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FAQs about Xanthichthys Triggerfishes, Compatibility

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

Related Articles: Xanthichthys TriggersTriggerfish, Red Sea Triggerfishes

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sargassum Trigger, conspecific comp.      5/9/13
<Hey Cheryl>
Would really appreciate your advice on the following. Is it possible for two Sargassum Triggerfish to live happily together in the same tank?
<Yes; if the system is large (enough)... a hundred gallons to start w/ let's say, if the specimens are small (3-4" or so in total length)... Need a couple hundred gallons plus when large/r to do well in captivity>
We introduced a new Sargassum to our tank two days ago and our existing Sargassum has not taken too kindly to his new tank mate. Both fish were kept in the same tank in our local fish shop and seemed to get along fine there. We bought the larger fish around a month ago. He (I think he is male) settled in well with our existing set up: 2 wrasses, 1 sulphur goby,
2 Darwin Clowns, 1 fire fish and 1 Kole tang. There are also some small crabs and 1 peppermint shrimp.
<Your triggers (and likely whatever Labrids these are) may well consume the crustaceans>
All get along fine and our water parameters are great. There is live rock in the tank and it is large enough for everyone to have their own space.
<? How large?>
 Everyone feeds well, is healthy and there has been no aggression or destructive behaviour.
The remaining (smaller) Sargassum remained in the shop and I guess I felt sorry for it. So, two days ago we bought him/her home. We put the fish through a quarantine session and then introduced it to the tank. At first things seemed fine but have since deteriorated badly. The new fish just seemed shy at first but ate and swam around, though was nervous when the
larger fish approached. The larger Sargassum is now behaving aggressively towards the smaller Sargassum. There was some fighting this morning and since then the smaller fish has just hidden behind some rock. All the other fish are fine and their behaviour is no different.
Will they ever get along?
<Mmm; likely yes. IF this were me/my system, fish/es, I'd (use two) net out the larger resident trigger and "float it" in a large plastic colander in the tank (w/ the lights off) for a few days... to give the new an opportunity to rest up, become more familiar... This  "time out" period often works well to "take the vinegar" out of an aggressor>
 I realise in hindsight we should have bought them together. Should we return the new fish back to the shop? We have a small quarantine tank so we have thought about taking the larger fish out for a day or two and then reintroducing him to the main tank in the hope this will stop him behaving so territorially. Will this work?
<Ah yes; also a good, worthwhile possibility>
Thanks for your advice.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sargassum Trigger     5/9/13

Many thanks for quick response and advice. The larger Sargassum is going to have a mini break in the smaller tank for a day or two and then be reintroduced.
<Ah, good>
I'll let you know how things work out.
<Thank you>
Once again, thank you x
<Cheers, BobF>

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

Blue Jaw Trigger and Naso Tang Compatibility 10/1/11
Greetings Gang,
<<Good morning Dave (hope the Space Odyssey reference wasn't too esoteric hehe).>>
I have the following livestock in my reef tank.
5 blue/green Chromis
3 Black/White Ocellaris Clowns
1 six line Wrasse
1 Mystery Wrasse
1 Christmas Wrasse
1 Orange Spot Goby
1 female Blue Jaw Trigger (about 6 inches)
The fish all get along very well and there has been no fighting ever with this group of fish. Now that my tank is getting to the "one year" mark I'd like to invest in a Naso Tang.
My question is will this fish (Naso) with its body style be compatible and safe with the Blue Jaw Trigger which is my "Aqua Dog". The Trigger is gentle day in and day out with all other fish in the tank? I don't want to upset the Trigger. I just want one Tang and the Naso seems to be a very hardy fish to have for algae cleaning and temperament.
<<With the more subdued nature of Xanthichthys triggers I could foresee this mix being accomplished the one important aspect you left out however id the size of your exhibit, this is really important when advising on stocking. Respond with that info and we'll go into more detail. To be honest if you ever have aggression issues down the line I would expect them to come between your two Pseudocheilinus (lined)wrasses (the six line and the Mystery).>>
Please advise.
<<Look forward to advising you further.>>
Thanks very much,
<<Welcome, E. Adam Jackson.>>
Re Blue Jaw Trigger and Naso Tang Compatibility 10/1/11
Thank you for your response and sorry for omitting the size of my tank.
<<No worries.>>
It's a 150 gallon tank six feet long with 147 lbs. of live rock. I also have a 30 gallon sump as part of my filtration.
<<This is too small for any member of the Naso Genus in the long term.>>
I put a hold on a 5 inch Hawaiian caught Naso this afternoon from my supplier. The fish is doing very well and if you feel that this addition will work I'll be doing my weekly water change and then getting the Naso
later in the coming week. I want little stress put on the fish other than the transfer.
<<At 5" this would be a short term housing, this animal will reach at minimum 12" in captivity and has the potential for more, see here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/naso_lituratus.htm  ...And while I could see housing this animal with your trigger in a larger system, keep in mind the smaller the system the more likely the animals are to show territorial, aggressive behaviors due to the lack of area to "split up.">>
Thanks again,
<<Adam J.>>

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>

puffer & trigger compatibility?   12/21/10
Merry Christmas and happy Holidays!
<And to you and yours Nick>
First off, I want to apologize if you received this e-mail numerous times; my computer is being temperamental! That said, I always value the advice I receive and read on your site and today, am in need of some advice. I have been volunteering at a local fish store (primarily with marketing, not selling the fish) and have grown quite attached to two of the fish there; a Dog-face puffer (small '¦at the moment) and a blue throat trigger (also small for now). Both of these fish have been in the store for about two months and I am strongly considering 'adopting' them to put in my 90 gallon (just live rock and a few damsels at the moment however, the tank would be devoted solely to these two fish and perhaps a dwarf angel or
maroon clown).
<Should all get along... The Clown being the more aggressive/territorial>
My first question is rather or not these two fish are compatible with each other?
<Yes; a high likelihood>
Secondly, shouldn't they (especially the puffer for his 'teeth') be eating crustaceans?
<This, or other "hard" foods, yes>
I have been feeding both of these fish for the past month and they will only eat pellets, frozen muscles (cubes), and Krill. I have tried feeding them crab legs from the grocery store, whole muscles, and small live inverts, but they want nothing to do with any of that. I have read that it is important for puffer fish to eat hard foods to keep their teeth from overgrowing; how can I coax him (I have also tried adding garlic to these foods)?
<By keeping at offering a mix of "shelled" foods>
Lastly, I was reading a section about puffer fish bites. Is it typical for them to be aggressive toward their owners?
<Mmm, not usually>
Both the puffer and the trigger I have been caring for eat food from my hand and when they see me,
they swim to the water's surface and let me 'pet' them (which makes me want them that much more)'¦is this abnormal of these fish?
<Not unheard of>
Thank you for your advice,
~ Nick
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Trigger disease... env., psych.  11/23/10
Hello again crew, I recently acquired a blue jaw trigger for my reef tank.
This is my second attempt the first one died because I could not get him to start eating.
This one gave me hope for a while because I got him to take formula 1 flake food and brine shrimp. I had a yellow tang that was already established in this tank and noticed him trying to whip the trigger with his
<How large is this system?>
The trigger eventually went into hiding. I have been able to glimpse him and have noticed large white growths for lack of a better word. They are above his eye and on his chin as well and I think they are developing on his eye as well. I have had to deal with Ich and this is much too large to be Ich, it's about the size of the round colored part of a sewing pin.
<Sores from strikes by the Tang likely>
I have since moved the tang to a different system tonight to try and eliminate stress on the trigger. I have had the trigger for almost a week and he ate fine for a few days and has not eaten in the last two. I have bought some prima fix
<... worthless; worse than worthless>
because I believe the trigger wounded him causing a fungal infection. I just wanted to know if this diagnosis sounds right and if the treatment will help or just further stress this fish.
<May suspend nitrification. Will do no good>
Also I cant get him to eat I have tried my home made mix consisting of, squid, cuttlefish, shrimp, mussels, clams, and scallops. I have also tried the formula one flake food, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and seaweed sheets because I was told they enjoy them. I soak all the food in garlic and still cant get him to eat. I have even used a turkey baster to blow the food into his little hidey hole. He may be eating in his hole but I have yet to see him do so. I know you guys like all the details so here goes, Amm0, trite0, trate0, calcium 420,
alk4.5, ph8.2, phos0, mag1350, and sg 1.025. I use R/O D/I water for everything. I do weekly 10% water changes because I have five fish in this 55g.
<Here's the problem. The size of this system, the dominance of the Zebrasoma established>
I run a u.v. sterilizer, and carbon. I have a remora pro skimmer. I am waiting to see if this fish pulls through before setting up my 90g and transferring him.
<I would do this NOW. Or move the Yellow Tang if it can go there>
I grow Chaeto, feather Caulerpa,
<I'd ditch this. See WWM re>
and mangroves in my fuge.
I have probably 75-90lbs of live rock and a 4" sand bed. I don't think you need to know all of my corals in this tank but I have a mixed reef of softies, lps, and sps. Any advice you can give me on how to keep this fish would make my day. Thank you for your hard work. Zach
<Welcome. Separate the two fishes... stat. Bob Fenner>

Blue Jaw Triggers.... beh., in/comp.    12/7/09
Bob, I got a pair of blue jaw triggers from another reefer over 3 months ago and they have been fine in my tank. I had asked if they ever mated previously and the answer was no. In trying to do some research on how this pair may mate,
<Mmm, Balistids don't mate as in pair up permanently>
there really isn't much out there. About a week ago my male started acting really odd, basically staying in a cave near my huge sebae anemone
<Luckily not eating it>
and not really coming out even to eat. He had moved some sand away so I thought it could be a form of nesting. From a visual standpoint he looks perfectly healthy, however, his motor skills are not in line as he really hasn't shown any signs of swimming normal. I've been really busy with work so I haven't had much time to really watch this behavior but yesterday I noticed he had moved to a different cave and appeared to be stuck between the rock work. When I moved the rocks he swam backwards to another cave and got harassed a bit by my Desjardini Tang so I starting thinking that may be the issue as blue jaws can be fairly timid. It just seems a bit odd since they all have been living together for quite a while now.
<How large are these?>
So this morning my fiancé came downstairs and heard loud tapping on the glass and immediately woke me up to check it out as the female appeared to be attacking the male. I was able to get some video footage of it, still
not sure what to think about this. You can hear the sound of the fins hitting the glass.
Thanks in advance for the advice, Marlin (H20poloman2) SDMAS
<Yikes, the male is showing submissive behavior (as in "I give up") with the apparent female (it may be a late onset male) attacking it... These need to be separated NOW, as in immediately, or else the one will be killed. The not-so-alpha male was likely "hiding in its cave" to avoid the other. Be seeing you (I think the SDMAS holiday party is at our house) soon. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank and stocking questions... Trigger/Parrotfish incomp.  -- 09/26/09
Hello again Mister Fenner. I hope this finds you and yours well. I have a few questions for you today. My princess parrot and my bluechin trigger do not like each other. They frequently joust locking mouths but do no other damage. They both have they're territory within inches of each other. The parrot is usually the instigator. He has been in the tank for 2 years and is colouring up marvelously. The bluechin has been a resident for 4 years. Do you think this behavior is ok, or should I change the liverock to rearrange territory or simply take one of them to the LFS?.
<If not damaging either "much" I wouldn't be concerned>
I added my queen angel today. A 5" beauty with adult coloration well underway. He is not intimidated by anyone and leans on the fish that seem to get too close. The raccoon butterfly seems to love to chase him but the queen wont run, he just leans on the raccoon or tail slaps it. My nitrates are still zero and there is no hair algae or bacteria bloom visible. I value your opinion more than anyone's as far as fish keeping goes and I wanted to re-visit my red Coris question. my tank is 8feet long by 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall. The fish I have now if growing to full size add up to about 90 inches (plus the 2 morays on the bottom). Do you think I should consider myself fully stocked here or would the extra foot of the red Coris when he grows still give these guys plenty of room?.
<Still should be enough room>
I am spreading the word on the new reef site about the problems keeping clown triggers and multiple angels. They are for the most part listening. I use your name sometimes regarding things you have taught me and you are very respected by those on the site. I thank you again as always for the advice.
<Welcome. BobF>

Crosshatch trigger, sys.-sel.-comp.  4/25/09
Hi Bob,
<Hello, Scott V. with you today.>
Good day to you, the last time I post a question was 10 years ago, and sorry to bother you once again.
<Not a bother.>
My tank is 3ft by 3 ft by 2.5ft, will 2 pair of crosshatch fighting with one another? Are they quarrelsome among themselves?
<A pair in this tank will be fine, ideally a male and female introduced at the same time.>
Thank you and God bless.

Blue Throat Trigger in a Reef?   4/10/09
Dear WWM crew,
I plan on getting a 240 gallon tank, 72x24x31, with a 55 gallon tank as a sump. With a pair of ocellaris clownfish, 3 Bartlett's anthias,
<I'd have more... 5, 7>
and 4 green chromis, I have considered a blue throat triggerfish or a crosshatch triggerfish as a very easy, dog-like, and cool centerpiece fish for my reef tank. I hear that they can be kept with corals, but can they be kept with snails, such as Nassarius and Astrea snails?
<Usually yes... the first species better than the second>
Also, would either of these two male triggers lose their color if the don't have a female with them?
<Mmm, not much>
Please send a response to my message this time, I sent a question yesterday about a sohal tang in a 6 ft. 240 gallon tank, and all I received from you was my original message without a response.
<? Strange... I place most every day... Did see the incoming/resp. Is archived here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sohaltcomp.htm
Bob Fenner>

Re: Blue Throat Trigger in a Reef? Missing, delayed resp.s  4/10/09
Im sorry, it's not you, it's Yahoo Mail. For some reason, the message was displayed as my messages only for like the first 20 min., then your replies popped up later. Sorry about that.
<Ahh, thank you for this input. BobF>

Blue Chin Triggerfish/Compatibility 2/19/09 Dear WWM Crew, Thanks for all the help over the years, you have been an endless source of great information and advice. <You're welcome.> I have been recently researching the Bluechin Triggerfish, Xanthichthys auromarginatus, as the next and final addition to my 100 gallon tank. I have a friend who is moving away, selling off his reef inventory, and has a nice specimen that is about 4" long that I can pick up for free. I don't want to miss this opportunity, but I also want what is best for the fish and my current tank inhabitants. Water parameters are as follows: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Specific Gravity 1.025, PH 8.3, Temp 80, appx. 110 lbs live rock, 5" DSB. Current inhabitants: Clown Tang - Acanthurus lineatus (Only about 4-5" now, but moving to a new 300 gal tank that is being slowly pieced together, and should be ready within the year) Magenta Dottyback - Pseudochromis porphyreus Ocellaris Clownfish - Amphiprion ocellaris Schauinsland's Sand Perch - Parapercis schauinslandi Yellow-tail Damsel - Chrysiptera parasema 4 Chromis - Chromis viridis Yellow Watchman Goby - Cryptocentrus cinctus, with a symboint shrimp, in this case a Tiger Pistol Shrimp - Alpheus bellulus Blue Damsel - Chrysiptera cyanea Skunk Cleaner Shrimp - Lysmata amboinensis 3 Scarlet Hermit Crabs - Paguristes cadenati Two Nassarius Snails - One is most likely Nassarius distortus, but I haven't been able to identify the other down to the species level 3 Turbo Snails Red Bali Starfish - Fromia milleporella Spotted Linckia Starfish (bonus hitchhiker!) - Linckia multiflora Bubble Coral and Elegance Coral that were freebies out of the live rock bin at my LFS My main questions/concerns are will this fish coexist with all of these fish/invertebrates, at least for the short term, which at this point should be at most one year? My biggest worries would be the cleaner shrimp, the hermits, and the tiger pistol shrimp. Also, if I decide not to move this fish into the new 300 gal tank, could it live a happy life in the 100 with probably a few of the other fish (Clown Tang e.g.) transferred to the new tank? Numerous sources cite that the minimum tank size for this trigger is 75 gallons, but of course this is only the minimum. <The Xanthichthys Triggerfishes are one of the few that are considered relatively safe with invertebrates, quoting from Scott Michael's Reef Aquarium Fishes book. Shrimp would be the main concern here, and they likely would be at risk if the triggerfish isn't well fed. They are also least likely to rearrange the aquarium decor. On the downside, this genus of triggerfish are on the shy side and do much better in larger systems. They have also been known to be jumpers and spit water, so protection by means of a glass top is necessary for both the fish and lighting fixtures. Do look here, and read related FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/xanthichthys/index.htm> How much trouble can their ever growing teeth become? Is a varied diet including hard shelled shrimp enough to keep them worn down, or is there some other trick you could share? <Hard shell shrimp are fine but do read FAQ's here on feeding. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trigfdgfaqs.htm> On a related note, I frequently see the descriptor "decorative" or "ornamental shrimp", but I haven't seen any specific species of shrimp that are labeled as such. Would the cleaner or the tiger pistol be considered "ornamental shrimp"? <Mmm more in terms of Cleaner Shrimp, Coral Banded Shrimp, etc.> Thanks again for everything you guys do, I cannot tell you enough how much you have aided me in my hobby thus far. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, David

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>>

Trigger Update and Some New Questions...Stocking/Compatibility - 08/06/06 Hi Crew! <<Howdy!>> First, I have some good news to report:  Our blue throat triggers that we wrote about a while back are now in the main tank (for the past two weeks) and seem to be doing really well. <<Yippee!>> The fish seem happy and are very active, eat like crazy and don't bother their tank mates.  Yeah!  (Thanks again Eric R. for all of your help!) <<Hee!  Tis me again! ...and you're very welcome!>> Now, for the new issue: <<Okay>> Long story but it ends like this:  Someone had a reef tank that completely crashed and they were unable to care for the fish (tank was without circulation for almost 24 hours, temp at 92 F, two dead fish in tank which probably raised the ammonia). <<Only two?>> So, we rescued the remaining (barely) live fish and put them in our Q-tank to see if they would recover before we could get them new homes. <<Smart>> Sad story turns good for most of the fish including two very young Percula clowns, a Juv. Emperor Angel, and a small adult Majestic Angel.  They seem happy and healthy now.  Unfortunately the fish in the worst shape was the Purple Tang which is still not eating after two weeks!  All of the fish are in the same Q-tank, but the poor Tang just seems to tread water and isn't doing much else.  We have tried all kinds of different food - various flake, frozen, live, Nori (soaked in garlic, or Selcon) but nothing seems to work. <<Mmm, if this fish doesn't recover/feed it won't be due to your lack of trying>> At first he was nearly completely faded and just leaned against the side of the tank barely breathing.  Now, his color has improved a great deal and he looks pretty good.  But he's not active at all.  We really don't want him to die, but know if he doesn't eat soon, he will.  (We're dropping the temp in the Q-tank from the usual 80F to 78F to slow down his metabolism).  Is there anything you can recommend to get him to eat? <<I think you've done/are doing all you can...is up to the tang at this point.  Keep offering food daily, optimize water conditions...time will tell>>>> This story leads me to my next and final issue for today: We did not plan on adding any more fish after the Blue Throat Triggers, but we have grown attached to these fish and have reconsidered finding them new homes. <<I see>> Our friend will put the Majestic and the Purple Tang in their reef, if he makes it, but we're considering keeping and putting the Percs and the Emperor Angel in our main display tank.  We have no idea what is considered too many fish in a reef aquarium. <<Highly variable...many factors to consider (system size/filtration, adult fish size, species, environmental considerations/constraints, etc.) It seems there are so many factors that can make a difference, so we are hoping you can tell us if we are about to go over our capacity in the 7 foot long 260 gal tank: <<Mmm...I'll give it a go...>> The current inhabitants are: Pair of Blue-throat Triggers (Male is approx. 7' and female is 6') 1 Naso Tang (about 4.5') 1 Yellow Tang (4') 1 Blue Hippo Tang (4') 1 Kole Tang (3.5') 1 Coral Beauty (3') 2 Firefish (2' each) 2 Purple Firefish (2.5') 1 Mandarin (2.5)'¦but really fat! 2 Tomato Clowns (2.5 and 2') [moving them to a breeder tank soon] And: 3 Cleaner shrimp 2 Fire shrimp Lots of hermits Emerald crab Various Corals 3 clams All fish seem to get along except the Tomato clowns which are really territorial. <<Indeed...only fish I've ever had "draw blood" was a clown fish>> We are planning to move them to a 29 gallon breeder tank with live rock and sand and the anemone they host in. <<Excellent>> They have been laying eggs regularly and with any luck we can try raising the fry. <<I'd like to recommend you get a copy of the book by Joyce Wilkerson re (http://www.fishlore.com/clownfishesbook-wilkerson.htm)>> The main display reef has about 250 pounds of live rock, 40 gallon sump with LR - ASM G3 skimmer - Aqua 25W UV - 3x250W DE Metal Halide/2x80W T5 - CPR Aquafuge -- Kalk Reactor - and we are about to add another 20L refugium to the system. <<...? 20 liters or 20 gallons?>> Do we have enough room to add the Emperor (knowing the zoos could be at risk).  Would this put us over the capacity? <<The Naso and Hippo tangs will grow to be big, beefy fish...and the Naso may even outgrow this system in time.  But what you propose could work for a while>> Would the Emperor bother my other fish? <<Hmm, coming in last like it is...likely all will be fine>> Thanks as always for your advice. <<As always...happy to assist>> -Pam and Rob <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Adding another fish, Blue-jaw Triggers (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) - 02/06/07 Hi Bob and crew. <Crew here!  Mich with you tonight!> I have a 125G FOWLR and some polyps. About 100-125 lbs of live rock. I have one Red Sea Sailfin Tang (4in) one Scribbled Angel (3-4in) one Cinnamon Clown one Christmas Wrasse One See-through Goby one Green Mandarin six Yellow Tail Damsels. My fish are doing great, but I have always wanted a trigger. My faves are Clown and Picasso but I don't want to risk their aggression.  I have settled on the Blue-jaw.  I do have two reservations.  One, I think my tank may be overstocked with the addition of the trigger. <If your nitrates aren't already elevated, I think this would be a fine addition.> Two, I have read that they are very easily frightened and spend a lot of time hiding. <Blue-jaw Triggers (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) can be a little shy and may spend a good deal of time hiding when they are first introduced, but typically come around to become a more social member of the community.>   I wouldn't want to add a fish that I will rarely see. <Understandable.  May be a problem initially, but I think in the long term will be ok> What do you say? <Hey! Hey! This was made in the USA?> Thanks <You're welcome!  -Mich> P.S., If you think the trigger is a bad idea, what fish would you recommend that will fit well into my community, or am I done? <I think you have made a good choice!>

Adding another fish, Blue-jaw Triggers (Xanthichthys auromarginatus)  2/7/07 <Mich here again!> Thanks again for a timely reply. <Welcome!> You guys are great. <We try.> If I do end up adding the trigger, can I add anymore small fish, and if yes, what would be your choices? <I would proceed slowly here.  Take one thing at a time.  Add the trigger and see what happens.  You don't want to push your filtration or  psychologically crowd the tank.  With any possible future additions I would be thinking about where the fish tends to spend its' time, i.e. is it a swimmer, a bottom dweller, a percher etc., behavior type issues.  Look at the typically behaviors of the other fish in your system and think about where a small fish might fit in.  Don't forget about compatibility issues here also.  You don't want to provide live food in this instance!  Patience here my friend. -Mich>  

Crosshatch... trigger, Vlamingi tang incomp.  7/9/07 Hey guys, how's it going? Good I hope. So here's my question. I have a 155 bow front established for about 6 yrs. For the last 3 years I have 2 Vlamingi Tangs <Neat species, but need more room...> and for about a year I have a male Crosshatch Trigger. They have all gotten along very well. No problems during feedings or any other aggressive behavior. Well yesterday I had the luck of coming across a female Crosshatch, she was smaller than my male so I jumped on the opportunity to get her. Well so far they are getting along perfect, but now the male crosshatch is acting very aggressively towards the one Vlamingi. I can only assume that he is a male, since they are both young there hasn't been any way to tell. My question is, is this normal behavior for a Crosshatch or just one male showing his dominance to another? And do you think it will subside in time? Thank you. Jay Uzzalinno <These more open-water species are indeed territorial... and this is way too small a space psychologically... Maybe adding a couple of "built up" arrangement of rock ("bommies") will alleviate this agonistic behavior for a time... block the line of sight... Pile them well, and high... to the surface if possible; and either start saving for a much larger system, or plan to trade the Tangs in. 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.>

Male Blue Jaw Triggerfish'¦Wants Female? -- 09/08/07 Good morning and thank you as always for your wonderful site. <<Hi Jeanne'¦we're all glad you like it>> I hope this one is an easy question. <<Hmm'¦is there such a thing in this hobby? Easy, maybe'¦simple, never'¦ But I digress'¦[grin]>> I have a small (5") male Xanthichthys auromarginatus (I have had him about 3 months) in my 150 gallon reef tank. <<Wonderful fish'¦ I kept a male/female pair in a 375g display for a number of years>> Lots of zoos, leathers, mushrooms, a couple of Crocea clams -only one coral banded shrimp and one large Sally Lightfoot crab and large Purple lobster, because the stupid --and not at all shy, may I add--Blue Hamlet ate all the other shrimp. <<Mmm, not the fault of the fish'¦is what a Blue Hamlet does (will happily gobble down small fishes too!)'¦as research 'before purchase' would bear out>> He is such a sweetheart that I would like to get a female Blue Jaw Trigger. <<Triggerfishes are quite intelligent and seem to develop distinct personalities'¦very easy to see how a fish-keeper becomes attached. He may seem 'sweet' (do be cautious if hand-feeding), but adding another of the same species, even though female, may not be possible>> Can she be added at this point without him acting excessively aggressive to her? <<Probably not'¦at least not by just 'dropping her in' the system. The pair I had were special ordered as such'¦likely collected as a pair'¦subsequently quarantined/held together right up to their introduction to the display'¦and even so, there was the occasional nip-and-chase. If you are willing to go to the trouble'¦ I suggest you set up a holding/quarantine tank of 'at least' 29g (bigger the better) with some bits of PVC pipe or fittings large enough for the female to hide in. Place the female in this tank first then add the male and watch closely for a while, and be ready to intervene if necessary. Unless the aggression escalates to the point where one or the other is being damaged, keep the fish here and watch them closely for a few days allowing them to become 'familiar' with one another. Maybe you'll get lucky and the fish will 'pair-up''¦but do also be prepared to rescue/return the female>> He ignores even the smallest fish--Pajama cardinals and the Royal Gramma and Blackcap Basslet, but one of his own kind may provoke a different response. <<Indeed, this fish is quite compatible with most inverts/other peaceable fishes in my experience'¦quite 'reef friendly' in my opinion. But conspecifics can be a whole different matter'¦especially so once a fish becomes 'established' as yours surely has by now>> Thank you very much in advance, Jeanne <<A pleasure to assist. EricR>> Need some advice on my fish list for my 150-gallon Pull The Trigger? (Considering a Triggerfish in Stocking Plan)  11/26/07 Hi there everyone, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I've been reading through the website and I must say I've learned an awful lot. <Glad to hear that! We have some cool people who work very hard to bring it to you every day!> I'm going to set up my first saltwater tank and I need some help with my fish list. The tank is 150 gallons and measures 48" long by 24" wide by 30" high. It's going to be a future reef tank lightly stocked with LPS and fish. After doing some reading on Tangs I've decided to stay away from them, as I've learned they really need a six-foot tank to thrive. <I think that you made a responsible decision!> Anyway, here are the fish I'm hoping to have: 1 Bluejaw Trigger (Xanthichthys auromarginatus), 2 common Clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris), 1 Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani), 1 Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia), and 1 Coral Beauty Angel (Centropyge bispinosus). What do you think of these fish for this tank? I'd greatly appreciate any feedback and any other fish suggestions you may have. Thanks in advance, Shannon O'Rourke <Well, Shannon- I think that you put considerable effort into researching and developing this stocking list! My only reservation (always seems to be one, right?) is the Trigger. Although this species is certainly one of the more "passive" Triggerfish (an oxymoron, huh?), it can display some aggressive tendencies on occasion, and it does have much of the same dental equipment as the more nasty ones! There is potential for this fish to nip or become more aggressive with age. My friend had one that started out as a perfect gentleman, but grew into a holy terror, taking out a few tankmates along the way. On the other hand, I've seen others that were excellent citizens, living for years in community aquariums without incident. It's kind of a dice roll, really. If you are planning on keeping shrimp, I'd say that your odds of ending up with an all-you-can eat shrimp buffet will increase as the Trigger grows! Don't keep 'em with shrimp! Bottom line is that you could include the Trigger in your plan if you're willing to accept the potential risks that the fish poses. Do also keep in mind that this Trigger can hit 8 plus inches in size, and the need for larger quarters as the fish grows must be taken into consideration. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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