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FAQs about Xanthichthys Triggerfishes, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related FAQs: Xanthichthys Triggers 1, Xanthichthys Triggers 2, & FAQs on Xanthichthys Identification, Xanthichthys Behavior, Xanthichthys Compatibility, Xanthichthys Selection, Xanthichthys Systems, 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

Re: Blue throat Trigger Fish Losing weight Bob (unfortunately not losing weight) and Angel comp.      1/24/12
Bob, So I kept the Trigger in quarantine for three weeks. I treated him with Prazi. He ate fine put weight on. I put him in my main display yesterday and now he looks like a Ethiopian again! He freaked out over my blue face and he is not even bulling him. I am hoping when I upgrade tanks this weekend that he eats better.
<Me too>
 I have had lots of triggers and this by far the first time I have ever seen a Trigger act like this. Is this normal?
<Not normal>
He's like 5". All my shrimp, crabs, and snails are alive.  From whats left of my reef that my blue face made me get rid of. I read that its normal that he wont eat them, but damn.
<Mmm, no; Balistids will/do eat these>
Be a trigger and kill the crustaceans! I love my Blue Face, but its starting to get old with his aggressiveness.
<Try more room>
He is getting a extra two feet of swim space so hopefully he will take a chill pill. Are Scribbled Angelfish as aggressive as Blue face and Emperors?
<Are not nearly so... esp. tank-bred individuals>
 Is that pretty much what to expect with Large angels? Been thinking of switching Angels. Live Aquaria got a female for $199! Thanks for the all the info, Jim
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue throat Trigger Fish Losing weight Bob, not!   1/25/12

Bob, I have read many of your articles.  A Cruiser and A Bruiser, The Clown Trigger, Balistoides conspicillum. That's my favorite by far. Very funny and informative. I truly think Disney could make a movie out of it. I think I am going to put him back in quarantine and sell him. He needs to be just dart fish, Chromis for a while. I ordered another one, hopefully this one did not get neutered.  Thanks, Jim
<Be chatting! BobF>

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>

Crosshatch Triggerfish, fdg.  2/26/10
<Hello Terry>
Would like to think you for all your great information!
<Thank you for thanking!>
I picked up a 6" male Crosshatch Trigger fish from a LFS, I placed him in a 55 gal quarantine tank for a week before introducing him into my 180 gal.
<Ok, but I would go two weeks here if you can>
My question is on feeding habits, I read that three times a day in small portions is the proper feeding routine.
<Smaller, more often is better, if you are able to do this. If not, then these are fine with one feed a day>
I feed mine a couple silversides in the morning and a couple at night. I think he needs to be eating more but after a couple he seems to have no interest.
<This is plenty, and I would be varying this diet. These can be soaked in vitamins before feeding as well>
I've tried many different types of meaty foods, he will sometimes eat krill but mostly only silversides.
<They can get a taste for what they prefer, but starve him for a couple of days and he will take whatever you offer>
Have you guys had any experience with this type of fish? <Yes> What do you think about converting him to a healthy pellet food diet, if so how should I go by doing this?
<I would do this, with New Life Spectrum pellets, as part of your feeding regime. Start feeding some to your other fish, and he will take them, guaranteed>.
I also try feeding him algae strips but haven't had any luck so far,
<He will also take this eventually, when he is 'shown the way' by the others. This is easily soaked with vitamins as well>
he is very active and fat with great coloring,
<He sounds lovely!>
thanks Terry
<Cheers, Simon>
Re Crosshatch Triggerfish fdg. Update  3/1/10

<Hello Terry>
Well I must say I didn't have to starve him for long, he has already started eating Omega One flakes with garlic and the pellets,
<there you go!>
I've even seen him eat algae strip right off of the clip. <Yes, he will enjoy this> Would you recommend that I still keep meaty foods in his diet or just stick with the pellets, flakes and algae strips?
<Oh yes, I would for sure - a variety is best IMO>
Thanks again! Terry
<No problem, Simon>

Blue-chinned Triggerfish... not feeding, no data of use  8/16/09
Hi and thanks in advanced for helping me out with my problem. I have a 7" Blue-chinned Triggerfish that I got my local fish store three or four months ago. He seemed shy at the store but he was also with some aggressive fish so I figured he was scared and giving them some space. When I got him into my 90 gallon he was doing fine and seemed to have no problems except he wasn't an aggressive eater and didn't even try to get food sometimes.
<Thus far not atypical behavior>
After he got there I added a small porcupine puffer and a 2 ft Zebra moray
<... this system is packed psychologically with the life you list>
but he didn't care and was fine. 2 months later I added some powerheads inside that tank that may have been to strong. After those were put in was around the time he started hiding in his cave all the time, which is very deep in
live rock, and refused to eat at all. They were in there for a month before I thought that they were the reason my trigger was hiding, so I took them out.
Its been two weeks and he's still refusing to eat or come out of his cave.
The only reason I know he's not dead is because sometimes I try to feed him and every day I see that he's still in the cave. When I look into the cave he's not such and it doesn't look like he's sick at all. His eyes are clear and alert, his gills are fine, his fins aren't tearing or bleeding, and he doesn't have any bacterial infection that I can see. I've researched most of the main diseases and none of them fits his problems that I know of. When I researched the triggerfish I knew that they weren't the most outgoing fish but nothing mentioned them hiding for months. Even my eels don't do that!
<Plural?... eelS?>
Can you help please because the tank feels empty without him. He's in a 90 gallon tank with a 6-7" bird wrasse, a 5" Clark's Clownfish, a 6" porcupine puffer that hides all day,
<Also strange>
a 1' chainlink moray, and a 2.5' zebra moray eel that does get a little feisty at feeding time but never fully bites any of the fish. Thanks! -Alex Pottebaum
<Well... All would be better if you had a larger volume/system... but the feeding may be a matter of what you're offering; which you don't list, aspect/s of water quality; which you don't state any test/s for... Please read on WWM re the needs for each of the species you list... Bob Fenner>
P.S. Thanks again for helping me out. I had problems earlier with my eels and WWM was a great help!
Re: Blue-chinned Triggerfish... fdg.; lack thereof... psych. bullying   8/18/09

This is Alex again. Thanks for the help and sorry for forgetting to list the information you need. I'm currently feeding the fish frozen Rob's Fish Food and frozen shrimp, and we do a 1/3 water change every 2-3 weeks except for one time it got to be 6 weeks because we were on vacation (which was months ago), but we did two water changes that week to make up for the mistake.
The clownfish and the zebra moray might be part of the problem too because the clownfish is a bully to the wrasse and might have been bullying the trigger and the eel
just recently has been very active at feeding time and is starting to mouth the fish and trying to eat my hand! I read some of the forums and could it be parasites and if so what can I do to help him out?
<Highly unlikely a/the real issue here is parasitic... IS psychological...>
We're also thinking of getting a new, larger tank which will probably help.
<Of a certainty; yes>
Also if it's not to much of a problem could you help me out with the puffer because I really don't think he's supposed to hide all the time.
<This fish is hiding for the same reason... likely the boisterous Clownfish...>
I used to have another just like him and he was everywhere! Thanks so much and sorry for not providing as much help as I could have! - Alex
<Not a worry Alex. Thank you for sharing. BobF>
Re: Blue-chinned Triggerfish, fdg., beh...    8/24/09

Alex again with more problems now. I got the Blue-chin Triggerfish in a 30 quarantine tank by himself to see if he'll eat in there or not.
<Mmmm, Alex, I wouldn't do this... i.e. keep this, a Xanthichthys species in such a small volume, isolated. Highly unlikely to become adjusted, feed there>
When I was trying to get him out of tank he was having mini seizures where he'd randomly attack anything and run into the wall and start shaking.
<I can imagine myself doing about the same if the roof came off the house, some giant creature with a net was chasing me...!>
I turned the lights off and had a blanket on the quarantine tank for two days and he's still refusing to come out! Any suggestions on how to get him to be more assertive or ,more importantly, how to get him to eat?
<... remove whomever is bothering this fish in its display/main system... likely the puffer... Get/use a "training" fish (the best are some of the more outgoing Damsels... my choice? A member of the genus Abudefduf... to "show" the Xanthichthys what food is, be more bold behaviorally... and place some live ghost/glass shrimp in the tank... and daily, an open shellfish of small size>
P.S. The puffer is out more but still not a whole lot. When the quarantine tank is free that will become the Clownfishes new home so that the other fish aren't getting bullied.
<I see. Bob Fenner>

Xanthichthys auromarginatus/freshwater killer... fdg. and turtle incomp.   2/4/09 Hi crew. It has been a while since i sent an email. The lionfish survived the ich along with the eels because i was able to acquire some quinine sulfate from fishpharmacy.com. anyways, I bought a blue throat trigger on Saturday (2.5" for $30) and he is now in the quarantine tank. (i cleaned and disinfected the tank from before, let it sit, then rinsed with hot water, then used fish safe, then filled it again) anyways, the trigger is starting to swim around the tank and look at his reflection and such, but will not notice food. i cracked a clam and a mussel and put it in the tank but he ignored it. i also tried some freeze dried krill and some frozen silversides. How long before you think he will start eating. <Maybe a few days...> all parameters are fine, and i assume it is because he has only been in the tank for a couple days. Should i even feed him now, or wait until the end of the week or until Wednesday/Thursday for him to get more comfortable? <I'd try some food daily> He doesn't show any signs of ich yet, but the place i go to shares water so im almost expecting it now. (6th ave and Clement snafransisco aquarium and fish. have you heard/ been to this place?). <Mmm, maybe. I get out and about in towns I visit...> I also had a question about my 180 gallon freshwater tank. I have a 12" clown knife, 6.5" black ghost knife, a king tiger Pleco, tiretrack eel, 2 silver dollars (one is 5.5" diameter, the other 3.5") and a soft shelled turtle (5" diameter). <Mmm... a tenable mix... turtles are to put it mildly, a bit "dirty"... and often scratch fishes getting about, will eat them if they can> I had 2 parrot cichlids, they were ha[[y and swam around together, but this morning i come upstairs to see them both lying dead on the bottom of the tank, half eaten, I am suspecting the turtle, <Me too> because the smaller silver dollar has a bite mark that is too small for both knifes mouths. I am looking for a home for the turtle. My question is what would you recommend for my tank, now that i have lost a the parrots, and the turtle? I'm thinking an Oscar, and some other fish. <Mmm, not a good choice... too rambunctious for the Eel and BGK... Perhaps some Juraparoids, larger Barbs or Rainbowfishes...> They will only be in the tank until mid June, then i am upgrading them to a 250 gallon "hot tub". something is broken with and it has been sitting in our back yard, <Neat!> so my dad said i could fix it up over the summer and use it if i want. the jets still work, and so does the light, so all i need is a good filter or two, and some general supplies to fix/make a new hood and I'm set. How long do you think the clown knife will last in a 250? <Indefinitely with regular maintenance, water changes...> He seems content in the 180 but i know he is going to grow in the next 5-6 months. Then i am going to use my 180 for the lionfish, 2 eels and blue throat trigger when they get bigger. Will that be enough tank for those fish? <What species of eels?> I am thinking i will still have to upgrade to a bigger tank, and it will be safer/better for the fish. <Agreed> Anyways, thanks for the info, Will <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Xanthichthys auromarginatus/freshwater killer... feeding and Notopterus comp. -- 2/4/09 Thank you for the email, After sending it, i realized that blue throat triggers eat the smaller foods like mysis shrimp and brine shrimp. (are those the same thing?). <Nope> Anyways i put some frozen brine shrimp in (enriched, im getting some Kent Zoë today) and he swam around eating it. <Ah good> To answer your question the two eels are echidna nebulosa and Gymnothorax richardsonii. they are small right now, at about eight inches, and i vary their diet with frozen silversides, live mussels, clams, and crabs, and frozen or raw crabs and frozen or raw shrimp. <Sounds good> On the freshwater topic, I was just curious if a protein skimmer would work on a freshwater tank, or if one would need a skimmer. <Mmm, not really and no...> I am not planning to ad one or anything, i am just curious. Also, when the clown knife gets bigger, would it be wise to separate him from the king tiger Pleco, and the black ghost knife? <Yes> Do you think the tire track eel and the silver dollars will be safe in the long run too or is it best to separate them when he gets to a certain length? <Could be inhaled with a big "Whomp" some evening...> thanks for all the info, will <Welcome. BobF>

Refugium skimmer use/ Bluethroat Trigger feeding   12/14/08 Hi again guys and gals <Hello again Si!> Just to let you know after a long debate I finally got myself a refugium built to fit my tank <Great.> after lots of research and chatting to the people who know, I have been told with the refugium on the tank that I wouldn't need to use a skimmer on the tank? <Hmm, I do not subscribe to this. A skimmer and refugium are both tools for increasing your water quality, using both makes it just that much better.> Oh well there goes the idea of skimmer as the overflow inlet, but as you previously said Co2 problems makes sense to. I'm going to let the refugium establish (once it arrives) and keep a check on the parameters of my tank to see if it works out (fingers crossed and toes), got miracle mud at the ready and a nice bloom of feather Caulerpa and red grape algae to put in. <These macros will generally compete, with the former likely to win out in time.> Oh well see how it all pans out. Just hope the new pair of Bluethroat triggers appreciate it :) Any ideas on feeding these pair? <Many!> Been in only two days, they've come out from hiding but haven't touched a scrap as yet, the female is definitely the brave one, is it just persistence and different food trials :(. <Part of it. Do read here, much useful information re feeding triggers, Sufflamen albicaudatus in particular: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trigfdgfaqs.htm. They are fairly timid for a trigger, give it time.> Thanks for the feedback once again, ever grateful Si <Welcome, Scott V.>

Trouble getting Xanthichthys triggers to feed - 09/02/08 Hi <Hello Glen.> I received three blue throat triggers and one male cross hatched trigger collected and shipped directly from Hawaii. One male and one female blue throat are in quarantine together in a 55 gallon. The third also a male is in a 55 gallon quarantine tank, and the crosshatched is in a 75 gallon quarantine along with a 30 inch Zebra moray received with the triggers. I hope to keep the pair together in a 220 FOWLR, the single in a 180 reef, and the crosshatch in a 180 FOWLR. <Tank sizes should work. Larger tanks with groups of these triggers would be even better.> A week later and I cannot get any of the triggers to do more than inspect food spit it out and than return to blowing around the sand bed. The eel also shows no interest. I know that generally the larger zebra eels are more problematic to induce to feed. I never however, had problems getting triggers to eat before. Except for the eel the others are busy swimming and exploring but not eating. The crosshatch is about 10 inches, the others are a bit smaller and the female is the smallest at about 6 inches. I actually expected the triggers to be smaller, but this is what I have. So far I have tried, prawn, clam, squid, scallops, chopped shrimp, and various dry foods. Any suggestions, I am not so comfortable with them going on two weeks since their last meal (assuming they ate sometime before being shipped). <You tried rather large food items, but these two species Xanthichthys mento and Xanthichthys auromarginatus mostly feed on larger plankton organisms transported by the current and gravity down the reef slopes in nature. Krill, Mysis, large Artemia, feeder shrimps and similar small crustaceans between a quarter of an inch to one inch would be more adequate. Sometimes they even eat small jellyfish (in nature). Personally, I'd start with live food (e.g. ghost shrimp, live Mysis) and when a type is accepted, I'd use the same type of food frozen mixed with the live food and decrease the live portion with time. I'd feed these species at least two times a day. If they have settled in the future, they might accept the food items you tried earlier, which would be good in order to reach a more varied diet. Freshly caught Crosshatch triggers and their cousins sadly often waste away, because they refuse to feed in captivity, once too much of their muscle tissue is gone, it usually is too late. So, I wish you good luck with them. For the Zebra moray I'd try a live crab or crayfish if available. But this animal is much less endangered in terms of starving. Also check the water quality. Good water quality generally improves the feeding response. In addition check http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/xanthichthys/faqs.htm > Thank you in advance and thank you also for all your great work. Glen. <Good luck. Marco.>

Sargassum Trigger Fish  - 07/18/2006 Hi guys/girls <<Hi.>> Quick question for you if I may :) <<Go for it.>> I have a Sargassum Trigger Fish. <<Cool.>> I have had him for a few months now.  Slowly over this time he has become progressively skinnier. Not really skinny, he eats a huge amount, but just does not put on weight. I am just thinking he may have worms. <<An internal parasite of some kind is likely.>> What would be the best thing to worm him with? <<I use Levamisole, a commonly available pig de-wormer.>> We don't have a huge range of meds over here either, can you just use cat wormer? <<I'm not familiar with cat meds.>> How much? How do you get it into them? Soak some freeze dried krill in a solution of the Levamisole and tank water.  Do this for a few days.>> Thought of mixing with food, but he tends to only eat whole things like mussel, white bait etc. <<See above.>> Any ideas?? There is a photo of him (attached) when I first got him. Thanks again
<<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Questionable Aquarium Service...Trying To Do What's Needed - 09/22/06 Dear Wet Web Crew, <<Hello>> My employer has a beautiful 200-gallon salt-water tank, and has a tank service that comes in and cares for this tank. <<Ok>> I have a serious lack of confidence in this company because I did a little research on your site and they have made many really bad mistakes. <<Some do yes, but doesn't mean this one is "bad".  Have you been able to talk to other/previous customers of this company?  Have they done anything to make you feel uncomfortable with their level of service?>> First, they got the chemicals wrong in the tank, which killed most of the fish. <<Ahh...I see...sounds like you may have good reason for your concerns...>> Then, when they replaced the fish, they brought us 5 crabs, a blue-throat Triggerfish, 3 assorted angelfish <<Mmm...>> (in separate bags. NOT introduced at the same time), and a pair of ocellaris (among others).  Of course, the Trigger ate the crabs immediately.  I am an administrative assistant with little/no knowledge of fish, and have been tasked with taking care of their diet, and making sure they get what they need. <<Sounds like you need to start doing some reading/researching my friend.  Google searches on our site and the NET re the species names will yield much information>> So I need a little advice from professionals that actually care about the fish.  After the initial eating of the crabs, and the disappearance of one of the smaller Angelfish (which after reading on your site I found out why <<...?>>), the blue-throat trigger has started exhibiting odd behavior.  He lies down at the bottom of the tank on his right side, and just lays very still for long periods on time. <<Maybe not all that "odd" after all.  Is there live rock in this tank? (should be if there isn't)...Does this tank have any type of decor/rock work?  These triggers will very often "rest" in a hole or crevice in the reef during the day, and definitely at night.  If the tank is not suitably aquascaped the trigger may be merely "resting" on the bottom of the tank>> He is still eating well (They get frozen shrimp, the cubed kind once a day, and Formula 2 the blue-green algae variety flakes twice daily). <<Do look in to obtaining some New Life Spectrum Marine pellets and a frozen "Angel" food formulated specifically for their care.  Feed these AND the frozen shrimp, with the flakes, twice daily>> His color has faded a bit, but he doesn't have any spot or slime on him, and he hasn't rearranged the tank in a while- he used to do that all the time.  I read one of your entries about one having similar behavior in a 20 gallon tank, and you said the tank was too small but I don't think that is the case here- the tank is 200 gallons. <<Agreed...but that doesn't mean there aren't more/other environmental factors at play here...such as water chemistry or the "design" of the tank itself>> Could he be malnourished or ill? <<Maybe...the trigger needs several small feedings of meaty foods daily.  The Spectrum pelleted food and the frozen shrimp fed at least twice a day will help.  For even better nourishment of ALL the fish, consider getting/soaking the food in Selcon and/or Vita-Chem a couple times a week>> And is there some product or variety of food I should tell my boss to get for him? <<Ah yes!...as explained>> Cordially, Jane <<I want to help Jane, do write back if you need further clarification on anything...and try to give me as much information about the system as you can (filtration/maintenance/aquascaping (or lack of), etc.).  Regards, Eric Russell>> Re: Questionable Aquarium Service...Trying To Do What's Needed -- 10/11/06 Dear Eric, <<Hello Jane>> I just wanted to thank you for your excellent advice. <<Was my pleasure to provide>> It has been about two weeks since you emailed me with the suggestions.  We invested in New Life Spectrum Marine Pellets, and we also purchased a lot more coral decorations to go on the live rock. <<This pelleted food is an excellent staple for your fish>> We hired a company to change out the coral and clean the tank/maintain the filtration system every two weeks. <<Excellent...but I do hope you/someone 'monitors' the tank on a daily basis>> They have been instructed to bring in lots of smaller shells and other such toys for the occupants. <<Mmm...do be careful not to create detritus traps>> Our Bluethroat Triggerfish has perked up considerably; I think he may have been suffering from boredom. <<Indeed...these are intelligent and personable fish...and somewhat 'shy' at times.  It's never good to place fish in a 'plain glass box' devoid of proper structure/hiding places...is very stressful>> All the fish seem to be a little brighter and a lot more active. <<Good signs>> Thanks again for your excellent advice and support. <<I'm glad it proved useful...thank you for the follow-up>> Peace and Blessings, Jane <<Regards, EricR>>
Finicky Sargassum Trigger -- 09/23/06 Hello from Alabama, <<Greetings from South Carolina>> Thank you for the wonderful site and all of the great information, my tank has improved greatly after implementing many of your ideas over the past year. <<Is a collective effort...you're quite welcome>> I do have a question that I couldn't find much info on though.  I purchased a 5" Sargassum Trigger one week ago, I had a problem with my quarantine and after one day I had to put it into the main tank ( a 265 FOWLR).  The fish looks great and is very active, which surprised me because I have a Blue Throat Trigger that hid for the first several days, but now swims constantly.  I assumed this fish would do the same. <<Indicative of the difference in species/personality>> Even though it is active it hasn't eaten anything this whole week. <<Troubling...even more so if this fish has not eaten since capture.  Did you see the fish eat at the LFS before purchase?>> I have tried pellets, flakes, frozen shrimp, frozen Mysis, and even live guppies and ghost shrimp. <<Hmm...is a planktonic feeder...though according to FishBase they will also dine on crabs and urchins>> It doesn't show any interest in food at all. <<Not good>> Do you have any ideas of what else I could try and do you know how long he can go without eating.  Any help will be appreciated. <<The fish can go a surprisingly long time without feeding, but not eating for more than a week becomes worrisome.  If the problem were internal parasites I would expect the fish to have expired by now...the fact that it is still alive leaves "some" hope that this is a problem of acclimation/finding the right stimulus to get the fish to feed.  Perhaps you could try some fresh mussels/clams/oysters on the half-shell from your local grocery store. I have had success in the past getting finicky feeders to eat by offering (thawed) frozen glass worms (mosquito larvae).  Try soaking these in Selcon for a bit more enticement/nutritive value.  Another food you should try is Sweetwater Plankton.  This small soft bodied food (Daphnia actually) is a great "plankton" food.  Both of these will likely be appreciated by the Blue Throat as well>> Thank you, Jeremy <<Good luck.  EricR>>

Re: Finicky Sargassum Trigger (Refugium Plumbing) -- 09/28/06 First of all let me say thank you for your help with my triggerfish, the night I received your response he began eating the Mysis shrimp. <<Ah, super!>> He now will eat anything, but I am still trying to find the zooplankton since that is what they are more accustomed to. <<The Mysis are a good 'staple', but varying the diet is always better.  Both the Sweetwater Plankton (saltwater formula) and the New Life Spectrum pellets should be easy to find at many of the on-line vendors>> I now have another question. >>Okay>> I have been struggling keeping my nitrates below 20 ppm and I would like to be able to culture some copepods and things so I have decided to add a refugium after reading all the good reviews on them. <<Indeed...a very worthwhile addition to any system>> I have a 265 gallon tank with a sump and an AquaC EV-180, and about 150 lbs of live rock.  I have a 40 gallon Oceanic Trickle filter I am not using that I wanted to try and convert to a Refugium.   I have attached  a drawing of what I have in mind. <<I see it>> <Graphic not pasted here for space/dnld considerations... see Refugium Designs... RMF> My problem is that I am very restrained by the size of the stand I have and the space that I have. <<A very common tale>> Most people seem to have the space/height to drain from the tank to the 'fuge and then down to a sump.  I will have to have my sump and 'fuge on the same level with only about 2" height difference in the two. <<Could be fine...do ensure there is enough 'empty volume' left to handle the transient water volume when the pumps/power go off>> My plan is to have water flow from the tank to the sump and the 'fuge and then the 'fuge will overflow into the sump and be pumped back to the tank. <<That's how I do mine (375g display, 75g sump, 55g refugium)>> From experimenting in my garage I think I can only put about 150 gph through the 'fuge this way to keep it from overflowing (of course I could have powerheads in the 'fuge for better circulation in there). <<Flow-rate is determined by the size/number of throughputs...but 150 gph through this refugium should do fine>> I thought of adding another overflow and pump, but besides the added cost, I was afraid that would be too many variables (as far as keeping the system from overflowing), but maybe I am wrong. <<All comes down to not spilling more water in to the refugium than you can spill out of it in the same amount of time. I guess my questions are do you think the 150 gph would be enough for my tank to see a real benefit, and looking at the picture can you suggest a better way to get water through the fuge and to the sump. <<An emphatic 'yes!' to the first...and as for the second, I suggest you add a gate-valves to the pump output and to the refugium input to allow for flow adjustments and be able to 'shut-off' the refugium for maintenance.  And if these are 'hard' connections, you may also want to consider installing unions>> Sorry for the length of the email, and thank you in advance for all of your help. Jeremy <<No worries Jeremy, am happy to help.  Regards, EricR>>

Blue-Throat Trigger Not Eating  -- 05/03/07 Hi folks, <Hello.> Great site, recommend it to whoever will listen.   <Awesome.> I have a question about a blue-throat trigger. <...One of my favorites...> This is my second attempt at one of these fish and it is getting frustrating. <Well lets see if I can help you out.> For the record I have been keeping saltwater fish for over 15 years and this is my first attempt at a triggerfish.  I have a 5 year old majestic angel, a 7 year old swallowtail angel and a 7 year old Naso tang along with a few little guys to keep things hopping presently in a 90 gallon reef, <A bit on the crowded side but okay...> all are happy and fat with no aggression but now I figured I could try something new.  The first trigger died due to a bacterial infection that I couldn't get to in time but this second one is not visibly sick but still won't eat. <Blue throats tend to be a little more flighty/finicky...in general exhibit behavior atypical of how would expect a tiger to act. How long has it been?> He is about 3" long and in a 30 gallon quarantine tank with a few chunks of live rock, a skimmer, power head for movement and an AquaClear 500 hang-on filter.  There are a couple of other fish in there, just to keep it cycled.  I have checked all the normal water parameters, all is fine.  I have tried PE mysis, smaller mysis, flake, bloodworms, shaved shrimp, squid and clam - won't touch anything. <Wow, you have pulled out all the stops. I have a few more suggestions though; market scallops or mussels soaked in a nutritional supplement like Selcon.> Is the quarantine tank too small ?   <No seems adequate...for a quarantine.> The quarantine tank has had a small Pseudochromis and a coral beauty in it for a couple of years until recently when I nicely took a marine Betta because he had lateral line and Lymphocystis.   <Mmmm...with all these animals, yes quarantine tank is too small, quarantine tank should be just that....quarantine.> He has since been cured (  yes the lateral line too ) but I don't really have any place to move him so he is in the quarantine too.  Is he intimidating the trigger ?   <Perhaps, the specimen I have is extremely flighty; easily scarred.> There seems to be no aggression between the two, in fact they use the same cave at night.  Any ideas would be great.  I would hate to lose the trigger because of a screw up on my part.  I intended to move him into my 90 gallon reef after his quarantine period, which has been about 3 weeks.  But I don't want to do that if he is not eating because he will never get food in there with my other fish.   <Rob, how long has it been since the fish has not eaten? Thanks for your time, <Anytime...I look forward to your reply.> Rob in Syracuse, NY <Adam J in California.>

Re: Blue-throat trigger STILL not eating  -- 05/03/07 Hey Adam, <Welcome back Rob.> Thanks for the reply. <No problem.> I have not seen this trigger eat in 3 weeks. <Mmm...that is a little lengthy.> He doesn't seem to be losing a lot of weight but I can't figure out what he is eating. <This tank has other animals, how well established is it? Perhaps micro-crustaceans.> I have soaked all of the food offerings in Selcon. ( been using that stuff for years ) <Cool.> I ended up putting the trigger into my 90 gallon reef last night.  He hid for around a half an hour and then started exploring the tank.   <A good sign, mine is till rather reclusive almost a year later.> My majestic wasn't too happy but he got over it quickly.  I added some mysis and blood worms hoping that he might get the feeding idea from the feeding frenzy that occurs every time I put anything edible into that tank.  Nothing, in fact he hid.  He does seem to be more active in the larger tank but I want him to eat soon.   <I understand, I would also try to offer food just after the lights go off...in his direction with a turkey baster if you can get hold of one.> I am assuming that he will figure it out any day now, he has got to be hungry and with the other fish active and feeding, he has got to get it.  I have had other fish not eat in the past, but they didn't live this long or I figured out what they wanted.  I do not want to lose this fish, he is way too cool looking. Do you think I should just wait it out or should I take him back to the LFS? <Well I would ask the LFS what they were feeding him.> To be honest I don't know how much effort the LFS would put out for a fish that won't eat. <Not much.> Do you think I need to increase filtration?   I have a red sea skimmer, Fluval 404, a large emperor hang-on, UV sterilizer ( 15w ), 3 powerheads and about 95 lbs. of live rock and an inch of live sand. <Well I'm not a fan of canister filters on marine tanks, I prefer macro-algae refugiums.> So far I haven't had any big problems at all, at least for the last 3 years. Any advice would be appreciated. <A few more feeding suggestions, if an LFS has live brine or live mysids.. give them a try. I know that live brine and live foods aren't the best thing. and certainly not a long term option but it's better than nothing. Also try some meats that are more poignant to the sense of smell, mackerel, squid, along those lines.> Thank you, <Welcome.> Rob in Syracuse, NY <Adam still in SoCal.>

Sargassum Trigger...Adapting to Captive Life 3-30-08 Hi Crew, <<Key Kirk.>> I have a Sargassum Trigger set to arrive on Wednesday from an online company. <<Exciting.>> While I have kept several different Triggers successfully (Niger, Huma, Rectangle, even the dreaded Undy) in the past, I am a little nervous about my new addition. He will be the most expensive fish I have ever purchased, and the only Trigger I have kept that is considered somewhat challenging to keep in captivity. I often frequent the various message boards to learn, yet rarely see any info on this fish being kept. <<Yes, they are definitely a more elusive species to collect than the ones you mentioned above. Also you have to take into consideration that Xanthichthys are pelagic triggers relying heavily on zooplankton; thus they do not adapt as easily to captive life. I would quarantine for a minimum of a month and avoid a large variety of foods, feeding relatively small amounts multiple times daily. Try mysis, mysids, krill, clams, scallop meant and finely chopped meats of a marine origin.>> Tank is a fairly new 240 8x2x2, 160 lbs LR, 160lbs LS, custom sump with refugium, Aqua C EV 240, and Emperor Aquatics 40 watt UV, his new friends will be a juvi Sunset Wrasse, baby Niger, and Flame Angel. <<Watch for aggression between this animal and the existing niger.>> Just hoping for a little advice as to why this fish sometimes doesn't flourish in captivity. <<See here; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/xanthichthys/index.htm along with the linked FAQ's and my above listed notes.>> Thanks and best regards, <<Good luck to you and your trigger.>> Kirk

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
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