sometimes a little more, and about 3/4 of a foot for the puffer, in captivity)...I would not add a lion in with these due the to the aggressive nature of them, and I feel the Lion would ultimately meet its demise through harassment>> Thanks a lot in advance, your website has been such a great resource Jo <<Thanks for the questions, please do read more on these species here, including linked articles and FAQ's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/melichthys/index.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tetraodontpuffers.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dendrochirus.htm  Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Triggerfish has become unsocial and not eating... sys. /env.    5/2/08 Hi Crew, I've read some of your answers to other problems (and i am definitely looking here first for all my fish info!) but unfortunately I haven't quite got the answer that I'm need for this situation... I have a 50-gal tank and all the levels are good. and there are many rocks, plants, and hiding places. I currently have 5 fish living in this tank, two 4-stripe damselfish, a blue devil damselfish, a 3 1/2 inch lunar wrasse, and a 3 inch rectangular trigger fish. <The last two need more room than this...> The wrasse is the newbie in the tank and he is doing really well. but before we got him, trigger was king of this tank and for the first couple days that the wrasse was introduced, the trigger would get very protective of his side of the tank and would chase him all over. and then they co-existed peacefully for about a week but for the last 4 days or so trigger has been MIA... he is hiding all the time and not been coming out to eat the frozen pieces of krill that he loves. <Not good for a standard diet> the wrasse doesn't bug the damsels at all, he just likes to swim all over. but the times that i do see trigger (when the tank light is off but the overhead light in the room is on and the fish are "sleeping") i can see glimpses of trigger moving to where he sleeps. at this i see an opportunity to feed him, but as soon as he sees me he goes back into hiding. I'm afraid that he is going to starve. should i take the wrasse out? <Perhaps> i have another 10-gal tank that has 2 ocellaris clown fish and a scooter blenny in it <... also need more room> but i think that tank would be too small and he would be unhappy. the other solution i thought of was to sell back the wrasse the fish store but that also doesn't grantee that trigger will go back to normal, plus I enjoy watching the wrasse 'fly' throughout the tank. i hope this is enough info and any help would be greatly appreciated! -Jamie- <Well... you seem to be aware of your options. Going forward, I'd either get much larger tanks, or investigate the psychological needs of the livestock you intend to keep... These systems are too crowded. Bob Fenner>

Clown Fish Feeding, Tankmates 5/1/08 I have a question. I had two clown fish in my 75 gallon aquarium and they were really good eaters. I just got a Picasso trigger fish and for the first day the clowns were fine and they would swim with the trigger and eat with him and everything. <More likely they were sizing each other up.> Now all of a sudden they are a little afraid and won't go to the top for fish flakes anymore. <Triggers are quite intimidating and aggressive.> My trigger is getting all the food and I'm afraid that my clowns are not getting any. Is there any way that I can get my clowns to eat something? <Try some sinking pellets, and hopefully they will become a bit more aggressive eating with the trigger as the fish get used to each other. If the clowns are otherwise healthy I would not worry too much until a week has passed, they should be able to go this long without food without any negative repercussions.> <Chris>

Humu Humu causing a stir, trigger incomp.   4/28/08 Hello. I read your FAQs all the time. It is a very valuable resource! <Gracias> Now for my little problem... I just purchased a 4-5" HumuHumu Trigger. Currently in this tank I have a small 3" Niger Trigger, <Uhh, in how large a volume... a 75 is too small....> a 4-5" Foxface, a pair of Gold Stripe Maroon Clowns, a Yellow Wrasse (4") and a Lawnmower Blenny (pretty large). I'm in the process of setting up my 150gal tank, until then these fish are housed in a 75gal, with large Euro-Reef skimmer, fuge and sump. Readings are perfect, no Nitrates, <Surprising> 420-440 Calcium, no ammonia or nitrites, 9-10 dKH, 8.3 pH. The tank is very stable. Once the large tank is setup, the Yellow Wrasse, Blenny and Clowns will be put in a reef tank, the rest will go in the 150gal FOWLR. <Good> Now here's my concern. The HumuHumu is causing quite a bit of stir in the tank, in his first day! First of all it doesn't seem to like the Niger Trigger <Uh, no, not at all> and chases it away. Doesn't seem to bother with the other fish at all, just the Niger. It's also picking up sand and spitting it out, making a cave for itself in the back of a rock, creating a big mess in the tank. The Niger did something similar at first too. So I have 2 questions... First, is his attitude towards my Niger temporary? <No> The Niger was a little anti-social at first too, but then settled in very nicely. Second, once it digs its cave, will it stop with the sand spitting or is this an ongoing Humu characteristic? Thanks in advance for any help. -Peter <These fishes need to be at least partition/separated schnell, pronto, right now... or moved to another setting. Bob Fenner>

Pseudechidna brummeri in a 75 gal -- 04/28/08 Hello Crew, <Hi.> My question comes in regards to a white ribbon moray (Pseudechidna brummeri). Is it easier to keep than other ribbon morays? <Generally easier to feed. Almost all of the ones I've seen in the last years have been doing well.> I ask this because I saw one at my LFS which had been in their for over 5 months. <Ensure it eats various types of frozen food. That's the most important thing.> If it is would it be okay in a 75gal with an 7inch Indian Trigger? <Melichthys indicus, could work. Tank size should be okay for the eel if well filtered. Your trigger species is generally more mellow and tends to leave other fish alone, but generally many triggers may occasionally try to bite the fins of other fishes, especially small eels. While it is improbable your Melichthys will do that, in case it exhibited aggressive behaviour before, I would not try, and even if you decide to try, watch closely for a while to see how they get along. Provide enough live rock and caves as shelter. Cover the tank tightly, since Pseudechidna can escape even through the smallest gaps. http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2004/fish.htm  and a WWM search for Pseudechidna (your original spelling in this email was Pseudochidna, which is wrong and will not bring many hits) will get you further opinions. Cheers, Marco.>

Judgment question on changing pH... Umm, no... more basal questions re human motivation, thinking/learning processes. Mis-stocked system, iatrogenic errors/problems   4/16/08 Hello WWM Crew, <Jason> I have been extensively reading here at WWM and learned a lot, so thanks for all of the great work. I have a 100g marine FOWLR tank with three triggerfish (Undulated, Niger, Pink Tail) and one moray eel (Chain). <... troubles> I realize the conflict issues with having other fish with the Undulated, but I've decided to take the risk. The tank has been up and running for about 6 weeks now with no issues, aside from an arrow crab that ended up breakfast for the triggers (I figured it was worth a try) and a snowflake eel that escaped (the side of the lid with the heater and pump now has a custom cardboard cutout taped down). <... I do hope not to be reincarnated...> After all that reading I've come to the conclusion that sometimes trying to adjust the pH is more trouble than it's worth. <Okay...> My current pH is 7.7 - 7.8 according to the LFS and my API 5 in 1 test strips. <Not accurate> All other numbers are good, KH is just under 300 (I have a piece of coral that seems to keep the Ca levels up). Alk is around 10. From what I can find, the triggers pH range starts at around 8.1 - 8.2. Should I even bother trying to raise the pH? <Mmm, a larger issue than this... Should you attempt to keep them period? Depending on what gear you're employing, there is much more than pH that will need to be addressed in such a small volume... Re the pH by itself, yes to reading, understanding the relationship twixt it as a static reading and alkalinity/alkaline reserve as a driver, sustainer of pH... though it's not really the issue here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm and the linked files above> That leads me to my second (and less important) question. Sometimes the triggers (mostly the Undulated) swim around hitting the live rock. <Very bad behavior> I'm pretty sure it's not a disease as they are showing no symptoms. I think they're just being aggressive and checking which rocks they can move at their current size. I was wondering if it's because of stress or just typical trigger behavior? <Is symptomatic of real trouble here. Behavioral and physiological. You seriously need to examine your own psychological profile as an aquarist, perhaps more here... What is it you intend by jamming all this incompatible life together in such a small, unsuitable volume? Really. Do you understand what I'm stating here? Know yourself, then go out an act in the world... What you currently have is untenable. Won't work... Re-read on WWM re the Systems, Compatibility of what you have crammed together here... Trade, give most of it away. Formulate a work-able stocking plan. Bob Fenner> Thanks for the insight, Jason

Re: Judgment questions on changing pH 4/16/08 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello> First of all, thank you for responding to my e-mail. I'm writing in again because I don't feel like my question was answered. The more info I provided the more the response drifted away from my main question so I'll be direct. My Local Fish Store (not sure how you determined they're wrong) says my pH is consistent at 7.7 - 7.8 and the fish in my take need a minimum pH of 8.1 - 8.2. I understand the relationship between pH and Alk, as I said I've done much research. Question: should I attempt to raise the pH to within the range of the fish? <Yes, these are not freshwater fish which will tolerate a certain amount of variance in pH. Marine fish do not have this ability, they are adapted to live in the stable pH environment of the ocean. This pH change does still need to be done slowly though.> Now that I've directly asked my main question and hopefully receive a direct answer, I'm going to take a second to respond to a few of your points. I have had a successful trigger tank with a Niger, Picasso and one Arrow Crab so I did have reason to believe the crab could work. <Evidence would seem to indicate otherwise.> I knew eels are escape artists so I did put effort into keeping the snowflake in the tank but he was more resourceful than I expected. There was no intent to harm the animals. I'm not sure why my 'psychological profile' was brought up but I believe the WWM staff are professionals so I'm not going to take that digression personally. <Well, you are asking these creatures to go against their nature. Its thousands of years of stimulus/response here, and not likely to change.> I put the Pink Tail in the tank first, than the Niger, followed by the Undulated so by order of aggressiveness and size and the time they've had to settle in it should minimize the conflict as much as possible. If any of the triggers start to get beat up I will definitely be trading them in to ease the stress in the tank, but that isn't happening now. <Will happen, I am guessing the niger first, the pink tail, the Undulated should be the last.> I am anticipating eventually having to give up either the Niger or Pink Tail as they grow. <Both, but by the time you realize it is time to get rid of them the damage will be done, behavioral and physical damage will already have occurred.> The Pink Tail and the Niger get along fine. <Not really, just their fear of the Undulated is probably distracting them.> All of the Triggers get along with the Eel. The Undulated stays by himself most of the time. <Big dog doesn't hide behind other fish.> I also have much live rock with many caves and hiding spaces for them and I keep them well fed. <At some point the weakest of the triggers will no longer be allowed to feed, then the next weakest, then perhaps the eel assuming the Undulated is the last one left.> I understand what you are saying but I also understand every situation is different. If the consensus is this setup is impossible, please advise on what could work. In order of what I want to keep it goes: 1) Undulated, 2) Moray Eel, 3) Niger, 4) Pink Tail. <One trigger and the Eel, although an Undulated Trigger may still decide to sample an eel. Basically your tank is not sustainable as currently stocked.> <Chris><< and thank you Chris... for this further resp. My BP can't handle much more. RMF>>

Triggerfish compatibility - 1/24/08 Hello, I'm just curious about something. Would it be possible to keep a black triggerfish with a Picasso triggerfish in a 75 gallon? Would they fight because I have seen many fish store house many triggers together. If not are there any other fish of recommendation. <In a word, no. Many problems will arise here, both will outgrow this size tank and aggression will increase as this occurs, high nutrients due to doubly large appetite. Just wouldn't work, in a dealer's tank they are kept together for a very short amount of time and really this isn't best practice by a trade member as triggers should be separated> Thank you for your help. <Other fish, could be difficult with the trigger. See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/triggercompfaqs.htm  Olly> 

Black Trigger(s) clarification 12/19/07 Team, <Joe> Thanks for always being there to clear up the confusing and often badly informed SW communities. My question today is about a fish that I may be interested in acquiring from another SW enthusiast (the Black Hawaiian Trigger). <Mmm, would rather say/state the or a Black Trigger, sometimes collected from Hawai'i.> However, there seems to be a great deal of miss-information out there on this species and I'm hoping for some clarification. I have seen them called: 1. Black Hawaiian Trigger - Claims of up to 18" <Mmm, more like a foot or so> 2. Indian Trigger - Claims of sizes up to 10" <About this... and a separate species> 3. Black Durgeon Trigger - Claims of sizes up to 12" <Mostly the/a common name applied to Melichthys niger... > Each seems to have different sizes, but they seem to be cross referenced a lot. I have also seem the technical names of: 1. Melichthys niger <Numbers one and three above> 2. Melichthys indicus <Number two...> So question one are they different and if so, which one is the one pictured? <Please see both here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/melichthys/index.htm  <Your pic looks like the Indian species> Second question is this species one of the Lionfish safe triggers (if there is such a thing) that could be mixed in a large tank (200+gallons)? <"Pretty" Lion safe... I give about even odds...> Wanted to be somewhat certain before I drop a holy terror in an 8' tank that would be nearly impossible to catch him out. Thanks, Joe
<Two (sturdy) nets if so. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Trigger Happy! (Multiple Triggerfish Compatibility?) 11/22/07 Hi guys...I am a longtime WWM/CMA follower/fan. <Glad to hear that! Scott F. here today!> I have a 130 FOWLR setup that has been established for about 4 years or so. Currently I have a Foxface Rabbitfish, a Humu Trigger, & a large Serpent Starfish. The star has a cave he hides in during daylight, so the fish never really see him & have not hassled him, even in the 2 years the trigger has been with us. <Good to hear- I've seen starfishes that became Trigger "chew toys" in some systems...Hope your luck continues!> Both fish are around 4-5". I have about 100 pounds of very nice live rock & some PVC tubes for extra hidey holes & Aqua-C skimming w/ mag-3 pumps. <Sounds nice> My question is, I would like to add a third (and probably final) fish to this system & have really got my eye on a second trigger. <Umm...tempting fate, I fear> I have not been able to find any kind of useful info on this subject anywhere...the type I am thinking of would probably be a Bluethroat or such similar (not a Clown or anything super aggressive). Would this be likely to work out ok? <Seriously, it's a total "crap shoot". Some Triggers may be easy going and tolerate other species/individuals in "their" aquarium, others will dispatch the newcomer quickly and mercilessly. The Humu tends to lose some of it's adolescent "playfulness" as it gets older, and its tolerance for newcomers decreases dramatically. In addition, my concern is the size of your aquarium. I believe it to be too small to sustain another Trigger for anything close to a natural lifespan. The smallest Triggers hit 8" plus, and simply need more room. Yes, it is possible to keep more than one Xanthichthys species in a single aquarium, but you really need hundreds of gallons, IMO, to be successful.> I should have plenty of room/"turf" & the Humu I have has been totally sociable for years now so he seems as calm as you'd get. <Again- this is subject to change, and you need to address the aforementioned caveat about space.> I am a bit worried about the current Trigger being so established but what I really need to know is, is there any reason 2 very different types of trigger with different food preferences/roles/niches would not be likely to get along? <I WOULD worry, as mentioned above. There are lots of reasons why the fish would not get along. Case in point: I distinctly remember "Bruddah Iz", my beloved Humu Humu from my college days. He was highly intelligent, ate from my hand, recognized me when I came in the room, and obviously considered me a fool! Nonetheless, he was my buddy for many years (9-1/2). He had an amusing habit of moving rocks with his nose. He also took a tremendous dislike to a submersible Ebo Jager heater, which he would "head butt" and generally batter to the point where I finally had to remove it (not an uncommon behavior with Triggers, BTW)! His "tankmates" committed suicide one by one, jumping from the aquarium until I realized that he was just not a nice roommate, came to my senses, and took the remaining fishes out. While Triggers are very endearing fishes, but they develop habits that can lead to tremendous problems for other tankmates. Unless you have a very large system, I'd pass.> Would it be like having 2 yellow tangs or Rabbitfish both competing for the same algae? Or would they be ok together? <as above...potential problems outweigh the odds for success in this sized aquarium, IMO.> If the Bluethroat seems like a bad idea, is there another Trigger that would be better? Or failing that, what would you recommend? <Tangs, some Puffers, and a larger aquarium! I just wouldn't tempt fate here.> Thanks a ton in advance guys!! <Glad to be here for you! Best of luck. Regards, Scott F.>

Pink Tail vs. Blue Throat Trigger In A Reef Tank...And A Whole Lot More! -- 11/07/07 Good morning, <<Greetings...evening now>> Thanks for this service, I've tried the forums and search tools and seem to come up with semi-relevant stuff but nothing that prescribes to my particular situation. <<Well then...let's see what I can do to remedy this>> I have a 375G tank <<Hey...me too!>> that I'm putting together and I'm trying to build a fish wish list, and have run across a couple "well I don't knows". <<I see>> I have previously pretty much stayed away from any large fish, triggers and tangs specifically. <<Probably best (till now)...in many cases, hobbyists just try to cram these fishes into 'too small' environments...with the ensuing sociological and health issues>> I'll be moving fish from my 55, 90, and 120 into the 375 when I get it up and running, here is a list of what I have currently. 55 gallon: Waldo -- Possum Wrasse-Wetmorella nigropinnata Candy -- Candy Basslet-Liopropoma carmabi Circles -- Leopard Wrasse- Macropharyngodon meleagris Bruno -- Green Mandarin fish- Synchiropus splendidus Rupert -- Brownbarred/bullet goby- Amblygobius phalaena Finnegan - Bicolor blenny- Ecsenius bicolor Penguin -- tuxedo urchin- Tripneustes gratilla Steve -- serpent star- Ophiuroidea sp. Various Snails Various Hermits, many blue legs- Paguristes cadenati, Calcinus elegans Peppermint shrimp- Lysmata wurdemanni 90 Gallon: Charley and (3) the girls -- Lyretail Anthias- Pseudanthias squamipinnis Ava and Alfie = Bellus Angels- Genicanthus bellus Esther -- Lawnmower Blenny- Salarias fasciatus Moe - Flame Hawkfish- Neocirrhites armatus Major Major -- Goldspotted Rabbitfish- Siganus guttatus Merlin -- Melan Wrasse- Halichoeres Melanurus Stan -- serpent star- Ophiuroidea sp. Skunk cleaner shrimp -- Lysmata amboinensis various Hermits- Paguristes cadenati, Calcinus elegans, and a Halloween (can't find a scientific name) various Snails Emerald Crab- Mithrax sculptus 120 Gallon: Scooter and Ruby -- scooter dragonets- Synchiropus ocellatus Schmuckers -- Fire/Blood Clown- Amphiprion ephippium Charlotte -- Mystery Wrasse- Pseudocheilinus ocellatus Hannah -- Hanae Goby- Ptereleotris hanae Katie -- Scissortail Dartfish- Ptereleotris evides Mickey -- Longnose Hawkfish- Oxycirrhites typus Casper -- Sandsifting Goby- Istigobius decoratus Leonard -- Starry Blenny- Salarias ramosus Bubba -- Powder Brown Tang- Acanthurus japonicus Spike -- Onespot Foxface- Siganus unimaculatus Sushi -- Yellowstreaked Fairy Wrasse- Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus Larry -- Fire/Blood Shrimp- Lysmata debelius Skunk shrimp- Lysmata amboinensis Bandit -- Blue Coral Banded- Stenopus hispidus 1 or 2 Yellow Coral Banded- Stenopus scutellatus Hermits etc. Snails etc. Emerald Crab etc. <<Quite the collection of animals among these three tanks. There will be some compatibility problems when/if these are 'all' mixed together, I think. The Salarias spp. Blennies will not likely tolerate each other, and the Onespot Foxface and Goldspotted Rabbitfish may not get along. One way to ameliorate possible aggression/compatibility issues will be to introduce fishes together that inhabit the same environment/niche (e.g. - substrate dwellers) and or consume/compete for the same food items (e.g. -- algae patches)>> The candy Basslet and the possum wrasse I'll probably move to one of my other tanks, I have a lot, as I imagine they would have the most problems with what I want to do. <<Maybe not...is hard to say for sure who 'will' or 'will not' get along in a large tank. I thought for sure a small group of eight Fathead Anthias (Serranocirrhitus latus) would get along in a 375g gallon tank...I was wrong. Yet, I have had success with pairs of the Scribbled Rabbitfish (Siganus doliatus), the Spotted leopard Wrasse (Macropharyngodon meleagris), and the Blue Throat Triggerfish (Xanthichthys auromarginatus), as well as a mix of five Tangs from four genera >> The Ladies of the house want a trigger, have ever since I got into the hobby and now with a 375 I think I can accommodate their wishes. <<Likely so>> I've been looking at pink tail and blue throat triggers specifically as the crosshatch is out of the range I'm willing to spend. <<Okay>> I've found varying opinions on which one of these two triggers is best for my tank. <<I've not kept the Pink Tail, but my experience with the Blue Throat in a reef system has been exceptional>> I've mainly heard that pink tails tend to be more prone to moving rock and corals around, but have a tendency to be less aggressive than the blue throat. <<Maybe so...but 'aggression' was never an issue with the Blue Throat in my experience...other than that shown by the male towards the female...and that was very minimal>> I have the intention of "locking" the rock together by drilling holes and connecting them with acrylic rod, and using epoxy to hold the coral on the rock. I'll be keeping SPS and some LPS, no softies of any sort. <<An environment/theme very similar to mine...>> I understand that while my shrimp may be large enough currently to fend for themselves that when the triggers get large enough they will eat the shrimp, and I have been considering moving them to my various other tanks or giving them to friends. <<Again, speaking from my own experience...the Blue throat never touched a snail or shrimp (I don't keep crabs other than the incidental 'Acro' crab). Just be sure not to 'drop them in the tank like food items' once the/a triggerfish is present>> So I welcome any plus or minus you can offer on either one of these. <<...hope I've done so>> My next question deals with tangs, as you can see I only have the powder brown currently, I've stayed away from tangs almost entirely due to the size of tank they need <<Wise>> and only got this one as he is pretty small and I had the intention of moving up to this larger tank. I have seen some people have had success with keeping multiple tangs and I would like to do something similar. <<Can be done, yes>> The problem comes in is that the tangs I like are of the Acanthurus family, as well as looking for whether these fish will get along I'm also looking to keep in mind their size with my tank, I do want a full tank but I don't want to overstock or be treating the fish poorly due to my desires. <<Good>> So here we go, as well as the Powder Brown I'm looking at the Atlantic Blue tang Acanthurus coeruleus, Naso lituratus, Kole tang Ctenochaetus strigosus, and possibly a small school of Zebrasoma flavescens yellow tangs, but they would be the force I would choose not to get if I would be pushing my tang limit at that point. <<I think the Naso, Kole, and a 'single' Yellow Tang would be possible...best to err on the side of caution at this point in time>> I'm also looking at adding 2 more female bellus angels, a pair of Scott's fairy wrasses, and possibly another school of Anthias, which is another question, I'm debating doing a school of a different species the Pseudanthias huchtii green threadfin Anthias. <<Mmm...>> Please provide any thoughts, comments etc. <<I would stop with the tangs (for now at least). Though you have mostly small fishes now that you plan to stock in this new system...you do have 'a bunch.' And there's also the Triggerfish to consider>> I'm a little worried about putting all these in overstocking my tank but then I've seen tanks with much more fish than this at this size and smaller tanks, I'm looking for a balance between what I want and what's ethically permissible. <<Best first to make sure your equipment/filtration/husbandry practices are enough to support this fish load>> Also if you think that even at this point I could add another fish or two please say so, even comments on what you would suggest adding would be welcome. <<You have my thoughts>> Thanks, Joshua <<Do make it known if I can assist with the further development of your system. Regards, EricR>>

Pink Tail and a Blue throat trigger together?  9//15/07 Hi there! As the question asks, my store got in at my request a pink tail trigger and a small blue throat. I picked up the pink tail since it looked to be the most active and ate like a pig. I only intended to get one of them but now I am thinking<insert doom drum line here>. The blue throat was hiding in a corner and was basically staying out of sight. It is a small specimen, maybe 2.5 inches or so. Provided its still there and maybe over its fright from shipment tomorrow or Sunday, would it do ok with the 3-4 inch Pinktail? <Not good odds...> My tank is suitably sized for now for the two of them with a very oversized skimmer and I plan in the next 3 or 4 months to upgrade to somewhere between a 150 and 225 gallon so I don't think tank size is an issue. Thanks much, Mike <Better odds with larger volume... but still likely some trouble territorially. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pink Tail and a Blue throat trigger together?
  9/16/07 Thanks much, I will forgo picking up the blue throat then. Mike <Ah, good. I do think it is best to just stick with the Melichthys. Bob Fenner>

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

Sargassum trigger comp.; Dog face puffer size -- 07/30/07 Hi, sorry for another email, but here goes. I'm looking for some info on a Sargassum Trigger. <Xanthichthys ringens.> A LFS has one and it is a gorgeous fish. I first read the bit on WetWeb about its identity, and then the Compatibility FAQ on triggers. There was one mention of the Sargassum in the compatibility FAQ, most are in regards to undulates, clowns, and Picasso's, which, to my understanding are quite different in temperament. <True. The Sargassum trigger is more similar to the Bluethroat or Gilded Trigger Xanthichthys auromarginatus. Both will reach around 1 foot, but most often stay a little smaller.> In my 200 gallon (72" x 24" x 27") I have a banded cat shark, a passer angel (5"), a yellow tang and a dogface puffer (4"). I've had this puffer for about 4 years, and he is really docile. He has been a 4" fish his entire life, and I wonder if that is his adult length. Hmmm. <Sure it is a dogface puffer aka Arothron nigropunctatus? This one reaches 10 inches in the aquariums and more than a foot in the wild. I have seen other Arothron spp. labeled as dogface, too. However, most are even bigger. Hopefully his diet is varied.> My question is whether or not a Sargassum would be compatible with these fish, and more specifically about a Sargassum's characteristics. <Comparable to other Xanthichthys spp. (using the genus to search for information is worth a try) and in general rather docile (for a trigger) and hardy. Crustaceans, clams and urchins may be eaten (most get along well with them, though), larger fish are usually ignored. Beware all triggers are personalities and may change their mind when becoming adult. Your puffer is another species with a somewhat unpredictable personality and it is hard to say for sure they will get along without trouble long term. Another concern is that the trigger might bite the fins of the shark. If you are lucky, it will work without problems, if not'¦ I would not buy this fish without another system or the option to give it back.> I purchased Axelrod's Marine Atlas (for 6$ on eBay, no less!!), which is a fabulous book but very short in specifics on care, it is much more of an identification book. <Yes.> The other book at the LFS describes the fish as reef safe and much more compatible than other triggers. His jaw structure definitely looks different than a 'typical' trigger like a clown or Picasso. I have not purchased the fish, and maybe I won't at all, but it is certainly tempting and I thought I might ask you guys first. We had the tank under the quinine treatment for ick (still do, actually). The Powder Brown did not make it, unfortunately, but all other fish are doing extremely well, including the shark (and thanks again for the quinine info). I'm going to continue the quinine treatment for the prescribed duration before we think of adding anything. <Good and good luck with your treatment. Be sure to let the system run for a while even after the treatment to see if it worked properly before adding anything.> Thanks again. Thomas. <You are welcome. Marco.>
Re: Sargassum trigger comp.; Dog face puffer size follow up -- 07/30/07
Marco, <Thomas> Fabulous stuff, thank you very much. Arothron nigropunctatus, in the puffer ID section of WWM, is identical to my puffer. He may be closer to 5", realistically, but has been this length for years now. <Interesting. Stunting and improper diet can probably be excluded due to the large tank you have and the food you offer. I also assume/hope the nitrates are permanently low given the other sensitive fishes. Aside tank size, diet and water quality I cannot think of a factor, which might stop the grow of your specimen. Possibly some issues in its early life before you bought him.> This is the one that bit my finger! Often times when I feed my shark at night, I have to scoop him out of the way. As long as he doesn't think my finger is food, he is docile, likes being rubbed, and eats out of my hand. About 6 months ago I had purchased a tiny Picasso trigger, and the INSTANT I placed him in the tank he attacked the puffer, so he was removed and returned immediately. <Another case of unpredictability. Some Rhinecanthus are quite docile, this specimen not. A similar case cannot be excluded with the Sargassum, but hopefully this time you are more lucky. I guess it will rather be hiding for a while when introduced and not start attacking.> He does receive a varied diet, of cocktail shrimp with Zoë«, marine cuisine, krill, and angel formula. He also eats his share of shark formula, unfortunately. <OK, good diet. The dog face puffers I know/knew personally which have grown from 4 inches to almost 1 foot in captivity ate lots of mussels and clams, because they seemed to like it and it abraded their teeth. Could be worth a try in case you haven't tested yet.> He just has remained this size. I have no idea why. For a while he was in an 80 gallon before the upgrade, but for most of the time he was pretty much the only occupant. Anyway, thanks for the info. We won't be adding the Sargassum trigger for a couple of weeks, while we observe the system to make sure all of the ick was killed with the quinine. Thanks again! Thomas. <You are welcome. Keep up the good work and enjoy. Marco.>

Trigger Compatibility, Inappropriate Stocking 7/18/07 I love the website and read on it almost every night. <Thanks> My question is would it be okay to put a niger trigger with a Picasso trigger in a 45 gallon tank. <Neither should be in this sized tank, definitely not both.> Now I have a Picasso trigger ocellaris clown Kole tang in my tank, the trigger is about 1 and half inches long. <It will outgrow this tank very soon, as will the tang. You really need a 100+ gallon tank to keep the livestock you currently have.> If I were to give my tang to a friend would the two triggers go well together. <Not in this tank, and maybe not in a larger tank, the Picasso in particular can be quite aggressive.> <Chris>

Depressed Odonus Trigger -- 06/29/07 Hello to all of you! I have an established 90 gallon system. My 9 year old Lipstick Tang, sadly, recently passed away. <... Sorry to realize> All that I have in the tank now are a 3" Black Trigger and a Sixline Wrasse. The Black Trigger and the Lipstick Tang were swim-mates. He enjoyed competing with her for food. All co-existed peacefully together. The Lipstick Tang was there first and was "queen". The Trigger is obviously depressed about the Tang being gone and is lonely. <Oh! Is this a Melichthys niger? Not an Odonus niger? Not really germinal to the situation...> The other day I watched him swimming back and forth, depositing small pieces of rock into the area where the Tang slept, until he had made a rocky area the size that her body was, as if he was making a grave marker for her! <Interesting> He's very protective of her spot. He eats with less enthusiasm, goes into his sleeping spot a lot, and is also chasing the Sixline Wrasse around some, though not to hurt him. I feel that's more frustration on the Trigger's part. So I feel I need to put another fish in soon. I need some advice and input on what to put in. Should it be about the same size as the Trigger? <Mmm, not able to tell...> A LFS has a Yellow Tang that's a little smaller than the Trigger, and I've also found a Lunar Wrasse, not full grown. I really don't know what to add. What are some good fish to add? <I'd choose the Zebrasoma over the Thalassoma...> I worry about the Trigger being too aggressive with a new fish and there being disastrous results. I appreciate any help. Robin <Mmm, whatever you add, do so early in the AM on a day you can be around to observe... and leave the light on overnight... Bob Fenner>

Moray Tankmates, which moray?  -- 5/14/07 Hi, would a undulated moray get along with a clown trigger, niger trigger or a powder blue tang? I would like to pick just one of them for a tank mate. And which one would be the best choice. <<RMF would NOT place a Muraenid with Balistids...>> <Depends...which moray? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm There are quite a few in the genus...and it does make a difference re: my advice.> Thank you <Adam Jackson.>

Sudden death of a Damsel   4/21/07 Hi crew, <Kwon> Thanks for all the helpful info you've posted on your site. Here's my situation: I have a 55 gal fish only with LR. I have one damsel and one trigger (small, 2-3 inch)...and yes, a bigger tank is in the works. Today, I fed them with frozen trigger formula like I always do. I went out for about 4 hours, when I return, I found my damsel dead. I remember it was eating like a pig, as always, before I left the house. So I dug him up and did not notice any physical damage. All I've notice was that the gill portion of his body looks a little bulged. What do you think might have killed him in such short amount of time? <Mmm, impossible to say... perhaps a rupture in its blood/vascular system... a "heart attack"... Fear of the trigger tankmate...?> I see him every day and there were no symptoms of any thing wrong. My trigger seems to be fine for now. He is sleeping in the rocks. Should I perform a water change? <I would test the water for what you have kits for...> Please advise. Thanks. Kwon. <Do know that such rapid deaths in Damsels are not uncommon... especially when small, good numbers of these fishes "do just die" w/o apparent reason at times. Bob Fenner>

Which puffer for these triggers?   4/21/07 Hi everyone, I would firstly like to say what a truly fantastic website this is - after many hours of searching on the internet this really does seem to be the best source for reliable, detailed information. <<Why, thank you.>> I am about to purchase a 100 gallon tank, and intend to put a clown trigger, and a Picasso in there. However, I was intending on firstly putting in a puffer, although I'm not sure which type would be aggressive enough to stand up to the likes of a clown. <<Your tank is just too small I'm afraid.  The clown gets to 16", and the Picasso to ~12".>> Thank you very much, Gerald. <<Glad to help. Lisa Brown.>>

2" Undulate and a 2" Picasso with a 7" Niger   4/1/07 Greetings WWM crew!, <Greetings.  Brandon here.>   Many thanks for your help on my previous inquiries.  I have one more for you.  I have a 110 gal tank (about 100lbs of live rock), and I've had a Niger in it for the last 6 years and he's about 7" now (I think it's a he).  I'd say he's on the peaceful side (given that it shared it's tank with a Percula clown until the clown died of old age.  But he did kill and eat a few other fish since the clown, but that was mainly my fault for pushing my luck with other clowns.  I recently added two 2" triggers (an Undulate and a Picasso).   <You are asking for it.> Right now, the undulate hides whenever Niger comes out of his caves, but Picasso is quite social with Niger and they get along fine.  But, as expected, once or twice, I've seen the undulate attack the Picasso hard (no biting) just hit him on the belly, but that's when Picasso gets too close to its home rock.   <The fish can cause internal damage by doing this.> Other times, they pass each other without an incident. Could you make any predictions about the tank over the next few years? <The Balistapus undulatus is going to grow up, and kill your other fish.  These Triggers are not social, and they have very bad attitudes.  I would move this one to a species tank and keep nothing else with it.  Further, I would not add anymore Triggers to the main display.  They need their space.>   Thanks much, <You are welcome.  Brandon.>   ND

African Blue Spotted Triggerfish, comp.   3/26/07 Hi, I have a compatibility question on a species of triggerfish which seems to just be entering the trade in numbers recently. <Yes> The Trigger is Balistes punctatus. As a relative of the Queen trigger my initial reaction is that it is likely far too aggressive for even a rough and tumble fish only tank. <Mmm, have never kept this animal... but the reports I've encountered (on the Net) state its temperament as being mild...> I have been assured by a couple of dealers however that they are quite mellow. Do you have any experience with them? <Unfortunately no> If I were to take the plunge the trigger would be heading to a 300 gallon tank with an Emperor Angel, Passer Angel, Harlequin Tusk, Polleni Grouper, and very large Hippo Tang (who is now 16 years old!). The group in the tank get along now in their own snippy ways and have been together for a couple of years. Thoughts? <Mmm... don't know what to state... I don't like relating other than near first-hand experience in such matters... I might try this species here... starting with a (likely) small specimen of a few inches in length... keeping an eye on it... Bob Fenner>

Triggerfish stocking Q's 3/3/07 <Greetings.> I have a 300 Gal Saltwater FOWLR setup. I'm running two overflow boxes, each having dual 2" drains. I took out the smaller bulkhead fittings, and used a Dremel tool to make the hole fit 2" pvc pipe. So I have 4,  2" inch drains to a 50 gal breeder aquarium as my sump. My return has 2, 1.5 " return-lines coming from a Mag Drive 2400 pump. <Ok.> With this setup can I safely house multiple triggers? <For a while... two years?> I have in the aquarium, 1-Niger, 1-Bursa, 1-Picasso, and 1-Undulated.  They are all around 3-4 " in size.   <Mmm. I will give you two answers: 1. No! This is too many triggers in one system, regardless of size! 2. You can make this work for a while as long as they are well-fed and water quality doesn't suffer as a result of the heavy feeding necessary to keep them all from killing each other.>   I'm aware of the Undulated being aggressive, as they destroy emerald crabs and small crabs weekly.  In your professional opinion, Would you consider this to be ok? <Honestly, I think you are really overdoing it. You should decide which ones you really want in that system (No more than two) and make some definite separate territories. Hopefully you have some other systems you can house the others you decide to parse out? The Niger and the Bursa will probably get along fine, and maybe even the Picasso (R. aculeatus?) would live happily. As you stated, it's the mean ol' Undulated that you have to really watch out for. But, you already knew that, or you wouldn't have asked. Huh?!?> Thanks for having a extremely informal and educational website. <Thanks for the compliments! -GrahamT>

Adding A Whitetail Trigger - 12/24/06 Today I purchased a 2-inch Whitetail Trigger for my 165 gallon FOWLR. <<Neat!>> I probably have somewhere between 150-200 pounds of rock. <<...!  What about "room for the fish?">> Counting the trigger my tank has 7 fish total, and I'm not planning to add anymore. I have a pair of Black-White Clowns (2 1/2 to 3 inches), a Half Black Dwarf Angel (3 inches), a One Spot Rabbitfish (5 inches), a Swallowtail Large Angel (4 inches) and a Yellow Tang (5-6 inches). I have always wanted a trigger, and have done quite a bit of reading, but would like to know your opinion. All 6 have lived rather peacefully in my tank for over a year. Did I make a mistake? Thanks! <<Well Scott, I'd rather see you "finish" your research "before" you make a purchase...but in this instance I think you will be fine.  Sufflamen albicaudatus is considered a rather peaceful species...as triggers go...though I'm sure you are aware all fish are individual in their temperament and this is no "guarantee" all will be well.  One thing I would like to state...you may want to consider removing some of your rock to give these fishes more room to roam about.  You can look to ancillary filtration such as a fluidized-bed filter if you determine more bio-filtration is needed after removal of the rock>> Scott Mickle <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

West African Species, trigger incomp.    11/27/06 To Whom It May Concern, <Mike> Attached are two pictures of my most recent addition to my tank. The first is the Monrovia Doctorfish (Acanthurus monroviae) the second picture is the West African Triggerfish (Balistes punctatus). Sorry they are a little blurry. <Yes...> I was hoping you could provide me with information about these species habitat. <Mmm, I see from the other highlighted/linked scientific names that you're familiar with fishbase.org... this (looking up the species themselves and others in the same genera) and looking at pix (for clues about the ecology) of the area these are found is instructive. I unfortunately have not dived the areas where these species occur> I have never kept species from this region of the world and was curious about their environment. I have kept various triggerfish and tangs in the past are there anything that these fish would require other then the normal care? <Mmm, likely very similar care> What type of conditions do these species regularly encounter in there natural environment? Is there anything that I should be providing theses species with, certain foods, water temperature, specific salinity levels, etc.? <Likely similar...> Any information you could provide me to ensure proper husbandry and allow them a long and happy life would be greatly appreciated. They are currently housed in a 390 gallon tank with the following species Vlamingii Tang ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=6024&genusname=Naso&speci esname=vlamingii> Naso vlamingii ) 8 in Niger Trigger  ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=1311> Odonus niger ) 6 in Mappa Puffer ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=7857> Arothron mappa ) 8 in French Angel ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=1118> Pomacanthus paru )5 in Queen Triggerfish ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=19> Balistes vetula) 7 in Titan Triggerfish ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=6026> Balistoides viridescens ) 7 in <Yikes... keep your eye on these last two... can "turn" on the other fish species here> Starry Triggerfish ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=9> Abalistes stellaris ) 6 in Jeweled Damselfish 3 in Clown Triggerfish ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=2300> Balistoides conspicillum ) 5 in <And this one for sure> Halfmoon Triggerfish ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5842> Sufflamen chrysopterum ) 3 in Rectangle Triggerfish ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5840> Rhinecanthus rectangulus ) 2 in Picasso Triggerfish ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5839> Rhinecanthus aculeatus ) 2 in Assasi Triggerfish ( < http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=25420> Rhinecanthus assasi ) 4 in Coney Grouper  7 in Golden Tail Moray 11 in Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) 4in <Well... the three species of Balistids noted are/will be incompatible here in time... WW III... and this is going to be too much life period here... psychologically, physiologically...> You can keep the pics and use them if you like. If you want I will try to send better pictures for you. <Would appreciate this... and post to your credit on WWM> Thank you in advance for all your time. Sincerely,
Mike Striegel
<Bob Fenner>

Triggerfish/Compatibility 11/17/06 Hello James, It's me, Jarryd, <Jarryd, names should be capitalized.> again thank you for being so kind as to helping me with my queries! I totally agree with you in your last response, re triggers and small tanks. I have finally chosen a fish and am just waiting for your thoughts before I purchase one. A Half-moon triggerfish( Sufflamen chrysopterus). Am lead to believe that this type of trigger is one of the more mellow ones ( Bob Fenner: "The genus Sufflamen has <is> the mellowest Triggerfish species"). Can you second that? <I'm sure what Bob was getting at is that they are the least aggressive, but keep in mind, all triggerfish are aggressive, it's  their nature.> I only want to keep maybe one or two other fishes. Perhaps a Saddled Toby (Canthigaster valentini)? <Wouldn't put this guy in there.> Anything else that pops into your head as a suitable tank mate? <Another trigger, eel.> Also what size can I expect one of these fish to attain, the trigger? Thank you so very very much for your time and advice, I can't express how helpful you have been! Have a nice day! <This triggerfish can attain a length of up to 10" in the aquarium.  In time, it will require at least a 125 gallon tank.  If this isn't in your plans, then I'd forget the triggerfish.  I suggest you read the entire article on triggerfish that Bob wrote.  See here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm.  Also read triggerfish compatibility FAQ's on our site.  James (Salty Dog)> Jarryd

To Trigger or Not to Trigger  11/12/06 Hi, and thanks for the great website. <Welcome> I current have a 125 gallon saltwater tank that has been up and running for 6 months.  Current residents are:  2 yellow tang (and they get along great), 2 clownies, 1 coral beauty, 1 Toby puffer, and 1 dog face puffer. My LFS recently obtained a vampire trigger (queen trigger?). <Balistes vetula?> I am in love with this fish.  Will this be a good addition to the neighborhood?   <Uh, no> I think I know the answer, but if I see it in writing will abide by your answer. Thanks for the great info. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/balistes/index.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Questions regarding trigger compatibility  10/26/06 Hi Guys, I have a 300 gallon fish only tank. At the moment, I have one 3 1/2"  Huma Huma, and one 3 1/2" niger. I like the triggerfish species and would like  to add at least one more trigger. I like the Pink tail, however I read on your site that they are prone to hide and I have personally seen them doing so in my local fish store. <Mmm, not so much in a system of this size... and the two extant individuals are not too large presently...> I would like to avoid fish that do this. Both of my triggers are very lively and almost never hide or disappear in the decorations  that I put in the tank. I would like hardy triggers as well. Which triggers do  you guys recommend? <Rhinecanthus species are my faves> Or what other type of hardy fish do you guys recommend?   <Heeeeeee! Posted on WWM> Also, how would an imperator angel do with the triggers that I have now?   Thanks. <Would go if not started too small. Bob Fenner> Andrew

Incompatible and Overstocked -- 09/25/06 Hi WWMC, <<Hello>> I have 180 gallon tank with a Picasso Trigger (3"), Clown Trigger (3"), Emperor Angelfish (5"), Maroon Clownfish - King of the tank (2.5"), and a Dogface Puffer (5"). Can I have a Black Dogface?  He's 6 inches.  The tank has over 100lbs of live rock (adequate number of hide outs.) Thanks! <<Not in my opinion...I think you're already overstocked with an incompatible mix of fishes (do take in to account adult size/temperament of these fishes).  I recommend you remove the Clown Trigger...this will soon be 'King of the tank', and eventually, kill all others present.  Regards, EricR>>

Triggerfish comp.  9/9/06 Hello, I hope I have passed all of the guidelines that you suggest before asking a question.  I have found a lot of great information on this site and it has really informed my ventures into the hobby. <Good> I am really interested in Triggerfish.  As a relative newbie, it seems like the Niger Triggerfish is the best suited for a "community" tank without inverts.  Yet, whenever I look at Compatibility charts, it always seems like Triggers are listed as either "Don't keep with other fish" or "Keep with other fish with caution." <Generally good advice... and are individualistic to boot> I'd like to have more fish in the tank than just one Trigger.  Do you have any suggestions as to what fish might be most compatible with a Niger Trigger and/or any suggestions as to stocking order?   <Mmm, are posted, though not organized as such perhaps... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/triggercompfaqs.htm and the linked file above in this series> Thank you, Bob <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Triggers, Anemones, Clowns? Not tog.  9/6/06 One other question. I did not find it on your site, but may not be looking hard enough. What is compatibility with Pink tail trigger 3", Humu (Picasso) 2.5" and 2.5" niger and an anemone? <... usually zip> If I am having a chemical war I would like to move my anemone and 2 Percs to my other tank which is a fish only. <The Clowns likewise would likely be consumed in time here> Right now my Percs keep laying eggs and would like to see them continue but seem to have a very happy life in my 72 bow front. I do not want to send them to the fish tank in the sky by moving them to my fish only tank <Me neither... perhaps another tank, or two? Bob Fenner>

Queen Trigger, Trigger In/Comp.   8/8/06 Hello all,         I'm interested to know your thoughts on the following scenarios. If it's not too much of a problem).        My mum said that I would be able to get a 180 gallon tank, and I plan to set it up with triggers. Would it be possible to house a queen trigger and an undulated trigger together in this size tank? <Possibly... but not likely... the Queen will be after the other, likely all other fish livestock...> Do these two fish grow at the same rate, and do they get to the same size as adults?   <Good question... and no. The Queen grows much more quickly, gets much larger> I currently have the undulated in a 55gallon (he's about 3 inches) and want to move him to a bigger home, I haven't bought the queen yet. I have fallen in love with the queen triggers, they are beautiful. <I would not try a Balistes vetula with this fish> If you don't think it's big enough what size tank would be suitable? <Bedroom size... really. This TWA species has a large "territory"> They would be the only two inhabitants. If not these two triggers then what two do you suggest I might have more luck with in this size environment?? <Perhaps a Rhinecanthus species> I am open to any and all your suggestions, you guys truly are a great team to ask advice of!! Thanks for your time, Jarryd <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Trigger Compatibility/Aggression - 08/08/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I have been reading on your site about triggers, I know they can be quite aggressive but like you answered one of your emailers, they can vary in personality. <<Indeed...as can/do all fishes...animals>> My question is there any chance of a clown and a Picasso, if bought young enough and small enough and being introduced into a 200G tank at the exact same time, getting along, or am I just wasting my money? <<Is possible...for a time.  But you need to be aware that Balistoides conspicillum is notorious for turning on and killing all tankmates at some point as they mature.  A behavior no doubt compounded by the unnatural confines of an aquarium>> I have successfully had a red tooth, queen and a Picasso together with no worries. <<The Clown Trigger is a different beast>> Previously I had these triggers in a bare tank, I plan on having coral in the new tank will they nip at the corals? <<Most assuredly they will, if not just outright consume them...best to limit tank decor to some live rock>> Thanks for the help, great site. Regards, Adam <<Happy to assist.  EricR>>

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

Blue cheeked Trigger Fish in a Reef Tank?  6/5/06 Hello Crew, <<Hello Bob>> I'd just like to get your opinion of Blue Cheeked Trigger fish, (Xanthichthys auromarginatus ), in reef tanks. <<Absolutely worthwhile...if you have the space>> I have heard much recently of the suitability of these fish to reef set ups due to their planktonic diet, but they are trigger fish after all and those shrimps look so tasty! <<Ha!...indeed.  There's always the possibility of trouble, but I've kept this species in my reef for more than a year now without incident (I have shrimp and snails but no hermits), and would heartily recommend you give them a try.  I think the biggest danger would be if you tried to introduce more shrimp after the trigger is in the tank...would have to be introduced very carefully, not just "dropped" in to the tank>> My set up is 340 litre. <<Mmm, marginal...should be "OK" for a time, but would like to see it in a larger system for the long term>> Stock includes leather and mushroom corals.  1 cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis).  Red- and blue-legged hermits.  Turbo snails. Fish list; 2 x Amphiprion ocellaris 1 x Ecsenius midas 2 x Pomacentrus alleni 1 x Neocirrhites armatus 1 x Centropyge bicolor 1 x Pseudocheilinus hexataenia 1 x Gramma loreto 1 x Ctenochaetus strigosus Thank you for your time and expertise! Bob Mehen <<A pleasure to assist, Eric Russell>>
Re: Blue Throat Triggers in a Reef? - 07/18/06
Hi again you guys! <<Hello Pam!>> So, I took your advice (Eric) and I purchased two Blue Throat Triggers (BTT's) directly from Hawaii a few weeks ago. <<Ahh, Excellent!>> They arrived a lot larger than we would have hoped, but they are beautiful (especially him, but don't tell her!). <<Indeed...wonderful fish>> They looked very healthy but apparently came to me very stressed. <<Hmm...possibly handled poorly>> We weren't sure they were going to make it through the acclimation process (the male was particularly stressed, bobbing head down in the tank and floating almost completely upside down, it wasn't pretty). <<Yikes!>> Thankfully they did survive and once we got them eating a whole week later, they seem great! <<Yay!>> It was very difficult to get them to eat.  We tried everything from a homemade fish food recipe all our other fish love, to live Brine shrimp, frozen Mysis, krill, squid, and the list goes on. <<I'm surprised by this, I must say>> We tried to feed them for a full week to no avail......finally a fellow hobbyist (from Wamus) told us about this frozen freshwater Mysis from Canada. <<Yes, PE Mysis...an excellent food>> He brought some over that night and we couldn't believe it...they inhaled the Mysis! <<Very good>> I tried two other brands they did not touch before that! <<Try them now...>> Needless to say, I can't seem to feed them often enough-they love this high protein stuff! <<Be careful...several "small" feedings per day.  Also, wouldn't hurt to soak these in Selcon (or similar) a couple times a week>> It is made by Piscine Energetic (FYI).   For the past three weeks these BT are feeding well, and looking terrific (until yesterday). <<Ruht-Roh>> We were planning on putting them in the main population since we just did our water change in the main tank and my Q-tank is small for them.  We noticed some spots on the fins (especially on the male).  We have been doing very regular water changes in the Q (a few times a week) using water from the main tank and keeping a very close eye on pH and ammonia.  No issues.  We did lose power a few times about a week ago, but they had a battery air stone in there the whole time (maybe it was stressful, but they seemed fine and the temp didn't change.  They are acting normal and look healthy so I don't know what to do about this (action or ignore). I don't think this is Ick because it doesn't look like salt and they aren't scratching against the live rocks or anything.  Luckily I am not a disease or parasite expert since that has not been a problem in my tank and I have a UV filter on the main tank.  This looks like faded white spots on one of the tips (not near the gills) of the male's fins and her lower fin (under her belly).  I am afraid to treat what I don't know and I am also afraid to do a freshwater dip or anything that could stress these fish we have worked so hard to keep acclimated and stress free.  Does this sound like something that will treat itself?  Should I be worried?  Do you know what this is? <<Is smart of you not to panic/treat until you have confirmed the need to do so.  These spots are normal/natural markings...nothing to worry about.  At first glance they do appear very much like parasites, but careful observation will reveal they are indeed markings on the fins>> I have put some Kent Garlic Xtreme in the Mysis when I feed the past two times-any other ideas? <<I don't think you need be concerned...you can continue occasionally with the garlic additive if you wish, it may serve as a preventive measure towards internal parasites.  You might also try it with the other foods as an enticement>> Long story short (I know, too late).....I am so happy you helped convince me to get them. <<It pleases me greatly to hear this>> I can't wait to see them happy and swimming in the main tank.  It was difficult to get them acclimated and they have had some stress, but all in all seem to be very happy and don't even stress during water changes anymore! <<They will much appreciate a cave/crevice in which to hide/sleep...though they probably won't inhabit the same one>> It's been three weeks and I would like to take them out of the QT this week but need to know if these  barely visible spots are dangerous or if they will harm my other fish.  And what I should do if anything.  I can't send a picture-it doesn't show up. <<No worries my friend.  I believe all will be/is fine>> Sorry to only write when I have a problem....but you always seem to save the day. <<Hee!  High praise indeed!>> Thanks! Pam <<Very welcome, do keep me posted on the pairs' progress.  Regards, Eric Russell>>
Blue Throat Triggers in a Reef? III - 07/18/06
Thanks again Eric-my hero! <<I'm blushing, or maybe just beaming! <grin>... You're very welcome>> I will keep an eye on them but feel much better now!  I will try other foods again with the garlic as you recommended. <<Ah yes, and the Selcon/a vitamin product too>> Thanks for the very quick reply and taking the time.  You guys really are a terrific resource and I appreciate that. <<The guys and gals here are pleased to do what we can>> Have a great day, Pam <<And you my friend.  EricR>>

Stocking...Tank Busters and War Mongers   7/4/06 Dear Bob , <Actually Adam J. with you this...umm...I guess its morning now...happy 4th!> I just recently purchased a 210 gallon tank and was wondering if I could house a white edged lyretail grouper for its lifespan in it? <No...too big.> the fellow tankmates would include 3 triggers (assasi, blue throat,& Sargassum) <Umm...that is not a good idea to mix these species of trigger...even in the short term.> a freckled hawk, a burrowing puffer, and an (angel or a tang /any recommendations?) and possibly a goatfish. Would this work? <Depends on exact species, but I can tell you right now your current plans will now work...do keep reading, Adam J.>

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

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

Triggerfish/Compatibility  6/21/06 I've read your plentiful articles and would like to reward you in clicking links for advertisers or something. What would you like? <Donations gladly accepted.> You have provided such a VAST amount of knowledge to me as an intermediate aquarium owner and I very much appreciate it. <You're welcome.> I started with a reef aquarium and after a massive disease/fungal wipeout I've decided to go with a fish only tank.  I have a 100gallon tank and am ending up with 3 triggers, (niger, humu, bursa) all small.. they will arrive in a few days is there anything I should expect besides a massive war ? <If they are small, they may co-exist with each other, especially since you are providing a large tank for them.  All triggers have an aggressive nature, and, I think it is a little late to be asking now. James (Salty Dog)>

Trigger Compatibility...Morays and Fishes - 06/05/06 Bob, <<EricR here today>> Tremendous site.  Thank you for the service you provide the fish-keeping hobby. <<Bob, all of us, are pleased you feel this way>> I am blessed to have three large saltwater aquariums. <<Indeed!>> One is a 125g in which I currently have a Niger trigger and a Humu Humu trigger, both about 3-4".  Also in the tank are 5 yellow-tail damsels. <<I see>> What say you to adding a baby clown to the mix (after evacuating the 5 damsels) and then keeping those three triggers--and nothing else--in the 125g from here on out?  (I also have plenty of live rock and a large cave in the tank.) <<I think if you do this you will eventually have only the Clown trigger.  Balistoides conspicillum is a brute of a fish, even where triggers are concerned.  Juveniles can often be mixed with other fish (I even saw one in a reef tank...though I strongly recommend against this), but as the fish matures its tolerance for tankmates becomes less and less.  Clown triggers are known for killing "everyone" in the tank without warning>> Another tank is a monster 240g.  Right now there are just three damsel fish in it to cycle the system. <<Ugh...don't care for this method...not necessary in my opinion>> I'd like to put a Zebra moray eel in there as I understand they will not try to eat other fish but instead prefer to be fed shrimp, crab et al. <<Yes>> If I do put the Zebra moray eel in there...can I add large schools of peaceful fish--like Chromis and pajama cardinals--without being overly concerned about the little guys becoming lunch for the Zebra moray? <<Might be possible, though I'd want to keep the moray well fed just the same>> Also, in a 240g...are there larger peaceful fish that can be kept in schools? <<Hmmm..."large" and "schools" isn't usually synonymous with "home aquarium" <grin> >> If so, which fish (and in what number?) would you recommend? <<One of the larger Anthias species might be what you're looking for.  My vote goes to Pseudanthias squamipinnis, the Lyretail Anthias.  These are durable and handsome fish that can grow to about 5" in the home aquarium.  A harem of a male and 4 females would be possible in your tank...more if you decide to exclude some of the other fish>> All the best from the desert Southwest, Adam <<And to you in kind from the steamy Southeast.  EricR>>
Trigger Compatibility...Morays and Fishes II - 06/07/06
Eric, <<Adam>> Thanks for your insight--I really appreciate it. <<Is my pleasure>> What I'm gathering is that a Clown trigger is best kept alone in its own tank? <<Is what "I" think, yes>> If so, I think I'll pass on a clown because while they are beautiful, it's more fun to have a community of some sort, in my opinion. <<Agreed...unless you have the facilities to do both <G> >> I've never had an eel.  When you feed them with the tongs by sticking the food in front of them...how do you prevent other fish from "stealing" the eel's meal? <<This indeed can be problematic if you have fish that share the same diet.  Best to feed the fish first, then attend to the eel...warding off the fishy thieves as/if necessary>> Would my Niger and Humu Humu triggers be OK tankmates with the eel? <<The Rhinecanthus is likely a danger to the eel while the Odonus, though somewhat less a threat, may still take a nip if afforded the opportunity (While diving off the Kona coast last fall I saw a large Pink-Tail trigger chasing and nipping at a three-foot moray as it frantically searched the sea floor for a place to escape/hide)>> If I went this way then I'd have to opt against putting Chromis, pajama cardinals and your recommendation of Lyretail Anthias in there as the Triggers would kill them, right? <<Here again the Humu Humu is the bigger concern.  I have a male Blue-Throat trigger (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) in my 375g reef with Lyretail Anthias and some assorted small wrasses...never been a problem.  The mostly planktonic feeding triggers can be mixed with smaller fishes quite successfully.  Though I must say, Odonus niger gets considerably larger than most (to 18" in the wild) and will outgrow most home systems.  The Blue-Throat, Pink-Tail, or Crosshatch triggers would be better choices in my opinion>> Assuming the Niger and Humu Humu could go with the zebra moray in the 240...what else would go well?  A lion fish?  A puffer? <<The lion fish would be suitable in my opinion, but the puffer would not...another "nipper">> I'm from the southeast myself--grew up in Atlanta. <<Ahh...I'm a transplant actually...20 years in the military, happened to end up in SC at retirement...liked it and stayed>> Best, Adam <<Regards, EricR>>
Trigger Compatibility...Morays and Fishes III - 06/08/06
Eric, <<Morning Adam>> Thanks again for your insight. <<Anytime>> So...Humu Humu, Niger, puffer could all go well in a 125 g? <<For a time (several years), yes>> What else could go with them?  (Without overcrowding.) <<Mmm, the $64,000 question...the fish you have listed will be big/messy feeders...as such your filtration system will be taxed as it is (let me recommend you employ a fluidized-bed filter in conjunction with your other filtration).  But for some diversity I think you could add a few fast moving "smaller" fishes, perhaps a handful of Chromis viridis.  Be sure to have enough live rock in the system so they can dart to safety if necessary>> I have an opportunity to buy a panther grouper, a lion fish and two (some types of morays) which are all local and eating well in a private aquarium...so any advice on mixing them in is appreciated.  (I'm not set on buying any of them necessarily.) <<These could make a handsome display in the 240g tank you mentioned previously.  Though in this instance, adding any small fishes as discussed would likely turn out to be expensive snacks for the grouper and the lion...even the morays, depending on species>> Best, Adam <<Regards, EricR>>

Blue cheeked Trigger Fish in a Reef Tank?  6/5/06 Hello Crew, <<Hello Bob>> I'd just like to get your opinion of Blue Cheeked Trigger fish, (Xanthichthys auromarginatus ), in reef tanks. <<Absolutely worthwhile...if you have the space>> I have heard much recently of the suitability of these fish to reef set ups due to their planktonic diet, but they are trigger fish after all and those shrimps look so tasty! <<Ha!...indeed.  There's always the possibility of trouble, but I've kept this species in my reef for more than a year now without incident (I have shrimp and snails but no hermits), and would heartily recommend you give them a try.  I think the biggest danger would be if you tried to introduce more shrimp after the trigger is in the tank...would have to be introduced very carefully, not just "dropped" in to the tank>> My set up is 340 litre. <<Mmm, marginal...should be "OK" for a time, but would like to see it in a larger system for the long term>> Stock includes leather and mushroom corals.  1 cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis).  Red- and blue-legged hermits.  Turbo snails. Fish list; 2 x Amphiprion ocellaris 1 x Ecsenius midas 2 x Pomacentrus alleni 1 x Neocirrhites armatus 1 x Centropyge bicolor 1 x Pseudocheilinus hexataenia 1 x Gramma loreto 1 x Ctenochaetus strigosus Thank you for your time and expertise! Bob Mehen <<A pleasure to assist, Eric Russell>>

Blue Throat Triggers in a Reef? - 04/19/06 Hi Bob- <<EricR here today...Hello!>> We have a 260 gallon reef tank with: 2 purple fire fish 2 fire fish A mated pair of tomato clowns (with eggs now) living in a hosting anemone (and two other bubble tips) A psychedelic mandarin A coral beauty A yellow tang A hippo tang A young (perhaps 3') Naso tang Three cleaner shrimp 2 fire cleaner shrimp Lots of hermits Two emerald crabs Corals (and a small, but beautiful, Crocea clam) We are considering some other fish but after spending days fishing the damsels out of the tank'¦'¦ we are determined to keep a peaceful tank now that the fire fish actually come out to swim and eat. <<Mmm, yes...these "sweet tempered" little fish (towards non-conspecifics anyway) usually suffer terribly in a tank with bullies such as the damsels>> We would love to get a male and female blue throat triggerfish.  I have read many of your comments on them and it seems that you like these fish. <<Indeed...as do I.  I have a male Blue Throat in my 375g reef tank.  I had a pair to begin with, but sadly the female was stricken by internal parasites some months after I acquired her and stopped feeding...but the male has been doing great for about a year now>> Do you think that they would be a good (and fairly non-aggressive) addition to our tank? <<They are boisterous and aggressive feeders which can intimidate some fishes, but otherwise have proven quite peaceful in my experience>> We have read that they can bother 'ornamental shrimp', do you think they would hurt the cleaner shrimps?  I hope not! <<Mine doesn't bother shrimp or snail>> They are the friendliest creatures in the tank-they always eat right out of our hands.  What about the clam? <<I have three T. crocea that have never been a problem where the trigger is concerned>> We are open to other suggestions in addition to the trigger too.  Do you think another type of tang would be a good idea?  Perhaps a Kole? <<I think you might be "full up" on tangs>> We are also thinking of adding a few royal Gramma for color and action (since they hide less than the fire fish). <<Should be fine...though I'm not sure two will peacefully cohabitate, even in your large tank>> We look forward to your advice as always. <<If you decide to get a "pair" of Blue Throats, may I suggest you try to acquire specimens from Hawaii as they will be in better condition due to proper handling and shorter transit time.  Also...make sure you order/receive the male and female at the same time...have them quarantined together...and introduce them to your tank together when the time comes>> Thanks a million! Pam and Rob <<Is a pleasure to assist.  Regards EricR>>
Blue Throat Triggers in a Reef? II - 04/19/06
Thank you so much for the advice Eric!  I think you sold us! <<Ah, great!>> Have a great day! -Pam and Rob <<I know you will enjoy the triggers.  Regards, EricR>>

Trigger Fish Compatibility  - 04/02/06 Hello,  <Hi Dave> I was wondering if it would be possible to keep a Sargassum Triggerfish or a Pinktail Trigger in a 135 gallon tank?  I have a juv. Chrysurus angelfish, a powder blue tang, a sailfin tang, a coral beauty angelfish, 2 Perc clowns, some Chromis, and a blue fairy wrasse, and a lineatus wrasse.  <These fish are aggressive and wouldn't fit it with the crew you have.  Like having a motorcycle gang visit a family dinner.> <<Great! And this tank is too crowded... RMF>> Thanks for all of your help.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dave

Trigger System/Choices - 02/23/06 Good Morning all- <<Evening here now-Howdy!>> I'm getting ready to start my first Saltwater aquarium. <<Ahh...challenges, wonders ahead...>> In the past 2 years I've bought over $400.00 worth of books, have quite a few Saltwater magazine subscriptions, and have spent countless hours cruising the web, (mostly on your site BTW), to do my research so I will get it right. <<Kudos to you my friend.>> I have had my 90 gallon tank set-up for over 10 years and have enjoyed the hours spent watching my African Cichlids, and all the little ones they have blessed me with, but it is time to move on. I am intrigued by the Triggers and although most of the research I've done has been in the reef set-up area, I keep going back to Triggers. <<Indeed...fascinating and intelligent fishes.>> My thoughts are in wanting to set up a Trigger tank, which begs the question, can I keep these guys together, <<Some of them.>> and how big of an aquarium will I need, <<A couple to several hundred gallons.>> and who gets to stay, or go--? <<Mmm, choices/decisions to be made.>> The list of potential candidates; A Niger, a Picasso, a Bluechin, and lastly a Clown.  I've read the Bluechin is the "most peaceful" of the bunch, and is NOT a must have, but I'm striving for 'color selection'. <<I "highly" recommend this fish over the Clown trigger.  The Bluechin (or Blue Throat) is a hardy (ask for a Hawaiian specimen) and attractive fish that will "fit" much better with your other choices in the long term.  While truly a beautiful and amazing fish, the Clown trigger is best kept in a system by itself unless of a size not normally within the capabilities of most hobbyists.>> (Maintenance is not an issue or a chore to me, as I clean the filter pad in my wet/dry every other day on my 90, and do 30% water changes bi-weekly. <<Excellent!>> This system is set-up using a sump, with an 1100 gph return through a spray bar located 2" above the sand behind the stacked rocked, a closed loop with a Mag 9.5, an Emperor 400, and a 350 deluxe with a micron filter. A Nautilus TE skimmer, and a 9 watt UV sterilizer.)  In closing, I would like to thank you in advance for your time, and I'd also like to say this is THE best site I have been lucky enough to find. <<I/we look forward to future correspondence.>> Bill Fletcher <<Regards, EricR>>

Wrasses & Triggers II - 03/07/06 Thanks, <<Welcome>> Your advice is very helpful. <<I always hope so...>> Although not what I would like to hear but it works. <<Mmm, a common response...were it but that we could keep everything that strikes our fancy...mine included <grin>.>> What determines the size factor of the tank?  I've always been curious?  How can someone determine the amount of fish and correct size of the tank themselves then asking for your or local pet store. <<No magic formulas my friend.  Every addition needs to/has to be evaluated on its own merit (adult size/temperament, feeding habits, social behaviors, natural environment, natural range, physiology, psychology, suitable tank mates, etc., etc.).>> I know that with fresh water it's roughly 1gal per inch of fish or at least that's what I was told, so a 100 gal tank could house about 100 inches of fish. <<Um...no...same hold true here as well...each fish/species must be evaluated as explained.>> I always thought that you should cut a marine tank in half.  Is there a different way of looking at that? <<As I stated...but never said it was easy.  Regards, EricR>>

Triggerfish and Corallimorphs tog.?   2/14/06 I was wondering if I should take a chance of having a mushroom colony with a Picasso Triggerfish? I know that triggerfish are known to bother corals somewhat but I just want to know my chances of keeping both. (btw I don't have the mushrooms or the triggerfish yet) <Mmm, I give you about 50:50 odds that they'll co-exist... but no telling when the Rhinecanthus might munch the Shrooms. Bob Fenner>

Trigger + Another Trigger + More Fish = WWIII  12/24/05 Hi Matt speaking, I'm 14, <Hi Matt, Adam J here with you.> I know a lot about fish I also am very lucky with  them too. <Cool.> I currently have a 28 bow tank with 4 convict damsels and 2 clown fish  (perculas) they do fine for 1 and a half years now. I also a 55 gallon tank for  the past 4 years with many fish. Right now it has about 50 pounds of  live rock. In it is a 5" Naso Tang, two 2" mono's, a 4" Foxface and one Koran  Angel extremely small about 2". They all do fine for the past year. <Well it's time to find the Naso a new home ASAP, as for the other fish they will need new homes within the next year as well 'you've picked out some serious tank busters there.> About 2  months ago I got a 150 gallon tank for a birthday gift I let it cycle threw  these past 2 months. It's 72x18x30. I'm wondering if these fish will do in the  150, 4"-5" Imperator Angel, 3"-4" Blue line grouper, 3"-4" Banana Wrasse  and 2 triggers. <I wouldn't mix triggers and triggers, heck I would avoid mixing triggers with anything else if possible. They can be downright nasty. While there is still no guarantee; I would try either the blue throat trigger or niger trigger, they tend to be a bit more timid than some of their cousins.> I love triggers their my favorite species of marine fish. <I love 'em too, they just don't play nice with others.> One time I had a Clown triggerfish and Niger in a 36 gallon tank for 2  years no problems but than we gave it to the LPS because we got the 55 instead.   <There is not other word to describe the above arrangement other than luck really, and I'm willing to bet that there would be problems once the fish matured not to mention the tank size they were in.> Their are 3 triggers I want; these are between the Clown, Humu-Humu  (Picasso), or the Rectangular Trigger, but I only want two and that's  how much is the maximum for the 150. <With that arrangement you will end up with only one trigger 'after one has killed the other two.> I've heard many stories between them. I  heard clowns don't get along with other triggers, <'¦.Or other fish in general.> but in many tanks I seem them  with Humas. So I'm guessing its all luck really want the Clown and  Rectangular. they are both going in at the same time both 2"-3". But if they  don't get along which I doubt because they will be put in the same time. <Simultaneous addition increases your chances somewhat of keeping such animals, but it is not a guarantee. Clown Triggers are just downright nasty fish at times. I took care of a 6000 gallon tank with a large (24') adult clown and try as we might, could not add another trigger to the tank.> If they  want be good do you think I can put the Humu and Rectangular together or Clown  and Humu? <Personally in this tank size I would not mix triggers.> This is the Order I would like to put the fish in 1st I'm gonna put in  the Imperator and Banana then later on maybe a month or too later the blue Line  grouper then both triggers another month later. Do you think that will be fine. <No I think you would be overstocking there, and possibly adding the fish to quickly. The tank needs to be AT LEAST 6 months old before adding an angel. I think if you drop one or two of those from your list (preferably the one trigger) you could be okay. Keep in mind however that years down the line you may end up having a tank with one trigger; depending on the individual specimen.> Also do you think their are any other fish (aggressive) that will do possibly  OK. But it might get a little packed in their <Will be very packed in their eventually.> but they are very small so I think  for a couple months I could put other fish in. Do you think 1 Maroon gold striped Clown (2"-3") or 2 perculas true (2"-3") <A large maroon female may be able to hold it's own in this tank against everyone, excluding the trigger. The perculas are far to timid.> if you have any suggestions or  comments like you might not think will go or something please tell  me. <Triggers are interesting creatures some play nice but generally speaking all have the potential to be terrors. I would be very cautious when keeping any type of trigger with any other fish and I would avoid mixing triggers with other triggers all together. As for removing fish as they grow larger; what would you do with these fish after a 'couple' of months? As a responsible aquarist you should address and plan for this now not later.  You have more research to do my friend, please read through WWM. Good luck, Adam J.>

Compatibility of anemone and clownfish with Humu Humu trigger Hi!  I love your site and all your extremely informative Q&A -- what a remarkable resource!  Thank you for what you do! <Much appreciated> Here's my question:  I have a very friendly <There are no friendly triggers> and relatively docile humu (about 4 inches) humu living very happily with a convict damsel in a 40 gallon FOWLR system. <Much too small a tank.> The two don't seem to bother each other at all and have been very peaceable roommates for over two years.  I would like to add a clownfish (percula, likely, although possibly a Clark) along with an anemone.  In fact, I just bought a pink anemone today at the LFS largely since the man at the store didn't seem to think there would be any incompatibility problem.  I thought I would give the anemone a chance to make itself at home before introducing the clownfish.  After now searching the issue of compatibility between the humu humu and the anemone I am now suddenly alarmed at the thought that the humu humu might nibble at and ultimately kill the anemone.  (I know, I should have figured this out in advance of buying the thing.)  Is it highly likely that the humu humu will munch on the anemone or simply a somewhat possible eventuality?  Is the little convict damsel likely to succumb to the anemone's tentacles?  Should I take the anemone back to the store tomorrow and forget the idea of giving the clownfish an anemone home? <Bad idea all together, take the anemone back.  Triggerfish should never be trusted with inverts.> Also, would the humu humu be likely to harass the new clownfish? <Yes> Does it depend very much on the relative size of the clown? <No> (the Clark would be about 3 inches and the percula would be a little guy - perhaps 1.5-2 inches).  Separately, what do you think of the idea of introducing a lunare wrasse into this environment?  Would the wrasse be likely to upset the happy relationship between the humu humu and the convict? <As the trigger grows your tank will not be able to support any more fish.  Your trigger can attain a length of up to 10 inches and they do grow quite fast.  A 70 gallon tank would be the minimum size for this trigger.> Thank you in advance for you advice. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Humu humu Compatibility - 12/17/2005 Hi, <Hello, Josh here.> I've never posted a question before so I don't know if I'm supposed to send you an email like this or simply follow the link your site.  So, I apologize if you receive this twice.... <I only see this one, so, unless Bob got one...>    Hi! <Uh.. Hi there! Josh here today.> I love your site and all your extremely informative Q&A -- what a remarkable resource! Thank you for what you do! <Actually thank you! We couldn't do it without all the participation!>   Here's my question: I have a very friendly and relatively docile Humuhumu (about 4 inches) living very happily with a convict damsel in a 40 gallon FOWLR system. The two don't seem to bother each other at all and have been very peaceable roommates for over two years. <As with any Triggerfish, this can change. The fact that it's tank is too small increases the chances.> I would like to add a clownfish (percula, likely, although possibly a Clark) along with an anemone. <If you're trying to  pair them up, make sure you do the adequate research. There are many mixes that don't work, others that work only sometimes.> In fact, I just bought a pink anemone today at the LFS largely since the man at the store didn't seem to think there would be any incompatibility problem. <YAY! Did you research any on this type before your purchase? How about the best route to success for a Clown host?> I thought I would give the anemone a chance to make itself at home before introducing the clownfish. <Should also make sure you can make it at home. Give a bit of time here, and learn all you can on its care. Anemones aren't easy and should not be taken lightly.> After now searching the issue of compatibility between the humu humu and the anemone I am now suddenly alarmed at the thought that the Humu humu might nibble at and ultimately kill the anemone. <Better late then never (sort of). There is a chance it may happen. No way to know that it won't happen later either.> (I know, I should have figured this out in advance of buying the thing.) <Better luck next time.> Is it highly likely that the Humuhumu will munch on the anemone or simply a somewhat possible eventuality? <I'd say it's highly likely a chance he'll try it. Whether he likes it or not...> Is the little convict damsel likely to succumb to the anemone's tentacles? <Is this a Dascyllus (striped)? Probably not. Smart and quick.> Should I take the anemone back to the store tomorrow and forget the idea of giving the Clownfish an anemone home? <That's what I would advise.> Also, would the Humu humu be likely to harass the new clownfish? <Probably, at least upon introduction. The Damsel would as well.> Does it depend very much on the relative size of the clown? (the Clark would be about 3 inches and the percula would be a little guy - perhaps 1.5-2 inches). <The closer sized to the Trigger the better.> Separately, what do you think of the idea of introducing a lunare wrasse into this environment? Would the wrasse be likely to upset the happy relationship between the Humu humu and the convict? <Any introduction is going to cause some "activity". Introduction to an undersized tank will likely cause negative activity.> Thank you in advance for you advice. <No problem. I would abandon the anemone idea and plan a tank upgrade, too small for the Picasso. - Josh>

Trigger Compatibility - 12/13/2005 Hi, great site! <Thanks Chris!>     I've looked through your site back and forth and really did not find the answer to my question.  I recently purchased a 110 gallon tank, 48 inches long. I have a large wet dry filter, and Aqua-C 180 protein skimmer, plus an old SeaClone Skimmer, 60 pounds of liverock and 50 pounds of live sand.  My question concerns the Picasso Triggerfish and its compatibility with the Zebra Moray and Volitans Lionfish . Is the Picasso Triggerfish compatible with the moray, Volitans Lionfish and possibly a puffer as well? <Well, this Triggerfish is of the more peaceful but there is still a risk that it will harass the Zebra Moray as well as the Volitans. There would also be significant risk of throwing a Pufferfish into this tank for the same reasons.> Not that big of a deal if it is not. If not, what other tank mates are compatible? <Is this a proposed stocking list or are you looking to add "just one more" to existing tankmates? Visit/revisit the Compatibility FAQs on these animals. I would prefer a bit more room for just these two. If you must make an addition (again, advised against) nothing smaller than the mouths of these for sure. Larger, docile, more indifferent than inquisitive tankmates are all that need apply. Keep in mind the effects of additions on filtration.> I know the Picasso Triggerfish are really intelligent, one of the reasons I like them. Thanks, Chris <Quite welcome. - Josh>

Compatibility Question From an "Old-timer"  12/1/05 Dear WWM crew, Greetings! I've got a compatibility question for you. In my 16 years of marine fishkeeping, I've never tried keeping triggerfish (except a Niger), simply because of how mean they can get. At this point, however, my 150G FO seems to have become a pretty aggressive tank! Due to two recent losses (a wonderful honeycomb moray to the carpet, and a sailfin tang possibly to old age?),  <<Could possibly live to a decade, maybe more.  Marina>> I am down to five fish: an 8" Maculosus Angel, a 6" Queen Angel, a 8" Foxface, a 8" volitans lion, and a 4" dogface puffer. Most of those fish have been in the tank for 5+ years (the maculosus started out at less than an inch!). In fact, the lion was the most recent addition at almost three years!  In trying to decide what to add, I've come up with several ideas and wanted to run them past you guys. First, I my LFS has a 4" clown trigger at a reasonable price. I've read the article on clown triggers, which says that they can get LARGE and MEAN, but I also read the FAQ and saw that other people are keeping their clown triggers with angels, tangs, and other semi-aggressive fish. What do you think the likelihood of adding a 4" clown trigger without serious incident (in either direction) would be?  Second, I am ordering some fish from a diver in Hawaii, and was thinking of adding a large Green Bird Wrasse, a large Raccoon Butterfly, and a large Achilles Tang. Do you think they would be able to fend for themselves against the five I already have? How about with the trigger? I know predictions can be hard to make, as each fish is different, but what is your opinion? Thanks.  Jim Jensen  <Jim, with the size of your present fish, your tank is overloaded right now. I wouldn't add any more fish. But to answer your question, yes clown triggers do get large and can be mean. If the tank is large enough it helps quell aggression. James (Salty Dog)> <<Also, the lionfish specifically could become a target of this clown, some species of Triggerfishes are known to nip off the venomous spines.  Marina>>

Starfish/Urchins in an Aggressive Fish Only Tank  11/23/05 Apologies if you have already answered this but I couldn't find it on the FAQ section.  I have a fish only tank with a Huma Trigger, Snowflake Moray and Lionfish. I have been looking for something to control algae but the trigger keeps biting chunks or any exposed pieces from any snails that I put in there (irrespective of size). Can you keep starfish or urchins in this type of tank? And if so, would anyone have nay recommendations?  <The trigger will eat all inverts!! you better scrub the aquarium by hand!! IanB> 

Vacation and Lionfish and Trigger and the Bears, Oh My!  11/20/05 Crew, I hope everyone's doing well.  <So far so good.> My question relates to Thanksgiving vacation. Will a lionfish and trigger survive 5 days without food in their new 120 gallon home?  <I'm sure they would be fine. Wouldn't want to go much longer than that.> From the FAQ's, I gather that some Lionfish go on feeding strikes for weeks, so I assume that 5 days without feeding and adult supervision should be ok. A few days after picking up my lionfish (and maybe my Picasso trigger) --  which are being quarantined at the LFS -- and conducting a FW dip with Quick Cure, I go on a 4-5 day Thanksgiving vacation. Except for two damsels that I've had for a few weeks, the Lionfish and Trigger will be the first fish to be added to the tank.  <You may be missing a damsel or two when you return.>  << <giggle> Ya think?  MH>> Tank has been cycling for a couple months. Ammonia and nitrites are low, but nitrates are ~50ppm -- which is why I'm waiting to add my snowflake eel. I think the high nitrate level is due to the filter pads I had on the Wet/Dry tray.  I've removed them, I now I only have a Poly Filter in there.  <Filter pads are fine as long as they are changed/cleaned on a weekly basis.> Will the fish be ok while I'm away, or am I overly concerned about fish stress and lack of feeding (assuming the lionfish doesn't try to eat the damsels)?  <If they are in good health when you leave, they should be OK.>  Am I also being overly concerned with the snowflake's reaction to a ~50 ppm nitrate level?  <I wouldn't add another fish until your return where you can monitor it. Fifty ppm of nitrate is kind of high but shouldn't cause any health problems for the eel. If you like keeping the big eaters/big messer- uppers I suggest adding a good protein skimmer.> Thanks in advance!  <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>  <<The Lion may be gone as well... RMF>>

Triggerfishes for  Marine
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