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FAQs on Clown Triggerfish Health

Related Articles: A Cruiser and A Bruiser, the Clown Trigger, Balistoides conspicillum, Triggerfishes (Family Balistidae), Red Sea Triggerfishes, Triggers of the Cook Islands

Related FAQs: The Clown Trigger 1, Clown Triggers 2, Clown Trigger Identification, Clown Trigger Behavior, Clown Trigger Compatibility, Clown Trigger Selection, Clown Trigger Systems, Clown Trigger Feeding, Clown Trigger Reproduction, Genus Balistoides Triggers: Balistoides Triggers, Balistoides Triggers 2, Balistoides Identification, Balistoides Behavior, Balistoides Compatibility, Balistoides Selection, Balistoides Systems, Balistoides Feeding, Balistoides Disease, Balistoides Reproduction, Triggerfishes in General: Triggerfishes in General, Identification, Selection, Selection 2, Compatibility, Behavior, Systems, Feeding, Diseases, Triggerfish Health 2, Reproduction,

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sick clown trigger       8/24/15
Hi again crew,
I have a clown trigger in a tank by itself in a 180 gallon pre drilled tank with a 40 gallon wet-dry sump. I am running both carbon and GFO.
<I'd drop this last>

Salinity is 1.020, ph 8.2, nitrate 20, nitrite and ammonia undetectable, temp 78 degrees. My clown trigger is roughly 6 inches long and i have had him for about two years. He has had two bumps under his mouth for most of that time.
<Perhaps a goiter issue>

My clown trigger has been acting increasingly worse over the past 4 day.
He went from eating well to not eating at all. His jaws appear swollen and when he attempts to bite food he appears to be choking. He shows some interest in the food but does not seem to be able to swallow. He is also breathing heavily and does not close his mouth. He has been acting more and more skittish as well and spends all day locked in the rock work. He
moves to different hiding locations occasionally. When he swims it appears to be normal, but it is rare. I have a 30 gallon tank that I can use as a hospital tank if needed. I have not been able to find any indications as to what i should treat. Please let me know anything I can do to help him. I have also attached a picture taken last night.
<What have you been feeding this fish? I suspect (initially) Thiaminase poisoning.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick clown trigger       8/24/15
I noticed that there was an email sent to my other account that was not allowed through the firewall.
I was unable to read it. Please respond to this email account whenever possible.
<Ummm; we respond to whatever address email comes from>
The fish is still exhibiting the same behavior. I have done another large water change and my nitrates are almost undetectable as well. I have tried feeding clams from our local grocery store, fresh shrimp caught locally, mysis shrimp and purple seaweed which he normally loves.
<See/READ on WWM re Thiaminase... the trouble here IS very likely nutritional>

He still appears to want to eat, but when he tries he bites very gently at the food and does not swallow it.
The large jaw is much more predominant on the left side(his left). it is roughly the size of a small grape under his skin. the right side appears normal. His food is always enriched with Vita-Chem and Garlic Xtreme, with occasional supplements of Selcon and Vitamarin-C.
<Ah, good>
Are there any options that would reduce the swelling such as an antibiotic or any hope of a fish vet able to remove/drain the area?
<There are some "silver bullet" options. Ask your Vet. if they're willing to inject Chloramphenicol succinate...>
Is force feeding an option?
<Not advised; at least not at this junction>

How long can he go without eating in his current state (this is going to be day 5)?
This raised area appeared very suddenly and grew incredibly fast.
<"Inflammation".... a word for our days. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick clown trigger       8/25/15
I contacted a vet two hours drive from where I live. They are suppose to contact me tomorrow. Is there anything I can do in the meantime to help?
<Yes; I'd lower the specific gravity down another couple thousandths (remove water, add just fresh) and add a teaspoon per five gallons of Epsom Salt>
I read about Thiaminase but did not see treatments, only ways to prevent it. I thought soaking the food in VitaChem would be enough to counteract the issue. In the past i tried to feed the him fish without Thiaminase, but he would not touch them. At this point he will not eat anything.
Would raising his vitamin b1 help him and if so how could I do so with him unwilling to eat.
<Welcome. B>

Re: Sick clown trigger      8/25/15
Mike; am given to make a comment re the swelling... this may be a goiter issue treat-able by administering a few times dosage of iodide-ate. PLEASE see WWM re. BobF
Re: Sick clown trigger      8/26/15

Great news! I turned off the power heads in the display and about 15 minutes later he was swimming around looking for food. I fed him mysis soaked heavily in Vitachem. He ate very well and acted more himself. One of the four power heads was making a vibration sound. I am not sure if it was the sound or possibly voltage in the tank.
I am ordering two MP 40 Vortech Powerheads to replace the current Hydor Koralia Evolutiona that were being used and adding a Vertex Titanium Grounding Pole.
He still has the swollen area between gill and jaw, so I will add one drop of Seachem Reef Iodide in his food.
How many days should I do this (he is fed once a day)?
<See WWM re dosing.... I'd over dose the tank itself, by about three times... and add to food once a week; and to the tank (reg. dose) every water change>
I was also wondering if steaming the clams and shrimp prior to freezing would be a good way to keep his vitamin b1 up while adding Vitachem when thawing.
I will update on his progress.
<Thank you; BobF>

Re: Sick clown trigger       2/10/16
This is a reply to an older issue that has reemerged. Nitrates under 10ppm, no ammonia or nitrite, 78 degrees and 8.2 - 8.4 ph. salinity 1.020.
<Mmm; I'd raise this density to near full strength seawater
My clown trigger has battled with the swollen area in front of his left gill for a while now. He goes through periods of good health for about a month where the swollen area shrinks and then it will become swollen again and give him trouble for about a week usually.
<You've tried supplements for nutrition? Epsom Salt?>
It is now to the point where he has trouble swimming and locks himself into place all day. He has been trying to eat but ends up spitting it back out. It seems like he is unable to swallow. He also does a choking type spasm occasionally. He also now has a semi clear looking area bulging from his left gill like it is being pushed out due to the swelling.
<I would actually try excising this area... at least cutting into to see if this relieves pressure>
I have dosed the fish's food and tank with iodide as recommended, and do weekly water changes of 90 gallons that i add to the display while simultaneously pumping water out from the sump. I am hoping the increasing and decreasing in the swollen area periodically may give further clues as to what the problem is and how I can treat it.
<Can't tell w/o knowing what the cause or growth is... a catch-22; as histological work up requires necropsy. Bob Fenner>

Clown Triggerfish health and behaviour.       4/5/15
Hi crew! I currently have 380 (UK) gallon aquarium which I have had running for up to 2 years now. It is home to a 5" clown triggerfish who I have had no problems with until now. His behaviour has changed considerably, instead
of his usual active inquisitive attitude he has resigned to lying in a hole which he dug himself. When he gets up to swim he appears to have limited vision as he bumps into the rocks sand and glass.
<Mmm; Thiaminase poisoning likely...>
His colour is also a lot lighter than normal and he didn't feed today. He has also developed a lump on each side of his cheeks over the course of several months which have not seemed to bother him at all.
<Do you dose iodide-ate?>
I feed him krill, mysis, mussel, prawn
<Nutritional trouble.... see WWM re Thiaminase>

and algae rings. I checked the parameters and they are all normal. The pH is a little low but it has been like this for a very long time. I there any chance you know what may be causing thus behaviour? Thanks, Jake
<Read on! Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger Eye Issue.     1/13/15
Hi boys!
Wow what a great site you've got! I've spent the last few hours going through all your pages and am very impressed. I couldn't find a question similar to mine for an answer so hopefully you can help me out :-)
I just picked up my first clown trigger and I'm concerned about his eyes.
<I see these>
There's some white marks that I wouldn't call hazy or spotty. They're what only can be described as 'floaters'. They appear to move with his movement but remain attached. Like a hangnail. Is he perhaps hitting on the rock and creating little tears? Or could it be a parasite like worms? I tried to take a couple photos, hopefully you can make it out alright.
<Could be a physical manifestation from injury, but I would definitely be treating, here for Trematodes>

I greatly appreciate any advice you may have before I go creating more problems by treating the tank for problems he doesn't have.
<Do you need help using the search tool, indices on WWM? Bob Fenner>

Re: Clown Trigger Eye Issue.       1/16/15
Thank you so much for the info and quick reply!
I've now been treating the community for two days with Para Guard as recommending by the store. No signs of improvement yet but it also hasn't gotten worse that I can tell. If no signs of improvement continue would you recommend a fresh water dip?
<I'd treat for Trematodes as gone over on WWM>

Thank you for your time and help. Greatly appreciated!
<Cheers, BobF>

Not sure.. Clown Trigger... comp., hlth...     7/2/12
Hi Crew, After one of the worst few months in many years of marine fishkeeping I now have a problem I wondered if you have any ideas. Last night, approx 24 hours ago I bought a medium size Clown Trigger, Copperband and Yellow Longnose, I initially put the Clown Trigger in a QT tank
<Not a species to be confined...>
 of about 30L
<MUCH too small>
 and the two Butterflyfish in another QT of about 40L. These are actually large white dustbins with matured living rock. All readings were fine, ammonia had already spiked and was back to zero. About 12 hours later the Clown Trigger's eyes had clouded over and his fins are cloudy, the two Butterflyfish have cloudy fins eyes ok. Ammonia had spiked to 0.25 so I decided to place them in the main tank as I felt it was too quick for Whitespot and gill movements are regular.
<This is what I would have done as well... w/ pH-adjusted FW dips/baths enroute>
 All water param.s are ok, maybe now it is Whitespot but the other fish, albeit damsels and clowns are ok. The butterfly fish are listless with extended ventral fins with occasional darting.
<The Clown Trigger is not compatible w/ these other fishes. See WWM re>
 Would Whitespot really attack the fish to show so much damage within 12 hours or could the ammonia spike have "burnt" them. I have four sexy shrimp
<These are food items>
 in with the fish which I could take out if I need to treat with copper.
The only other concern is that with the API High Range PH the test kit shows the highest number of 8.8
<Hopefully a spurious reading... I'd check the checker...>
but I increased the pH with Seachem's Marine Buffer which says that it will only raise the pH to 8.3. Any thoughts?
<Search, read on WWM re. B>
 Regards, Adam.
 Not Sure Part 2.    7/2/12
Hi Crew,  As I am in SE Asia and as you are in the US there is just about the largest time difference.
<Some of the Crew are in Germany, the UK>
 I tested param.s again and all apart from the pH as previously mentioned is good, even the Nitrates are Zero ( I did not think this was possible in practical terms)
 for a tank that's been running about six months. My Clown Trigger in the last hour or so has developed ever increasing, what looks like fine white slime like a very thin Kleenex which is breaking off and flapping around between the eyes and the mouth. This with the cloudy eyes and fins I put down to a bacteria infection and have treated with Maracyn Plus. I do not think the disease is Whitespot due to the white slim, not spots. Do you concur and do you rate Maracyn Plus? This is the only Clown Trigger I have seen in about two years so I hope it works. Regards, Adam.
<... it is impossible to do anything other than randomly speculate given the data presented... I would not be treating this fish. Bob Fenner>

Clown trigger damage   1/15/12
I recently purchased a clown trigger fish. I noticed his mouth started to look a little swollen on the left side.
<System? There's a bit of BGA evident in the background>
 Now he has two white bumps that are on the same side as the swollen area. 
His color is not as vibrant, he stopped eating, and he is breathing faster.
 I have checked the water every day and it is ok.  Please help I really don't want to loose him.
<... likely resultant from a physical trauma... In collection, holding, shipping. Nothing to do but provide good care, water quality, nutrition, and be patient. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clntrigdis.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

bad acclimation 11/16/10
Ahoy ye old salty dogs,
<Dang! Where is that James/THE salty dog?>
Bought a 6" clown trigger last night and was starting the long process of "measuring cup" acclimation when I had a family emergency.
(son cut his hand pretty good.)Due to the nature of the emergency, I knew  it would be a long time at the emergency room (purgatory really).
I ended up putting the trigger directly into the tank (Argh!). when I finally got home to check on him, he was looking pale, light colored and somewhat wedged in the live rock.
<Not atypical or alarming behavior>
My water quality is all good and probably better than the LFS I bought it from. He was a good looking fish from the store, seemed healthy as I visited him a couple times over a weeks time before purchasing.
Is he doomed? Do fish recover from this sort of shock or poor acclimation practices?
<Almost all recover... but this fish/species has a determined predilection for becoming "mean">
Also on another topic. I have a 100 gal sump of which 50 gallons of it is just like a fish tank with teeth overflow leading to a smaller baffled midsection (20 gallons) where I plan to have my 240 gallon aquarium drain to, then that leads to, I'm guessing, a 30 gallon area where my return , skimmer, ocean clear canister filter and heaters work from. The aquarium like area (50g) of the sump houses about 70#'s of live rock and is fed by my drain from the canister filter . I run an MRC MR3-R skimmer. the sump has been up and running for 3 months now with rock ,inverts and water transferred from a very established (many years) and healthy 70 gallon aquarium. Yes, the trigger is currently in the sump or tank like area with the rock and inverts.
<Will eat/work the Invert.s woe>
MY question is. Since the 100 gallon sump is established, do you see a problem with filling the new 240 gallon aquarium with new water and turning on the return pump from the sump to "activate" the 240 gallon aquarium?
<Mmm, as long as temp., spg et al. are close, should be fine>
The only livestock I have (in the sump) is the live rock, a few inverts, percula clown , and the possible doomed clown trigger mentioned earlier. I was hoping to transfer just the fish from the sump to the 240 gallon , then just use the sump as its meant for, filtration.
the 240 will be an aggressive fish only tank. I figured the trigger would eat the inverts and the percula be traded.
In closing, will it be bad to fill a new 240 gallon with water then drain/return from an established sump assuming the water is same salinity and temp?
<Again, not likely trouble>
The sump is remote from the tank.
Thank You most wise ones !
<Perhaps wisenheimers... Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: bad acclimation, Clown Trigger hlth.  11/17/10

You were right Bob!
Got home after work, checked on him and he is swimming around and eating. I think he ate the coral banded shrimp.
got to get him in the main tank as I have a golden puffer coming in a couple weeks.
<Ahh, good to read Joe. BobF>

Clown Trigger could be constipated? 8/1/09
Hi again Bob and Crew,
Sorry to bother you guys again but I have other concern regarding my Clown Trigger. If you remember a couple of weeks ago, I wrote that my Clown Trigger wasn't eating and now he is just eating vigorously and while it's really a nice thing, I decided to hand-feed him which he loves nipping and eating food right from my fingers. Every time he would see me, he's now the first one at the top of the tank waiting for me to hand-feed him. I feed him frozen fresh seafood, mussels, oyster, shrimp and squid.
<Mmm, take care with using these foods... too fatty...>
This is my concern now, I don't know if he's just getting fat but I realized that he's abdomen is getting rounder, not bloated (yet) but I would like to think that he's just getting fat.
<Likely so>
His colour is still bright and not lethargic, an enthusiastic Clown Trigger with a personality. I don't see anything wrong but is it just me or worse, and please God no, suspecting Dropsy or Constipation?
<Not likely>
In my observation I don't see him defecating a lot. His "poo" is stringy with greenish-white coloration but with the amount of food he's eating? I found that he excretes waste seldom and lesser. I do 30% water changes every 2 weeks. My maroon clown and 2 blue damselfishes are alright and robust as ever. I don't see anything wrong as well.
Could it be constipation? based on what I've read, I could treat with Tetracycline or Erythromycin and removing the activated carbon but I don't want to do it just yet and if ever, are these antibiotics also advisable for the saltwater world?
<Not in this application... no>
Epsom salt is another that I've read. Right now, I don't know if it's constipation, dropsy or he's just getting fat but based on my observation, he doesn't defecate a lot considering the amount of food intake he would always do.
What should I do at this time? I just want to prevent anything that could be fatal in the future.
Please help.
Thank you very much.
Derrick XXX
<Do look into a less-fatty steady diet, with some of the current as treats... My fave: Spectrum Pelleted foods... Bob Fenner>

Re: Clown Trigger could be constipated? -- 08/04/09
Thanks Bob!
Okay so he did excreted the wastes after 2 days and he's tummy is now back to normal. Thank God and Thank you for the tips. Your site is just right on the spot at narrowing cases down and speedy replies. Thank You.
<Welcome my friend>
I didn't know about fatty foods for them so thanks for opening up about pellet feeding as I've always though pellets are a bit "processed" for them.
<Mmm, actually... to be very clear; akin to completely nutritious "companion animal (dog, cat...), there are very good dried prepared food products (as there are poor)... amongst the best: Spectrum, Hikari, Tetra's...>
I will read more about the pellets you're suggesting. I have fed my clownfish pellets before and I've always found to see them spitting it out after nipping it, should I crush it to their bite size?
<Worth trying>
Also, are flakes not advisable too for my clownfish and trigger? Pellets or Flakes? Which is advisable? I would love to know more about this.
<Pellets... much more "body">
Hope to hear from you and thank you again Bob and Crew.
Derrick XXX

Clown Trigger health  5/6/09
<Hi there>
I'm not sure where to turn so I thought I would ask for your help. I have a clown trigger 10 inches long that I have had for 1 year.
<Such large-collected specimens often have "troubles">
I've never had any trouble with him always the best eater able to chew anything I gave him. About 1 1/2 months ago he began behaving differently slow to eat acting like he could not see the food as well. And he would turn sideways and nibble. No visible signs of illness. When he used to get mad at the other fish at feeding time he would chase them.
<To be expected>
Recently he would start to "convulse" when upset. Now he does nothing and just wedges and sits. If I didn't know better I would think he had some sort of stroke. He has not eaten for about 2 weeks. Water checks fine.
He has a Lion of the same size and a Tusk about 7 inches and a 6 inch wrasse for a tank mates.
<Play things>
<Way too small a world for this species, large specimen>
I've noticed his teeth seem different he used to have top and bottom rows now just top and the upper teeth are loose.
<Good observation>
I actually held him in the tank and moved his lip to see his teeth and they all seem loose and ready to fall out. Could it be a vitamin deficiency?
<Yes... or other nutritional deficiency>
He used to eat occasional live goldfish
<A very poor idea... You should have read, and now do so:
and the linked files above>
otherwise it was a variety of Krill, Silversides and squid. He still shows no sign of illness.
<... actually, the behavior and observed phenomena you describe so well are symptomatic of disease: "any deviation from a normal or healthy state">
I would hate to lose him. Any advice would be appreciated.
<Try reading what is posted re the species on WWM:
The linked files above... This fish would be best moved to a much larger system... fed a completely nutritious, non-live diet (Spectrum pellets of large size perhaps)... Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger Gill Problem   2/20/09 Hi, <Hello Howard> I have this beautiful Clown Trigger that has been in and out of my quarantine tank twice to no avail. My reef tank <Mmm, not really a reef safe fish...> has been up and running for about 4 years and all my fish seem to be healthy and have nice bellies indicating that they are merrily munching away at every bit of food I feed the tank with. After quarantining the trigger with copper for two weeks and then another two weeks of changing the water in his tank to the water in the tank he will be moved to, <Good> I placed him in the main tank and all seemed fine. He was eating and spitting gravel and just doing "swimmingly". Then, out of no where, one of his gills stopped moving <Mmm, this does happen... not necessarily the end of the world> and the other gill seemed to double it's rate to make up for the "down" gill. The only words about this I had found were that triggers don't get ick often due to a particularly tough skin, <Mmm, not as easily perhaps> and it's likely that the trigger's gill plate is infested with ick. <? No> I scooped him out and put him back in the quarantine tank and began to treat him again with copper. <Mmmm> Within two days, both gills were again moving and his appetite and feistiness returned. <Good> So, I put him back in the show tank and amazingly, two days later, his gill stopped moving again. I am at a loss as I treated him twice and put him into the show tank, and twice he exhibited this problem. Please advise. Thanks, Howard <I am inclined to encourage you to just leave the Trigger in place... cease the copper exposure. "It" is something other than Cryptocaryon, pathogenic disease at play here... "Something" (likely chemical) is irritating this fish in your main display... I would serially dilute the QT water with daily changes with old from the DT... not use any more copper... see if the symptoms are repeated in quarantine. If you'd like, we can chat over possible prophylactic dip/bath techniques... but am guessing this fish will adapt in time. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Howard
Re: Clown Trigger Gill Problem-- 02/28/09
Hi, <Howdy> I know this is a kinda silly question but, approximately how long do you anticipate to get used to the main tank water such that both gills are functioning? <?> Also, please not that while he is in this one gill mode, his appetite is down and he eats perhaps 1/3 or less what he usually eats. Thanks, Howard <What English this is? Bob Fenner>
Re: Clown Trigger Gill Problem-- 02/28/09
Hi, <Hello again> Also, I forgot to mention that I plan on doing a 25% water change tonight and then again every 3-4 days until I hopefully see him coming around. Thanks, Howard <Okay... BobF>

Sick clown trigger... Protozoan? No reading?? ?   1/4/09 Hi, you have a great website. About 1 month ago I bought a clown trigger. I did not quarantine him. <Mistake> I added him to my 55 gallon <Worse... way too small a volume for this species> established aquarium that I have had going for ~ 6 years.? I also have a dogface puffer, <Too small for this as well> yellow tang and snowflake eel, all which are doing fine. I am in process of looking for 110 gallon tank. <Will still be too small> He was shy @ first, then after 1-2 days was eating like a champ, even picking on the yellow tang a little, which stopped after about 2 weeks. diet consists of marine cuisine, squid, mussels, and? spectrum marine fish formula dry food. ?Yesterday,? I noticed he was hiding in? the rocks not interested in eating come feed time.? Today, all day same thing with hiding in rocks being very pale, with fast breathing,? not eating, with his tail fin ripped up a bit.? I even tied putting food in front of him without success.? I noticed he had 1 white dot on his pectoral fin after a few days of being introduced into the tank, didn't think much of it because it went away after a few days, now this all started.? I guess he has ich, <Likely so> which is now affecting his breathing.? His stomach looks distended??? I? pulled him out of my tank, gave him a fresh water bath for about 3 minutes. <For what purpose?> His respirations started to become very fast and was jerking around in water a bit. I put him in a hospital tank, <All fishes have to be remoted, treated...> treated this tank with Odin ex and Maracyn 2, dosed according to? instructions. Now, he is laying? on his side,? still breathing fast.? I hope he makes it.?I hope i did everything right in trying to save him.??Any other help would be greatly appreciated.? Thank you.??? JPK <??? Some formatting issue??? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm and the linked files above... In fact, always search (as instructed in writing us) before... Bob Fenner>

Sick clown trigger, 6/11/08 Dear WWM, <Hello> I have had a 5" clown trigger for almost 9 months and recently his fins have been getting cloudy (not the whole fin, just small parts, almost in a line). I quickly put him in the hospital tank and treated with copper for seven days and it all went away. <Copper would not help cloudy fins, most likely environmental in nature.> The other fish weren't infected and I left them be. (Picasso Trigger, Niger Trigger, Yellow Tang, Blue Angel) <Hope this is a big tank.> Everyone was and still is eating fine, including the clown. I put the clown back in the main tank with everyone after a week and everything was great. Two days ago his fins went nuts with spots and I noticed the Picasso trigger had it also, only A LOT less. I quickly took them out and put them in the hospital with copper and let the others be. The next day the blue angel and tang had Ich like spots so I took all the fish out and put them in a separate hospital tank (all with the same water parameters). <Ok, but remember to run the main tank fallow for at least 4 weeks to rid it of this parasite.> My local fish specialty store, after viewing a picture of the clown trigger, told me that the spots were to big for Ich and that it looked like more of an infection than a disease. <Ich is a parasitic infection, so I'm not sure what they are talking about.> They told me to treat with Melafix and see how that does. <Tea tree oil, useless.> The Niger, Yellow Tang and Blue angel are now almost Ich free but the Clown is getting worse and the Picasso trigger is also (both in a separate hospital tank). <Check your water quality and copper levels.> Any idea what this could be? <Sure sounds like ich to me.> I can send a picture if needed. <Might help.> I love my Picasso and Clown! I would hate for anything to happen to them! Thank you, AJ <Welcome> <Chris>

Re: Sick clown trigger 6/11/08 Hi Chris, <Hello> They told me it was a biological infection... I cannot explain what they told me but to sum it up it was a biological infection. <Too me ich would fall into this category.> The tea tree oil seems to be helping the clown trigger, but it could just be my imagination. <Most likely it is just the ich going through it's lifecycle, it will most likely return in force. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm .> Here is a picture. There are more spots now (including some on his body, but those are disappearing) but all of them are cloudy. What is your opinion? Thanks, AJ <Looks to me like a pretty classic case of ich.>

Clown Trigger with Cloudy Eye: 4-6-08 Good Morning Crew! <Good Morning! Yunachin here!> I noticed my clown trigger's left eye has turned white and cloudy today (picture attached) . I also see a tiny little rip or something in the eye. Is this a disease or due to aggression from the other smaller Humu that is in the tank? They have been getting along fine. <As it was just one eye, it was more than likely due to some physical trauma, maybe from another fish, or even scratching it on a rock. I also received your forwarded email about it doing better and I am glad. Keep pristine water condition and feed food with vitamins to help keep his immune system up and watch that eye incase anymore problems should occur.> As always, thank you for your help! <Not a problem! --Yunachin>

Clown Trigger Parasite... or?  -- 03/18/08 Evening, Bob. <Scott> I hope that things are well for you. <Yes, thank you> I received this Clown Trigger last Wednesday, and since Friday I've noticed this little bugger attached to the left front abdominal region. <Mmmm> I took him out of his holding tank Saturday and I was able to manually remove the excess tissue, but it left an infected region behind. I thought that maybe it was just damage from shipping. But then as of tonight, it has grown back. It doesn't appear to have a mouth or other form of attachment, but rather just a growth. Can you determine what this is through the pics Im attaching? <I can not... Some views look more like a bit of the intestine coming out (I take it this fish has not fed)... When you pull on the matter, does some sort of "end", cephalic in appearance or not, seem to be embedded on the attached end? I would contact the shipper re this specimen... send the pix along. My best guess is that this material is part of the G.I. tract... that this fish is a goner... From collection damage hence likely. Bob Fenner> Thanks
Scott C. Wirtz

Re: Clown Trigger Parasite -- 3/18/08 On the contrary...he eats like a champ. He does appear a bit skinny, but I figured that he just needed to fatten up a bit. It doesn't appear to be coming out of an opening of any sort. I can pull off what is hanging free, and what is left over appears to be attached to the exterior. The best way to explain it is when you have a scab on your body and after you go swimming for a while it turns white and soft. That is what is left over after I remove any loose tissue. I can see the pigmentation of the scale surfaces through the material that is attached to it. I will try to take a better picture today. Scott C. Wirtz <Dang! I wish I were there... could you scrape about all of it away? If it's a "worm", or parasitic worm-like crustacean... it should "die off" completely with most of it removed... Perhaps a Merthiolate/Merbromin/mercurochrome swipe with a cotton swab or ball press after this peremptory surgery... BobF> Owner Re: Clown Trigger Parasite I honestly didn't try to scrape it all off, just the loose material. When I get back to the lab tonight, I will try a little harder. Should I try to get it on a slide ? Scott C. Wirtz <Mmm... or just twixt your fingers... am now thinking that what we're seeing, removing is some sort of congealed coelomic fluid, connective tissue... BobF> Re: Clown Trigger Parasite How does coelomic fluid attach to the exterior surfaces? <As stated... congealed, perhaps microbially populated... along with mesenterial tissue> 2 or 3 days after removing the excess tissue a "new" portion of tissue is hanging free. <Well... not intestine, no other parts in this area... doubtful this is a zoonotic event... B> Ah, I get it now. Thanks ! <Welcome! B>

Sick Clown Trigger, QT, Health 9/14/07 Hi guys i have a clown trigger question <Ok> I purchase my clown trigger from my LFS a week ago. When I brought him he had a white spot on he's fin i treated it with CopperSafe and it went away. <Will probably return without running the tank fallow, your system now has Ich. Appropriate QT procedures will avoid these types of problems.> But Now he hides under my live rock all day! <He is probably still infested with ich and not feeling well, added to this the new environment and tankmates.> He swims around only when i put some flakes out there and he see or smells them floating around then he starts eating them. After he's done he goes right back under the live rock and sits there like he's a hawk fish waiting for food. <Stress behavior, typical safety measure for triggers, which is how they got their name. Also flake food is not a very good staple for this fish.> Also my water temp is Night 88degress Day 92 <Wow, way too high, need to keep this in the low 80s at most and more consistent.> Nitrate a little bit <?> Nitrite 0 Alk 0 Ph 8.3 <Chris>

Re: Free clown trigger 8/7/07 Thanks for the reply, the lady who had the clown trigger before me had copper in her display, so it was kind of like a quarantine tank. <Mmm... highly doubtful a reasonable/ly consistent concentration was kept> I put copper in mine a couple years ago and some snails told me it hasn't gone away :( Should I add some copper because I know I will never have inverts anyway with my fish. And by the way, would a maroon clown be okay to put with a blue tang and yellow tang for a doctor's office tank? Thanks! <... please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM... This and a great deal of related information is clustered for your edification there. RMF>

Help baby clown trigger cloudy eyes. Too small a world, poisoned... 7/14/07 Hi, I got my baby clown trigger 6 days ago. From my LFS I had it on hold for two weeks and last Saturday I pick it up. <Okay> It was doing great I saw it eat at the LFS and when I got it at home I feed it a little more brine shrimp and it ate it. <I'd steer away from offering much Artemia... see WWM re> Then 3 days later I saw some white dots on its fins and thought it was ick so I treated the tank <... with?> (30 gallon 36w18h12 wide) <Much too small...> and noticed a day later it had cloudy eyes and kept treating the tank. <Uhh... the "treatment" is likely poisoning your Trigger, causing the eye trouble...> It was eating and then today when I went to feed it was still hiding under a rock and did not eat what should I do I am really worried. The only other fish is a strawberry Dottyback and I am treating the tank with QuickCure please help. Thank You <Formalin and... Please... read on WWM re this material/product... and the article et al. on the species you list... Your problems are of your own making here. Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger Help Please, apparent int. parasite issue  -- 06/14/07 Hi Crew, I trust you are well. <Well... I'm about half asleep... but all the parts seem to be here, functioning> I have a 120 UK gallon tank with a 3ft miracle mud sump system and about 5kg of live rock in the main system. Water parameters are PH 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 20-25 & Nitrite 0. <Do keep your eye on the Nitrate...> I have in the aquarium a 7inch Clown Trigger & 2 blue yellow tail damsels <Popcorn> each about 1.5cm in size, damsels are mainly to entertain the trigger. <Like we find fish and chips entertaining? With malt vinegar and HP of course> I purchased the Trigger about 3-4 weeks ago and he took a few days to feed like Triggers normally do, but was soon feeding twice a day on a number of mussels and white bate, although his stomach always looked empty and pinched by the time I came back from work each evening? <Mmm, likely has some internal parasite issues... and also are just very active animals...> Over the past few days his colour keeps fluctuating to a greyer white and he seems to be hiding in the rocks slightly more, he also is taking food but then spits it out again, his stomach has been pinched and empty for a day or two now! <Mmmmm> Oh and he also has been digging in the sand and has a small amount of damage to his lower body fin but this may be related to the digging, otherwise he has no wounds at all. I have never had this kind of issue with Triggers before and am concerned for his well being! Any suggestions on possible illness or ways to increase his appetite would be much appreciate Kind Regards Darren <Well... you could wait, hope this animal is simply "going through" an adjustment period... to being in captivity, your system... Or you could try a course of treatments to rid it of internal worms and Protozoans... with an anthelminthic (perhaps Praziquantel) and anti-protozoal... (maybe Metronidazole)... Both/all are described, MO proscribed on... WWM. Bob Fenner>

Stupid trigger? Mmm, no, but going blind... from?   2/25/07 Hello, <Kwon> Thanks for all the wonderful info on your site. They're really helpful. But I can't seem to find info on my problem. I have a 3" clown trigger in a fish only 55 gal tank with 50lb live rocks. <Mmm, you know this fish needs more room... can/will likely become a terror...> I have him for about 8 month now. Lately, I've notice that during feeding, he charges towards the sinking food and miss it. He has no problem picking them off the floor. He also bumps into the rocks a lot. Is there something wrong with his eye sight? I see no physical damage on his eye nor body. <There is likely a nutritional deficiency at play here... though the source of the problem could be (smaller likelihood) an internal (eye) parasite... or even less likely, a psychological result from the crowding...> He just survived an ick attack about 4 month ago. Could that have damaged something? <Mmm, yes... depending on how the fish/system was treated... it may have been neurologically poisoned. Bob Fenner> Please advise. Thanks. Kwon.

Clown trigger ph problems  - 02/15/07 Hello for the first time WWM crew! <Fred> I have several tanks of varying sizes and types, (fresh, salt, reefs, predators etc.) Although sometimes difficult to navigate, I have found your site to be a wealth of knowledge and assistance. I am so impressed that I have become a supporter. (something I've never done before) My official first question to you is this: As an individual with a full-time job (and then some) I tend to sometimes let my testing go because all my critters seem to be doing great and I do regular water changes. (I know, shame on me) But the damage is done and I am trying to make it right. The school of hard knocks has taught me to check the overall health of new specimens and ALWAYS quarantine. I have a 29 gal that has been up and running for a year that I use for this. I quarantine for 4 weeks. <Great> I bought a seemingly healthy, but small (1.5") clown trigger for my fledgling predator tank (cycled, 6mos old). He has been in quarantine for almost 3 weeks and has done great. Last night he ate and was fine. I came home from work this morning to find him lethargic, panting, cloudy-eyed and grayish. <Mmm...> I immediately went into panic mode. I checked water quality to find all quality tests (Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite) within parameters except Ph. It was unusually low (5-6 range). My question is this: Can exposure to low ph cause the symptoms I described or is there something else I am missing? <Not likely just pH... but also, not unusual for Clown Triggers to exhibit such behavior as you describe... are clowns in more than appearance> Also, is there anything I can do to save this fish? I have already added Seachem Marine buffer 8.3. The ph is where it should be now. I also eased the temperature up from 78 to 79. My little clown trigger is hiding behind the aquarium heater and is still panting. The lights just went out for the night without him eating anything today. <I urge patience here... if anything a good (25%) water change... with water from your main/display system> I use reef crystals and I make my own ro/di water. I do religious water changes. In that tank (quarantine) I change 5gal every 2 weeks even when not being used. Rotorjockey <Bob Fenner>
Re: clown trigger ph problems  - 02/15/07
Hello Again Bob, <Fred> I lost the battle with the clown trigger this morning. <Rats!> I'm to the point of feeling like it is a shame that the lives of these creatures are put in the hands of novices such as myself. <Mmm... life lessons for all> I do intend, though, not to give up yet (because although this is a failure, I have had many successes) but to be more diligent in my practices. <Good> In retrospect, the fish's eyes began to cloud up a few days before the rest of the symptoms set in, but since he was eating fine and active, I just dismissed it as I am just not familiar with this species. Thank you VERY much for such a rapid response to my questions. <Welcome> I am truly impressed and look forward to advancing my hobby through you. Like it or not, you're stuck with me! Fred <The scene at the end of the movie "Casablanca" comes to mind... Be chatting my friend. BobF>

- Baby Clown Trigger - I got my baby clown trigger in today from fishsupply.com. I must say I'm not very happy. The fish came with TWO CLOUDY eyes. My wishful thinking is telling me that maybe its normal for Clown Trigger fish for their eyes to appear cloudy? <Cloudy eyes are not normal.> But I know its probably hopeless. <Not so... make sure it's eating, has good water quality, and isn't being hassled by other fish or getting sucked into the filter and it should pull through.> Only reason I say that is because I remember having a HUMU HUMU and his eyes always appeared cloudy but they really weren't. <I know what you're talking about but the clown trigger eyes are not the same as the Huma Huma.> That's just the way the looked and if u looked closely they were a real pretty blue. You think this is the case with the Clown trigger? What can I do? I have a 5 day guarantee on him but I'm sure he'll live for at least that long. <I agree with you there... might want to at least talk to the folks where you bought it and report its initial condition - perhaps ask what happens on the sixth day.> Cheers, J -- >

Trigger With Ich 7-25-30        Hi my name is Paula <Cody here, sorry for the delay.>and I purchased a tiny clown trigger from the company I work for. I never acclimated it to the system when it came in at work. I brought it straight home and put it into a twenty gal. with 15 pounds of live rock and 2 maroon clowns the clowns do not bother it. I noticed the trigger clown had ich on it's fin  before leaving work and was hoping that being in an established system the fish could recover on it's own. Before going any farther my ammonia is 0 ppm my nitrites are 0ppm and my nitrates are 10 ppm and salinity is 1.018. I purchased the fish Thurs. it's now Tues. (5 days) no better no worse eats great a little shy unless he's being fed but is doing well so far. My dilemma is do I wait or treat with CopperSafe now. I have a 75 gal. with a Foxface rabbit, regal and yellow tang, blue fin angel, yellow headed goby, bi-color and lawn mower blennies, snowflake moray which will eventually go in with the trigger, and a Percula clown with two cleaner shrimp and a fire shrimp. The only time I have ever had a problem with Ich is when I first brought the 75 gal. home stalked with 1/2 the fish in it now, bought from individual already set up. That was a chore in it's self I carried 60 gal. of water back with me and kept all rock submersed separate from fish. This is the last fish I am buying for a long time I have wanted a clown trigger for several years but knew it was not reef safe and it gets so large I wasn't ready to tackle that feet until my reef was complete. Anyway I haven't dealt with triggers much I know what they eat and what they are like but am concerned with how the clown trigger will react to the CopperSafe. Also I don't like using this with out knowing a little more about how to mix it, I have purchased a copper test kit but CopperSafe doesn't have the number amounts just teaspoon or what ever. What is the amount I should achieve and how long do I keep it their. I have read .35 and others .25 and others as high as .50 although I feel .50 is probably to hi what amount will actually kill the parasite after it falls of the fish? Or should I try something else? wait it out? Lower salinity How low is low enough? I thought 1.016 but I have read 1.010 is that to low? I have a 2 1/2 inch cleaner would a 2 inch or less Clown trigger  kill him? I fear yes if not I will try the cleaner shrimp first?<The trigger would probably eat the cleaner.  Just add copper until the correct level is reached, put about 15 drops in the tank, if you are using the 20 gal.  Then add more drops as needed.  I would shoot for copper levels around .2-.25.  Also if you want to keep the LR live you will need to take it out before treating.  It would be best to also have no substrate as it can absorb the copper.  The rock will need to sit in a separate container for at least a month before it can be put back in with fish.  It would be best to also have no substrate as it can absorb the copper. Also if you use copper I would keep the salinity up to normal levels.> What do I do???   Help!

Our poor Clown Trigger First off, hello and hope you all are doing well. Hopefully, this question will become helpful to others that might have the same scenario! <I hope so too> Secondly, my wife and I have a 70 gallon tank which, after the rocks and crushed coral and fish added is, about 60 or 55 gallon. We have 5 fish total: -Spottyback Wrasse (purple body with orange face and gnarly teeth only approx. 3"=healthy) -Yellow Tang (approx. 4"=healthy) -Foxface (approx. 6"=healthy) -Huma Trigger (which I bought about 2 years ago for my wife's birthday as she is the Trigger collector which is approx. 3"=healthy) -Clown Trigger (which I bought WITH the Huma who is now approx. 5" or so=EATING BUT LAZY and LETHARGIC!!!). <Mmm, this tank is too crowded... psychologically... and soon to be physiologically... If you wanted to keep just what you list here you'll need a few hundred gallons> We just did a 50% water change about 1 week ago and they all seemed fine. Tests were all perfect (we've had the tank now over 3 years with the two Triggers added just 2 years ago). The wife tells me that "trigger's like to play silly games. they pretend to be sick and lay at the bottom until you walk over to check on them only to find out they are fine. Let's just keep an eye on him/her to see how it is doing and keep a log".  Now, I have never had a saltwater tank, she and her brother had a 150 or so when they were teenagers that fell over after the Northridge Earthquake with approx. 2-3K worth of equip., livestock, etc., so, she has had more "practice". I do notice when I go to feed them, the Clown is very active. Today, this morning, I was sitting with my a.m. coffee and noticed the Foxface and Yellow Tang pecking at the Clown's "poo" and the Clown was just LAYING THERE! So, I went up to the tank and behold, the Clown starts doing his usual barrel rolls, swimming horizontally...etc. My questions/comments are: 1. I'm disgusted that the fish even eat poo that hasn't come out yet! YUCK!-Is this normal? <Yes, and not harmful in general> 2. WHY is the Huma (which secretly I like more but will never tell the wife) SO much SMALLER? BTW...HATES seaweed...eats only krill and Trigger formula. <Different species... propensity for growth is less and ultimate size...> 3. Is the Clown doing this for attention or is there something wrong? <Not likely anything "wrong"... your wife is correct in stating re their play behavior... this fish is very likely "just bummed" out... > 4. The wife keeps telling me "don't get attached to the fish, they eventually get too big for our tanks and we will eventually have to trade them in for smaller fish"...is this true? I really love all the fish we've had so far and they have been with us for 3 years! I really would hate to trade them in. I would love to get a bigger tank but with that comes more work and focus and we have a baby on the way. Is there a peaceful resolution? <Not really... your wife is correct here as well...> 5. Is my tank "okay" as far as inhabitants? The only thing I notice as far as "aggression" is, the Huma keeps getting it's butt kicked by the Wrasse only because it wants the Wrasse's "home"! <It is not okay... is way too crowded, stressful... equivalent to you living in something space-wise like your house with a bull and a bear...> That's it...let me know if I missed anything. <Mmm, all seems well-written, complete... I would trade the Clown Trigger in or get a much larger system... with plans to get one or more even much larger systems down the near road. Bob Fenner>

Discolored Clown Trigger... poor mix, environment (Marina Looks for Photos..) I have a 4 month old Long 30 gallon tank. heavily filtered. Prizm (H.O.T.) skimmer, old school gulf stream wet dry filter, 8 lbs live rock, phosphate absorbing media, carbon, PolyFilter. Also left in the undergravel filter, (covered by very little gravel) with 2 powerheads to pump the fish waste back up to the skimmer (ideally.) <Mmm, am sure you realize the requirements of substrate with UG filters, their shortcomings/strengths> I have more bio balls on order to increase the nitrifying bacteria for the system. I currently fight the nitrite with heavy skimming and a 1/3 water change weekly. currently levels are 2.5 PPM nitrite and 30 ppm nitrate. everything else is ideal. <... any nitrite is dangerous...> I have 1 Niger trigger 2.5 inches, 1 nano undulating trigger 1 inch, <<A what?>> 1 Royal Gramma 2 inches (lives in barnacles) 4 brave and fast damsels 3 Emerald Crabs (clean up crew) and a 2 inch clown trigger. <... crazy to have this much fish life in an uncycled system> everyone gets along. <Mmm, for now perhaps... apparently> - I know that your recommendations are for huge tanks with triggers, but I live in NYC and the triggers live as we do, in well laid out, small quarters. sleeping places for all and a good circuit to do laps. I do not want to reduce stock or trade in until they grow too big 1+ inch growth.  I purchased the clown trigger 3 weeks ago. The clown trigger survived and ich infestation 10 days ago. I treated with a 5 minute fresh water dip, and then treated with copper. When I bought the clown it had some discoloration, but was eating well, and was an excellent price retail at $49.00. I decided to bring it home and with TLC bring it back to fighting strength. After undergoing medication, the clown is eating well, although only brine shrimp or Mysis. Does not seem to have the desire to attack the krill like the Niger. On one side of its body the colors are perfect. The photo attached is of the other side. There are white discolored patches. under close observation, it does not look to be fungus. Although the fins have some white bits forming, perhaps bacteria attacking post ich? <Mmm, no, at least not immediately, directly the problem... the source of troubles here is/are environmental... nitrite, likely transient ammonia, too much stress from unnatural assortment, crowding> Also the pectoral fins appear to be enduring some rot. I am going to the LFS to buy some Maracyn, is this the best course of action, given I am dedicated to not making tank size change or destocking? Also how long should scales take to grow back if scrapped from netting or shipping? <Mmm, no... antibiotics period are not a good idea in main/display systems... this one, Erythromycin is not a good idea period> Thanks for your help, your site is very interesting. - JR <Keep the nitrite down below 1.0 ppm... through huge water changes, careful feeding, add more substrate, get a bigger tank/s. Bob Fenner>

Trigger = Eating Machine (3/2/05) I have recently upgraded my aquarium and have invested in a 300 Gallon system.  <I am green with envy.>  I have not yet stocked the tank but ultimately want to put a clown trigger in it.  <Cool fish. Great tank for it.>  I know from reading your previous Q&A that this fish has great personality but may tend to be somewhat aggressive.  <Variable personality. It's one of the "less aggressive" members of the family.> <<RMF disagrees... this fish often is an unholy terror when large>> If I placed a small trigger (say 2") into this system with a flame angel, a few damsels (green Chromis, 3 stripe, yellow tail), a few percula, some regal tangs, and invertebrates (snails, hermit crabs, cleaner shrimp, brittle stars) and coral (hard and soft) what would be the outcome. My gut tells me to kiss the inverts and damsels good-bye.  <Smart guts.>  Any advice given is appreciated. Thanks in advance.-Rob  <The Trigger will eventually eat all of the inverts. Mine nipped at the "chips" on my starfish, so I eventually got rid of it. It did leave my big green brittle stars alone. Check the picture on WWM of a Trigger eating a Linckia star. Smaller fish are eventually at risk as well. Damsels can be very aggressive with each other. A "few" Perculas may not get along so well either. What do you mean by "some Regal Tangs?" Are you moving some fish from another tank? Have you considered a pair of Maroon Clowns rather than a "few perculas?" If you decide to go FOWLR, which you must if you have the Trigger, you might consider fewer interesting big fish rather than a bunch of small ones. Examples would be a Snowflake Eel (no small tankmates), Lunare (beautiful fish) Wrasse or Bird Wrasse, a larger angel or butterfly. With plenty of $, a pair of Chaetodon semilarvatus would really look great. If you want corals and other inverts, you will have to choose strictly "reef-safe" fish. Consider a harem of fairy wrasses. I'm getting excited just thinking of all the possibilities for a tank of this size. My most important advice is to be very, very patient. Research and plan and move slowly. This patience will really pay off. Hope this helps. Steve Allen>

Who's Afraid of Clowns? I have an 8" masked puffer (Arothron diadematus) in a well furnished 90 gal- alone!  this is because I adore him and my experience tells me that the utmost caution is needed when selecting tankmates in even the most docile communities else tank mates soon become snacks. so I really want to add another fish with a little bit of color and an equally charming personality and I have become fixated on clown triggers.   of course I had to pick one of the most aggressive types of fish and one of the rudest species in the bunch.  if I add a very small clown trigger am I testing fate?  would a Picasso trigger be equally as risky?  or can these fish mix, assuming I keep a watchful eye? thanks. Reuben Hello Reuben, This puffer will attain a decent size, big enough to warrant having that tank all to himself. One of the last fish I would consider putting in with him is a clown trigger. Clowns almost always end up needing a tank of their own, and when they DO work out long term in a setting with multiple fish, it's almost always in a very large tank. Remember that aside from being very aggressive, clown triggers attain a size approaching 2 feet in the wild - 20 inches or so actually. In captivity they max out much smaller, but can be relied upon to reach a size of 15" or so. Much to large for your 90 gallon, even if he was by himself. A MUCH better choice would be a Huma Huma trigger. Triggers of this genus are much smaller, and they grow VERY slowly. Annoyingly slow actually if you're trying to grow up a show specimen. Good news for you though! They are much less belligerent as well. Start with a small individual, and you should be good to go for quite some time. The trigger itself will never outgrow that tank. One warning though, keeping only two fish is often a bad recipe for a tank of any kind unless you have a pair. One fish will always be dominant, and will often badger the other fish relentlessly with no other fish present to take out it's aggressions. Nothing is all the time though, and if you start out with a small trigger, you may not have any issues. Try a 3" Huma Huma or Rectangulus. Nothing left to say but, give it a try! Good luck Jim***

Help!  Sick Clown Trigger Hello, <Hi, Mike D here> You guys have been nothing but helpful before, so I'm back again in need of your expertise.  I have a 2 year old 55 gallon saltwater tank.  It  contains some live rock, a large sailfin tang, large maroon clownfish, a rainbow wrasse, a medium-small lionfish, and a medium-large (4" or so) clown  trigger.<Ouch! You are already maxed out on population with some major growing occurring as we speak...you have some hard choices ahead in your immediate future>   Everyone in the tank is doing fine, eating well, swimming around  . . . except my clown trigger.  I've had him almost 2 weeks, and he's been  doing great.  A few days ago, I noted some suspicious white spots that  looked all too familiar, so I dipped him for 10 min. in a HydroPlex freshwater dip. The spots have not returned (my UV sterilizer should have kept that  from happening to begin with).<I assume you're referring to ick and 1) the spots disappearing doesn't mean that the freshwater dip worked, as it's part of the lifecycle of the fish, with each "spot" that disappeared falling off and splitting into up to 200 new smaller parasites to re-infect your fish. Often what happens is this second, stronger infection begins where it's not seen, in the gills! Another fallacy is that the UV sterilizer will cure/control ick, which it almost universally does not. Read the FAQs on UV sterilizers and I think you'll find what I mean.>  Last night, I notice the trigger did not  have his usual appetite, and did not eat.  I just got home from work today,  and he's lethargically moping around the bottom of the tank, breathing rapidly,  and again, refusing to eat even when the food is in front of him.  The  water has had a recent change, tests appeared normal, all other fish are doing  as well as usual.  What might be wrong?  Is there anything I can  do?<I'd suggest removing to a separate hospital tank and begin your treatment of choice for Ick (there are many.. hyposalinity, dips, formalin treatments, etc.>  This is my prize fish!  I just got him at a once a year store  sale for 50 bucks off!  That won't happen again . . . . any ideas that can  help me?<Again, hospitalize/Quarantine and treat for Ick as it's likely infesting his gills (often new fish that have been stressed will be parasitized while healthy, established fish will remain largely or completely normal due to their immune system and slime coats functioning at 100%)  Once you've beaten this problem you need to start considering that both Sailfin Tangs and Clown Triggerfish get HUGE in a fairly short time (2-3 years) and will need a MUCH bigger tank ASAP.....imagine a full sized football painted the same color as your little clown trigger and you're looking at a 2/3 grown specimen, keeping in mind that marine fish do not grow only to the size of the tank they are in like some freshwater fish. Good Luck!>   Thanks a billion, -Dave

Sick Clown Trigger Thanks Mike. <You're more than welcome> Sadly, I awoke to day to find my clown trigger has gone on to a better  place. Yet, thank you kindly for your advice.  You're advice about  tank size with the animals I have will be a major factor in future  considerations. <At least he didn't die in vain then. Clowns in particular are actually well known for being extremely delicate as small juveniles and indestructible as adults, where they BECOME the major cause of death for other tankmates> Thanks again, -Dave

Large clown trigger Hi Bob, Glad to hear from you again, how was your trip to Cooks? Were you there on assignment? <Fine, and "self-sponsored" assignment this time... making pix, visiting hashers and Chip Boyle...> I will collect my trigger tomorrow morning ( 14/10/00 ).I'm a bit excited because I was told that it is a fine specimen and over 8" ( cost me about US55+ ). <A bargain.> Bob I read your articles on acclimation and I want to ask you why usually when I tested the shipping water it is always towards acidic (7.4 )? And I have to slowly bring it up to 8.4 level before I dip it in fresh water with same PH and added with Methylene blue for 2 minutes, am I doing the right thing ? <The pH drops due to a combination of a loss of alkaline/reserve and respiratory and waste product production... best to very, very slowly raise the pH... through acclimation and to not allow any of the shipping water (laden with ammonia typically) to be transferred in the process... Take a look on the site: Home Page re "Guerilla Acclimation"> Or is it better to dip in salt water added with Maroxy ( Mardel ) for a couple of minutes? Was is your advice? Hope I hear from you in time. David. Trigger Happy!!! >> <Better to lower pH of the mixing water with a dilute soln. of HCl, or other acidifier, and know what you're doing here... and aerate the mixed solution, allowing the pH to rise over an hour or more time, while aerating the mix water, and use either the Methylene blue and/OR the Maroxy... Bob Fenner, who warns all, this is for MOST types of marine fishes, not all, and NOT invertebrates>

Clown Trigger Hi, I started a new tank and it has been cycled for 2 weeks now. I have a clown trigger that has taken a turn for the worst in the past couple of days. He has gray patches that have started to connect and his color has been fading. He is breathing very heavy and his fins have cloudy patches he has had these symptoms for the past 3 weeks. I first thought it was ick and threw in some medication for ick that did not help. I then threw in Melafix that did not work and then tried CopperSafe that didn't work and now someone told me to use copper power which I threw in but has not worked either.  <Yikes... this is a bunch of toxic medications... your Clown Trigger may have originally been reacting to most anything behaviorally... environmentally... You state that the tank has only been cycled for two weeks, and yet the Trigger was exhibiting "symptoms" for three weeks? This time frame is too short to be placing fish livestock...> Before adding any new medication I ran my filter system with carbon for 2 days to get rid of the medication I previously used. <Good idea> Last night I did a 25% water change and turned on my 15 watt U.V light. I also tried giving him a fresh water dip but he started to go on his side in a minute and a half I got scared and quickly put him back in the tank. The numbers for my tank are Gravity - 1.22 Ammonia - None PH - 8.4 I have been using PH 8.2 but my ph keeps on rising it was at 8.6 <Do have your test kit checked... and try not to worry if the pH "only" gets this high... that is, I wouldn't try to "correct it"... in time the pH will start to drift down of its own accord> Nitrite - none Other fish in tank include 6 damsels and one panther grouper they show no sign of anything. I don't know if I'm making any sense but if you can help me I would greatly appreciate it. <Is this Trigger still eating? How large is this tank? Do you have live rock in it? Filtration/aeration? I would increase the latter, add some live rock and leave all else alone. Patience my friend. Please read over the Marine Set-Up and Maintenance sections of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com  Bob Fenner>
Re: clown trigger
The aeration that I use is coming from the return. should I be worried that this is a disease or just stress related. <Mostly stress> I do not have any live rock in my tank just 1 piece of moon rock. <As stated, I would add some> I'm sorry but I forgot to mention in the previous email that 3 weeks ago he had a small open sore that looks like its all healed. should I be worried about a disease in my tank and if so why have none of the other fish contracted the disease. Thank you for your quick response. <I wouldn't be concerned about this previous sore> I just wanted to get your opinion on what I did and if you have any other suggestions regarding my clown trigger. I removed the moon rook from my tank Because of the high effect it has on raising ph. I also but 3 pounds of live rock I have a 90 gallon tank should I buy more. <Yes. Look for "whole box" deals from e-tailers... or make a deal with your local fish store for same... much cheaper> The clown has not eaten for about 4 - 5 days. I performed a water change like I told you 3 days ago should I do another one in a couple of days or not. <I would hold off on water changes. Do try placing an entire "cocktail shrimp" (sans sauce of course, or a piece of frozen/defrosted krill... Bob Fenner>
Re: clown trigger
I also noticed that the clown triggers stomach looks swollen but he hasn't eaten for 4 - 5 days is that of any concern. <Yes... perhaps this Clown Trigger is eating something... Bob Fenner>
Re: clown trigger
I'm sorry for being such a pain but this morning I tested my water and my numbers were as follows. Nitrite - 0.20 Ammonia - 0.50 PH - 8.6 Nitrate - 40 I know I did a water change and the numbers go up but that was 4 days ago is their anything I should do or just wait it out. <Something is not right here... you ammonia and nitrite s/b zero as in nothing... Please read through the www.WetWebMedia.com site re "biological filtration", "marine set-up", "ammonia", "nitrite"... Hopefully what is wrong will come to your awareness by this process... in the meanwhile don't feed this tank, and do change your water (with pre-made... do read the "synthetic seawater" sections as well) if the NH3 or NO2 approaches 1.0ppm. Study my friend will save your livestock. Bob Fenner>
Re: clown trigger
The fish has not been eating for the past couple of days. Should I be feeding him certain food right now I am feeding him Formula 1, Krill, and frozen squid I like to switch it up.  <Good idea... this is enough types for now> My tank size is 90 gallons I have a wet dry filter 15 U.V a 303 powerhead for circulation I also have a Prizm skimmer that I have not hooked up yet. <I would... good, better water quality is a definite plus> The aeration that I use is coming from the return. should I be worried that this is a disease or just stress related. <Mostly stress> I do not have any live rock in my tank just 1 piece of moon rock. <As stated, I would add some> I'm sorry but I forgot to mention in the previous email that 3 weeks ago he had a small open sore that looks like its all healed. should I be worried about a disease in my tank and if so why have none of the other fish contracted the disease. Thank you for your quick response. <I wouldn't be very concerned re actual parasitic or infectious disease here... Please read through the following: http://wetwebmedia.com/tanktroubleshting.htm  on tank troubleshooting... Keep studying my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: clown trigger
A quick update it looks like the end is near for my clown his colorful leathery skin has no been reduced to what looks to be smooth chalky skin. His gills look to have disintegrated and his breathing has gotten heavy from his gills not being able to take in enough oxygen. He no longer can swim when ever he tries to he falls to the side. I know this is a dumb question but is their anything else I can do. I can't stand to see the fish suffer like this if the end is near I would like to flush him down the toilet then watch him suffer. <I understand, and share your sympathies. If you are assured that the end is nigh for your Clown Trigger, a humane way of bringing its suffering to an end is to place it in a small volume of water (let's say half a cup) in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer. Bob Fenner>

Phosphates Hi Bob, Glad you're around to help!!! I'm having a problem with my LFS. I bought a clown trigger from him and two days later he died.  <Mmm, what sort of symptoms? Did the fish eat... ever? What else do you have in your system that is doing well? Need more clues...> I went back for a refund and he tested my water. My ph is 8.0, ammonia 0.0, nitrites 0.o, nitrates 15. He also tested for phosphates and said I was at 10.  <Yeeikes, this is HIGH!> I thought phosphate problems were mostly related to algae, I don't have an algae problem.  <Unusual that you don't have a bunch of algae growing here... I would test your water elsewhere/wise> This tank also has a lion fish, snowflake eel, valentini puffer and a damsel. No problems with them. I also found out that my LFS keeps his ph at 8.8. <What? Really... strange... not easy to do, safely... and many downsides in event of other troubles...> I harden my fish for 2 hours, slowly mixing my tank water with the LFS water before I release. So needless to say, he refused the refund. Is the high phosphates the cause of death or possibly the big change in ph? Thanks again for your help........Paul <Maybe a bit of both... this whole situation doesn't add up though... Ten ppm of soluble phosphate is very unusual period... w/o enormous algal problems almost unbelievable... a store maintaining a pH (likely with Kalkwasser and careful use of calcium chloride) to maybe precipitate phosphate (?) is unprecedented/unknown to me otherwise... and to lose what appears to be such a tough species of fish so easily in the face of the other livestock you list... anomalous to say the least. I would ask for at least partial credit or be shopping elsewhere. You are welcome to forward, show my opinions to your dealer. Bob Fenner>

Help with clown trigger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hi Bob! I realize by the time you respond my fish may be dead, but its worth a try. I have a seven inch clown trigger which I've had for three years in a 75 gallon tank along with a Arothron puffer, purple tang, and a wrasse. I just noticed my trigger is on the bottom of the tank laying on his side, breathing normally, maybe a little shallow. When fish approach he flaps his fins but cannot swim. When he tries he remains bent and has no control. He has been very still for a few hours now. I fed the other fish, they are perfectly normal. This is the first situation I've had in five years so I'm a little caught off guard and don't know where to turn. I hope you can help and at least give me some preventive knowledge. Do fish die of old age? <They do, but this one is not old... May have eaten something "that didn't agree with it"... or be "pulling your fins"...> Thanks Bob, I know you are very busy but I don't trust anyone else's expertise. <No worries... I would do the S.O.P. of a water change, add carbon to the filter flow path, check water quality... Hopefully the fish "swallowed a bug that fell in" or is just "clowning around"... and will recover soon. Bob Fenner>

Sick clown triggerfish? I have a clown triggerfish that is about 4 inches long. He still eats well and swims around all day, but, his color is fading out in spots all around him! What is this? Please help, and quick!!! Thanks, -Kevin <Mmm, either nutritional deficiency, "poor" water quality, or behavioral display/mal-adjustment. Please read through the Triggerfish materials archived on our site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm on to the linked files, FAQs in blue above. Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger with Digenetic Trematodes <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob travels> I have to say that I am a HUGE fan, I have read your book at least twice cover to cover, and is my bible for aquarium keeping!!  <yes, we are in agreement> I recommend your book to everyone interested in keeping a saltwater tank, and can say you have a lot of fans on Saltwaterfish.com's message board! Now to my question, I have a Clown Trigger, that I have had for three years, very recently my impeller on my filter broke and the filter stopped working, for at least 24 hours; shortly after this incident the trigger developed small white spots on both pectoral fins, they did not seem to bother him, I did not worry to much, as I thought it must be a small bout with ick, which I was sure he would fight off. Now, two months later, he still has them; they still do not seem to bother him (by that I mean, he is not darting about the tank, or scratching on rocks) however, he has had some unusual behavior , such as hanging around in the bubbler and after eating, finding a place to rest on the bottom.  <yes... one of the signs of some kind of parasites in the gills> I am thinking after a lot of reading, he may have some type of worm (digenetic Trematodes). I do soak the food in Kent's Garlic Xtreme, and would like to know if I should take further measures of treatment, and if so what type of medication would work best. Thank you so very much. J. Marshall <treatment in a quarantine tank specifically (not in main display) with Formalin is recommended. Follow manufacturers recommended dose as per instructions. Best regards, Anthony>

Clown Trigger Hello there, I have had a 55 gal tank up and going for several months. I added a Picasso trigger who seems to be doing fine. My concern is I added a second Trigger fish (Clown) and he seem to be very skittish and not swimming around even for food. He has only been in my tank for 2 days but I'm wondering if this is normal or should I be concerned with this behavior?. <too early to tell, although mixing trigger species is not usually a great idea. Issues with aggression are likely in the long run. In the meantime, the new fish could simply be getting used to the new climate and traffic patter of the house where the tank sits (big scary shadows suddenly walking by...hehe). Or, it could be intimidated by the presence of the other fish(es). There is always the possibility of disease too... aquarists really need to quarantine all new fish for 2-4 weeks before just throwing them into displays... else it is like roulette with living creatures and pathogenic diseases. Do read more in the archives about proper QT. Patience in the meantime and careful observation. Anthony> Please help, Best Regards, Todd Pelletier

"Spot" the clown trigger Dear WWM crew, I don't know if you will remember, but have emailed you before about my clown trigger, thought he had Metacercaria.  <I do> However, now I believe it to be more than just the encapsulated worms, I think he may also have internal worms, need your help to diagnose.  <Of a certainty all fishes and humans do have internal worms of various sorts... are they of number, kind, placement, size to be of consequence is the question> I have had spot for 3 1/2 years and only in the last six months has he shown symptoms like periodic loss of color, resting on the bottom with slow breathing. He is becoming less active by the day, although he is always on the ball when it comes to feeding time. I currently feed him FD krill soaked in ZOE vitamins, trigger formula, prime reef formula, formula 2 and use garlic additives to the food also. <Do add more/other whole fresh or frozen/defrosted meaty foods, drop out some of the prepared formulated foods> He appears to eat well, but spends most of his day on the bottom of the tank. After he eats his belly seems to be full, but by the end of the day his belly looks emaciated, almost like he is starving. <Good description> His tankmates include a zebra lionfish (2yrs) a Huma Huma trigger (4yrs) and a sunset wrasse (1yr). The other fish have absolutely no symptoms, and are eating healthy and active, with bright color. I pride myself on water changes and keeping my tanks clean. I have tried a few meds with Spot, but they seemed harder on him than what was actually bothering him. I have used formalin and Praziquantel in addition to feeding the garlic. Right now, I feel like Spots quality of life is not what it should be, and feel like he is suffering and it breaks my heart. I have read your site on disease and also the book by Gerald Bassleer "Diseases in marine aquarium fish" and just cannot find anything that fits his symptoms completely. <You know... you might try "floating out" a fecal sample (can be collected easier in a bare tank (quarantine/treatment), and looking under a scope for eggs... perhaps definitive. I would consider trying lacing the foods the specimen takes readily with Flagyl/Metronidazole... for three days or so... and see if the "wasting" subsides... other... Vermifuges might be tried as well (Piperazine, di-n-butyl tin oxide... and more modern compounds... from/via a veterinarian)...> Truly I am stumped with this one, and was hoping you might have a miracle cure. I just finished setting up and cycling Spot's permanent home a 240G, but he was to be the last fish added, as I was afraid any fish introduced after a healthy "Spot" would be harassed to death.  <A wise arrangement/precaution> Would it be worth it to add him to the 240, just to see if he would perk up, should I just keep giving it the wait and see approach, I guess really I want to know, how do I know he is suffering and when it is time to say goodbye, which will probably be one of the hardest things I could do. <Not likely "suffering"... as in pain, remorse. Not to worry> Thank you so much for your time and your knowledge, from an extremely grateful hobbyist. J. Marshall <I would wait, try the anti-protozoal, perhaps the deworming materials... and see if this animal retains mass, before moving. One last item/question back to you: Is there live rock in this system? I would definitely add some if not... in the hope that "something" missing in the animals diet or water quality might be restored. Bob Fenner>

"Spot" the clown trigger Just some more info on "Spot", the night before he had lumps on both sides of his abdomen, they were considerable in size and oval shaped. He seemed to have to struggle to swim, not necessarily had an equilibrium problem, just struggling to move himself through the water. The next morning both lumps were gone, and he was waiting at the top of the tank to be fed. Then last night, had another lump approximately the same size, but only on one side, seemed again to struggle through the water, and again this morning the lump is gone, and he is anxiously awaiting to be fed. Thought this info. might help you make a diagnosis.  <bizarre... and rules out an actual growth(s). I'm wondering if this silly or greedy fish isn't gulping or snapping at bubbles at the surface or otherwise ingesting air?> Will be looking for your reply, and again Thank You!! J. Marshall <very curious! Anthony>

Problem with Clown Trigger Hello,  Can you please help me.  <yes, indeed my friend> I have a 60 gallon with a pearl butterfly, Koran angel, 4 damsels, and baby clown trigger. <a very incompatible mix in long run.. the butterfly is likely to be intimidated and killed by angel or trigger and the trigger is a threat to all in time> My clown trigger has developed a bad case of both eyes clouding up and are very swollen. It basically happened over one day.  <a bacterial infection that needs treatment in a bare bottomed quarantine tank promptly (antibiotics will compromise other fishes/kill main bio filter)> He can barely see, but is still trying to eat. He's also discolored (colors very faded). My angel also has a little white coating on his front fins (they see to be a little rotted as well). Again, that seems to have developed over the last couple days. <do examine water quality... if bacterial, it is usually from poor water quality (low pH, lack of water changes, etc)> Can you please recommend a treatment.  <Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone cocktail meds at double strength if FW brand daily for 5 days. Must be treated in bare bottomed QT> I just want to make sure I treat this the right way Thank you so much, Frank <best regards, Anthony>

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
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