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FAQs on Clown Triggerfish Compatibility

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 Selection, Clown Trigger Systems, Clown Trigger Feeding, Clown Trigger Disease, 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,

Eventually, inevitably, regrettably... trouble

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Trigger question; now sys.        1/14/16
Hi, I just wanted to give you an update. After a few crocodile tears and we'll placed sniffles, my husband said he would buy me a used tank for my Clown fish and starfish :)So I will be able to get a trigger and keep my geriatric fin friends. I am still getting confused as to acceptable tank size for a clown trigger. Some on forums say my 150g will be fine but some
articles I read state a 300g.
<The smaller will do for years.... the larger... may become too frustrating to just have the one Trigger in.
Oh! IF you can start them small; you might try raising a group together.
Bob Fenner>

Pseudobalistes Fuscus Jigsaw Triggerfish Compatibility (in-)     5/29/14
Hello, this is my first time asking personally for help and have appreciated the vast amounts of information you have repeatedly provided.
Currently I have a 370 gallon aquarium that is home to a 7" map puffer, a 5.5" harlequin tusk, a 4" clown triggerfish,
<... keep your eye on>

a 3" half moon (or white tail as I believe they are two separate species and I can not identify him 100% for sure) and two 2-3 foot morays, a zebra and a snowflake.
<Chew toys for Balistids>

All of the fish have very laid back personalities so I am very lucky so far. I have plenty of live rock, in particular Tonga branch rock which has created vast numbers of overhangs and caves of all sizes, a large sump filtration system, 2 UV sterilizers and an 850 Deltec protein skimmer. My main question is regarding the addition of a young jigsaw triggerfish, Pseudobalistes Fuscus and whether you believe any negative outcomes could occur. I would plan on adding one around the 3-4" range (similar to the clown trigger or slightly smaller)
so as not to disrupt the clown trigger too badly, however you may have a better idea for going around this.
<See WWM re...>
All the fish I have seem to get along with each other fine,
<... for now>

with the only minor conflicts involving the map puffer having his food stolen by the clown trigger. Typically the "half moon" is the only fish to show any aggression towards new fish by his grunting whilst the others just ignore them or keep a close eye on them. My main concern would be adding the jigsaw trigger and its effect on the clown trigger, which I hope would be fine.
<In the long term... trouble>

The clown trigger simply did not care when the "half moon" was added at all. My tank is 3.1m long and 0.8m deep with plenty of large open areas
alongside the live rock so I hope this provides enough swimming room for all the fish when they reach a mature size. Again you may not believe this to be a realistic idea and I would appreciate any advice you have to offer.
Thanks. Jake
<Time will tell. Bob Fenner>

Clown Triggers. In/comp., repro. f's     8/7/12
Hi, I have had several pairs of small Clown Triggers with mixed success over the years and recently bought two small ones, about 1inch. They do not fight and sometimes stay very close to each other I have never had a pair like this.
<They will fight eventually>
 I read that when larger the males have slightly more pattern in the top dark yellow section by the "Trigger" Are there any other ways to tell what sexes they are.
<Not sex-able w/ out being mature, and then only by dissection as far as I know>
 Some how I think they know.....one is male and one is female even for Clown Triggers they seem to like each other. Regards, Adam.

Clown Triggerfish Aquarium; sys.     7/18/12
Hello my fellow aquarists:) I know how Mister Fenner feels about Clown Triggerfish, and I have thoroughly read all information He and others give.
That said, along with the French Angelfish, and Parrotfish, the Clown Triggerfish is my favorite Sea Creature.! I bought a 5 Inch Maldives Variety today, with a back-up plan in place. I tried to place him in my 500 gallon System, and my 8 Inch Pink Tail Triggerfish lit into him. The Clown Triggerfish then met the smaller Huma Huma Triggerfish, and in turn the Clown Triggerfish harassed him. Then the 13 inch Vlamingi Tang went after the Clown Triggerfish, who in turn went after my Moray Eel. To make a long story short, I was afraid all the aggression towards the Clown Triggerfish was going to make him flip that switch Mister Fenner talks about, and he might wreak havoc in the Aquarium. So I caught him,
and am going to plan B. I have a 250 gallon system that is fallow. I would like to make this the Clown Triggerfishes permanent, by himself, home. My question is, would you spring for some Live Sand and Rock, to make some caves in, or would you leave the tank more barren.
<I'd spring for some LR, just regular sand that will become live>
I have a Fluval 5 that I will run for filtration. Lastly, would you spring for a Hang on Protein Skimmer with him being the only fish in the Tank for Life?
<I'd get a big skimmer and more circulation...>
 I plan on keeping him in a 40 Gallon Long, Quarantine Tank, until I get his new home set up, or would you just add him to the new Tank, If I am stocking it with Live Rock and Sand?.
<The latter>
 As always, I appreciate any advice or confirmation of my plan, if you agree. Thank you:)
George Link
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Clown Triggerfish Aquarium
<Double posted>
Re: Clown Triggerfish Aquarium    7/18/12
Thank you Mister Fenner for your timely response. The Clown Triggerfish is in it's new home, and is eating Krill, heartily.! It's colors are magnificent.! It has the nice larger white spots coming out, and a nice Green stripe over it's snout. It truly seems happy with a large Aquarium all to itself.!
<Ah yes>
 I went to my LFS and all they had was Live Sand, so I purchased 9 bags of that, (not naming Brand Names where I can avoid it, I don't want to advertise)
<You are free to endorse what you deem worthy>
 and have a 3 inch layer in the Aquarium. I purchased 60 pounds or so of 3 Huge Chunks of Cured, Coraline encrusted Live Rock, and made a nice cave for him. I purchased the largest High quality hang on Skimmer I could find, and have several 1400 GPH Powerheads laying around, so I added 2 of those to the aquarium for the time being. I am only running foam in the 400 Gallon Aquarium rated, Canister Filter, until the water fully clears (90% clear as of now). I will then plan on running carbon, which I will change monthly when doing a water change. Lastly, I have 50 or so Bio Balls I have been running in the Canister Filter for the past year or so. Would you keep these running in the filter, in the new Clown Triggerfish Aquarium as well?
<Yes I would>
Please let me know if my plan sounds good, or if you think I should make adjustments. I still have 2 more 1400 GPH Powerheads I can add if you think I should. Thank you.
George Link
<I would add at least one more here... to set the water in a gyre current... likely around and around; placing the pumps near the air water interface near opposing transverse corners. BobF>
Re: Clown Triggerfish Aquarium – 07/18/12

I took your advice Mister Fenner and added the third Powerhead, in the configuration you suggested. I have 3 Koralia 4's now, pushing 4200 GPH, Triangulated, and along with the FluvalFX5, I have Great Movement, surface agitation, and the surface of the sand is clean, without stirring it up. I hung my Reef Octopus Skimmer on the back, and the tank is now complete.!
This Aquarium is built into a cabinet in my basement den, and I am really enjoying watching the Clown Triggerfish, it is a very entertaining Creature:)
<Ah yes>
Thank you very much as always for your assistance. I only seek advice from WetWebMedia, as you have never steered me wrong.!
George Link
<Thank you for this follow-up George. BobF>

Re: Not sure..    7/3/12
Bob, The Clown Trigger can be returned to the shop at any time if he become too aggressive.
<It will likely be too late for some of your livestock... B>

Yet another "Clown Trigger" compatibility question.    1/4/12
WetWeb Crew,
I hope you all had a joyous holiday season, and Happy New Year!
<Thank you Marc>
Over the holiday, I was on the site reading all the information I could find about the Titian Trigger fish and the Clown Trigger fish.
I had opportunity to acquire both at a local pet store, but wanted to make sure I did my homework before regretting either if I decided to buy one or the other.  Well, after researching both fish, I decided to go with the Clown Trigger although I was made aware of their Jekyll and Hyde mentality/tendencies.
<Well put>
  With this being said, my question to you this afternoon is, placing this fish, which is about 3 to 4 inches by the way, in an established 1200 gallon fish only setup
<Yeeikes... what a pain to remove if it comes to this... Hook and line BTW is best>
with a 5 " Sohal Tang, a 5" Vlamingii, a 7" Six Bar Angel, a 5' Passer Angel, a 5" Annularis Angel, a 4" Emperor Angel, a 6" Majestic Angel, a 7" Golden Heart Trigger, and a few wrasses; the Coris, a lunar, and a twin spot, would the Clowns aggression as it ages be decreased seeing that the tank size is larger than average, or with this particular trigger, does tank size not matter? 
<Not much really... Have seen them become bullies in small volumes and tens of thousands of gallons (Mirage/LV... another nightmare believe me)>
Trying to be responsible, along with protecting my investment, I have already made arrangements to return the Clown Trigger for a Niger Trigger, but before doing so, I was hoping to hear from you.  I would love to keep the Clown Trigger, but at the same time, I would hate to return home one day to chopped sushi one day after he has grown a little bigger and decided to make lunch of his friends.
<... can indeed happen>
 Also, would feeding him more pellets as opposed to meaty foods limit the aggression?
<I do think so... my usual plug here for the Spectrum brand>
 I was told to do this by the LFS, but really don't buy into it.  Anyway, if i went that route, I would still feed frozen Mysis, brine and chopped squid, but slightly less than the pellet foods.  Any information would greatly be appreciated.
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger, incomp., basic nature  11/5/10
<Hello Pancy>
We recently got our Saltwater tank back from a relative that had it for 2 years. We maintained it for 5 years before but moved and could not take the tank with us. It is 180 gallons with a Power Blue Tang, Raccoon Butterfly, Clown Trigger, two Blue Chromis, 1 Black goby and a Spiny Cowfish.
We positioned the rocks so there are lots of "cave" places for the fish to go in and out of. When we had the tank before, the fish all got along fine.
Now we are noticing that the Clown Trigger is being very aggressive with the Cowfish.
The Trigger has bitten the Cowfish's tail twice. The Cowfish got mad and charged the Trigger. The only difference we can see is the type of food they are eating. We use to feed the fish marine cuisine, blood
worms, brine shrimp and krill. Now they get formula one, blood worms, silversides, and brine shrimp. Do you think Trigger thinks the Cowfish tail is a silverside?
Is Trigger maybe hungry? Should we feed more?
Any ideas how to get the Trigger and Cowfish back in harmony? Thank you for your time.
<These fishes need to be separated permanently. Better to do this now than later and get it over with. Find another home for one or the other, my choice? Keep the Cowfish, because if you remove it then the Balistoides will likely turn on your other fish as well. Have a read on WWM re http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/balistoides/index.htm

Curbing Aggression/Clown Triggerfish Compatibility 10/7/10
Hello crew! Shea here.
<Hello Shea>
I am excited to say that I have just completed stocking my 220 gallon FOWLR tank this afternoon.
My last introductions were a 4 inch Sohal Tang and a 3 inch Porcupine Puffer. My problem is that my
clown trigger, that has been in the tank for a little over 2 weeks now, won't quit chasing the Sohal around the tank.
<Not surprising.>
The trigger is about an inch or so bigger than the tang. I am in the midst of rearranging the rock work
and I have put the trigger in a plastic strainer in the tank. The other inhabitants are a 3 inch Volitans Lionfish and a 4 inch Emperor Angel who is starting to get his adult coloration. The trigger shows no aggression to
any of the other fish. Should I be worried about the aggression been <between> these two fish?
<Yes, and others as well. The Clown Triggerfish is an Alpha Alpha species that typically takes over a system of any size and will dominate your tank in due time. Best to keep this fish by itself.>
Are there any other tricks to reduce the aggression?
<Best one I know of is to remove the Clown Triggerfish.>
The Tang seems healthy, he is already eating the Nori that is hanging on the glass. Any advice you could give me would be great!
<May want to read the FAQs on the Clown Triggerfish compatibility found here.
James (Salty Dog)>

Clown Trigger/Compatibility 9/23/10
Hello crew.
<Hi John>
Quick question regarding the addition of a Clown Trigger to my FOWLR "aggressive" tank. The tank is 5x2x2 feet with lots of live rock and hiding spots plus a sump including a bigger-than-required skimmer. The current residents are a 6 inch Aussie tusk, 4 inch Picasso and a 4 inch Lawnmower Blenny. So far everyone is getting along and have been together for just under two years.
<I'd keep it that way and would not add a Clown Triggerfish. These guys are definitely an Alpha species which will quickly control/take over a tank and bad news for anything that gets in its way. Your other deficiency is tank size, these fish can easily exceed 12" in captive systems and they do grow fast.>
Water parameters are all under control. I have always admired clown triggers, yet am fully aware of their nature! Is there any hope that by adding a tiny specimen, around 2 inches, that they will all live in harmony? Your previous help and advice has kept me sane on may occasions!
Thanks for the great site.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Clown Trigger/Compatibility 9/23/10 - 9/26/10

Thanks for your prompt reply.
<You're welcome, John.>
How about adding a Yellow Tang as the final fish instead of the Clown Trigger? Would he cope as the last fish added with the Picasso and tusk?
<Problem I see here is that both the Tusk Fish and Triggerfish will grow to nearly 8-10 inches and real estate will be cramped in the future. If you do not plan to upgrade to a larger tank in the future, I would not add any more fish that can outgrow your system. On to the Yellow Tang, this fish is not of the same demeanor as your Triggerfish which can/will get more aggressive with age so therefore I would not recommend for your present system.
Thanks again.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger.   9/14/10
<Hello Kellvin.>
My fish store is bringing in a Japanese Dragon Eel for me. 25-30cm.
Currently I have a show Clown Triggerfish 25cm and a Banded eel and some grouper. Can the dragon eel be kept together?
<Nothing I would recommend.>
Lastly, can dragon eel tolerate Seachem Cupramine?
<Although it might not die instantly, no moray eel should be brought into contact with copper containing products of any sort.>
Thank you with God Bless. Kellvin.
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger.
Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger II, 09/15/10

Hi Marco,
<Hello Kelvin.>
Thank you for your quick respond. You mean that the Dragon eel will attack the groupers 15cm to 20cm and the trigger? Thank you very much.
<I rather see problems with the banded eel in the long run, which may/will get eaten as soon as the Dragon eel is able to. Groupers of adequate size are generally better tank mates for eels than triggers. They often
accompany eels in the wild, the two even hunt together. In addition, a Clown trigger of 25 cm can pose a severe threat to a young (25-30 cm) dragon eel. Therefore, I consider the fish community you asked about as not so ideal. This does not mean it won't work in every case, but implies that the chances are not too high. Consequently, I won't recommend it.>
Regards Kellvin
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Japanese Dragon Eel and clown trigger.
Hi Marco,
<Hello Kellvin.>
Oops I forgot to ask you, can I add my Clown Trigger of 25cm on my 300g tank consist of angelfish average size of 6-10 inches? Thank you.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clntrigart.htm. Younger Clown trigger can often be kept with various larger fishes, but once grown many if not most of them become rather aggressive towards their tank mates.
Bob put it this way: "almost always becomes something of a total terror with growth/age". Consider this when putting the trigger with other fishes.
Regards Kellvin
<Cheers, Marco.>

Keeping a clown and a queen trigger together   9/6/2010
Hi crew. I have a 400 gallon tank and am considering buying a 2" clown trigger and a 2" queen trigger to be the only 2 inhabitants. I was wondering if you think given the tank size, and that they both understand they are brutes, if they could co-exist as adults in this environment.
Thank you for your advice.
<Mmm, a dangerous proposition... they may co-exist forever, for a good long time (a year or more) or suddenly turn on each other. Not what I'd do. Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger (I Hope You Planned For/Know What You're In For!) -- 06/13/10
<<Hello Andrea>>
I have recently sold all of my corals and wish to make my tank a fish only.
I am doing so because I have three children under 8 years old and am finding less time for my aquarium.
Hey, their homework is my homework too!!
<<Hee-hee! I do understand'¦but hope this doesn't equate to neglect of the aquarium>>
I really like my Green Star Polyps and my Xenia corals, so did not sell them. I did however bring home a Clown Triggerfish
<<Ah'¦'Triggerus reallymeanus''¦[grin]'¦a bruiser of a fish for sure. I hope this tank is large (100g+) and you plan on this being the 'only' inhabitant. Did you do 'your' homework on this fish before you bought it? Do search WWM re, and start reading here and among all of the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/ >>
and would like to know if the Trigger will graze on my Green Star Polyps and Xenia.
<<The Xenia much more so than the more noxious GSP'¦but even these may fall to this fish>>
I do not have any invertebrates, I know he would definitely eat them, was curious about the corals.
<<This fish will eat most anything (from other fishes/corals/inverts to heater cords)'¦and has an 'attitude' that will grow with the fish>>
Thanks, Andrea
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>

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

Re: Clown Trigger - 6/11/10
<Hi Terry>
Thank you for your reply,
<No worries>
I stopped by a LFS and witnessed first hand exactly what you were talking about! They had a small maybe 1.5 at best terrorizing everything that was in the small tank, which everything in it's tank was at least four times it's size, I'll take your advice and pass!
<Yes.. best kept alone as a 'pet' with just you for company IMO>
When you said my system is too small, what did you mean?
<I have in the past kept both N. Lituratus & P. Imperator in 180 gallon tanks and can say with certainty that as time goes by and these fish grow, they both need much more room than this. Uncrowded 8 foot 240+ systems at a minimum IMO>
I should upgrade to a bigger tank?
<I would, and have. The bigger the better for these>
It's been running for over a year now with no problems,
<The fishes are small at the moment. When they both get to 8 inches you'll see what I mean, and they will (or should be given the space to) top out at over a foot each eventually>
I tend to over feed, I grow some corals in my refugium with no problems.
<then this is not a refugium as such.. needs to be devoid of predatory life>
I was wanting to add another fish just not sure what to add, I was looking at the trigger family or maybe a small lion.
<Most of the smaller Lions are difficult to feed when there are other vigorous feeders (such as Triggers & Pomacanthus) around so a Lion might not be such a good idea. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-11/fm/feature/ The only possibility I can think of is the 'Fuzzy Dwarf' Dendrochirus brachypterus which is a bit more outgoing than most. As far as Triggerfish go, there are plenty to choose from. Look to ones from Melichthys, Sufflamen, Xanthichthys & possibly Rhinecanthus genus.. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/
but you really need a bigger tank before you add any other fishes here at all. Sorry again!>
Sent from my iPhone

Re: Clown Trigger, incomp.   6/13/10
<Hello Terry>
Thanks again for your reply and wisdom!
<No problem at all>
I'll take your advice and leave things be! <I should> My wife and I are in the process of building a new bigger house, what better time to upgrade to a bigger tank system as well!
<Yes indeed! Do write back if you require any direction with such a project!>
Thanks again, Terry FL

Crack!!! In a tank that is.... Shoehorning livestock into a smaller tank. 10/7/2009
To whom it may concern,
<Hi Brad, MikeV here.>
I purchased a used 96Lx30Wx30H aquarium.
Last night I found a crack along the back left corner that was slowly, thank god, leaking water.
<Lucky - that could have been catastrophic.>
I have a 90 gallon (48Lx18Wx24H) sitting empty in the garage so I transferred over about a 100lbs of live rock, sand and water to the tank.
As well as hooking up the bulkheads and pvc to the Reeflo dart.
All the fish I had in the 360 gallon aquarium were 15 green chromis, a 2-3" clown trigger and a 2-3" clown tang. That is all I really wanted to stock the big tank with in the first place.
<Actually a very sensible stocking plan considering your choices.>
Now all the fish are in 90 gallon. Their is plenty of flow in the 90 gallon. I have the return dart pump connected to two vertex Mocean 2000s and 1 coral view 3000 g/hr powerhead circulating the water. Room to swim and rock work to hide. My question is, how long can I keep these fish in the 90 gallon?
<A few months perhaps....The trigger and the tang will not tolerate being crowded for very long before you start seeing some serious aggression issues. The chromis will be caught in the crossfire>
I may not have money to buy another big tank for a long time, like a year or two. Maybe more. Thanks for all your help.
<If getting the tank replaced soon is not a viable option, you should consider returning some of the fish to the store or finding a new home for them:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangsysfaqs.htm >

Re: Crack!!! In a tank that is.... Shoehorning livestock into a smaller tank. 10/8/2009
<Hi Brad.>
Thanks for your quick response!!
<My pleasure.>
If I return the clown tang. How long could I keep the clown trigger in the 90 gallon?
<A few months longer than you could without the Clown Tang. Remember, these fish get BIG.>
He/She is my favorite fish. I do not want to make my clown trigger suffer in a small environment. I will obviously be looking for signs of stress due to confinement in a much smaller tank.
<Look for sulking\hiding and\or hyper aggression.>
What can I do to improve the clown triggers chances of holding on for a year or two in a 90 gallon?
<It would have to be the only fish in the tank, and even then you are gambling. Simplest analogy I can give is this: You could live in your bathroom, or even your bedroom closet provided all of your biological needs
were met. After a period of time though, you would not be very happy about it.>
Thanks once again
<No Problem.>
<MikeV>Re: Tank and stocking questions -- 09/14/09
Hi there Mister Fenner. I hope all is well with you. I am giving you an update on my tank. My nitrates have been between 5 and 10 for a week now!.
I really think the combination of the vodka dosing, extra algae in refugium and regular power-jetting of the live rock is working in combination nicely. I introduced the raccoon butterfly yesterday and all went very well at first. Then the huge Atlantic blue tang saw him and chased him mercilessly around the tank. He has been a bully for some time to other fish as well. It took me 90 minutes to catch him and I put him in the 40 gallon return tank for now.
How long do you think I should keep him there, or should I simply take him to the LFS and let them find a new home for him.
<Give him a few days of "time out" and see how s/he does>
My next problem was a heart breaker. As soon as the clown trigger realized the only other fish his size was gone he began to take on the behavior you warned me about for years.
<Oh oh>
He chased every fish non stop all over the entire tank without rest.
Everyone was getting stressed to the max. I tearfully removed him and took him to the LFS to find a suitable home. Many shop there who have 1,000 gallon and up systems with sharks and the like so I know they will find him a good home.
I would like to know before I have to go through this heart break again if you think I could try another baby clown trigger or if he would probably just grow up and do the same.
<Ultimately... likely the same, with growth/age>
The fish in the tank are all at total peace for the first time in 4 years and I want to try and keep it that way. The raccoon is working on my aiptasia which is very nice. I do still want to add another queen or French
angel to replace the one I lost and am looking for one in the 4-5 inch range. I think if I do not get another clown and if the Atlantic blue goes back to the LFS I will consider my tank terminally stocked after adding the angel. Thanks again for all your help and advice mister Fenner. It is priceless to me.
<Am glad to aid your efforts John>
The fact that a man such as yourself takes the time to assemble a staff and help us all the time just blows me away. You are the unsung hero's in the fish keepers world and I salute you all!!!!.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Clown Triggerfish, comp.  4/13/08 Greetings. I read your site constantly and have read the many posts regarding clown triggers and the terror's they tend to be, but I have a question for you. I have a 450 gallon FOWLR system with a deep sand bed and 800 pounds of live rock, dual sump refugiums, dual power jets for cross currents and extra water movement, very aggressive in sump protein skimming ( I get a quart of smelly waste every 2 days or so), and weekly 12.5% water changes. I have a 10" clown trigger with the same 8 fish he has grown up with since they all were babies almost 3 years ago. There has never been any fighting these 3 years and he has always seemed like one of the most docile fish in the entire tank. Do I need to keep a close eye on him still at this point or do I maybe have the rare "docile" clown trigger?. <What is the cost of freedom? Constant vigilance... I would NOT trust this fish... can turn> His tankmates are a niger, Bluechin, red Coris, Lunare, Aussie harlequin, princess parrotfish, orange toadfish, queen angel, and Atlantic blue tang, ( all in the 8 to 10" range) and a 2 foot golden moray. They have all grown up together with the clown added last after the others. Thank you for your time. <I would not add more fishes... nor feed "live, fish like" foods... Bob Fenner>

Clown Triggerfish/Compatibility 2/5/08 I need your help. I have 75 gallon tank with 8" Clown Trigger and Blue Devil Damselfish. My question is can I put a Dottyback in there with them. I was thinking of the purple one! The two fish have been pals for 3 1/2 yrs, been over a year since I have gotten a fish. If not then I suppose I could settle for a couple more damsels. <Adam, do not add anymore fish. Your tank is too small for the Clown Trigger. A triggerfish this size should be kept in something upwards of 100 gallons. To answer your specific question, the Clown Triggerfish is one of the most aggressive fish that are commonly kept. It should only be kept with other large aggressive fish.> thank you, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Adam.

Tank mates, SW... Triggers and Lions NOT tog.   -- 03/09/07 Hello all! <<Hi Brent.>> I have to say that I have never come across such knowledgeable and caring people when it comes to providing a home for such wondrous creatures of the sea. <<Ah, thank you. I'm glad to help.>> I have been reading through all the information on the sight religiously.  I came across an article that stated one could keep a clown trigger and a Volitans lionfish together if the tank was not over crowded and provide lots of hiding places. <<I do not personally think this is a great idea.>> This summer I plan on getting 96x24x24 (240g long) aquarium.  The clown trigger is a must have for myself.  I was also planning on getting an emperor angelfish and a snowflake eel.  Once I read the article about the clown trigger and the Volitans lionfish living together, I though I might get a Volitans lionfish fish for the aquarium. My question is, before I make a mistake, can I house all these fish in the aquarium? <<I would skip the lion.>> Furthermore, is the trigger going to kill the Volitans? <<Clowns can be very aggressive; the lion's spines are certainly at risk.>> The clown trigger would be the last fish introduced to the tank. <<Wise.>> If the tank mates I have chosen for the clown trigger are not advised, what could be some possible alternative suggestions?  I really would like an eel to go with the trigger as well as a large angel.  I just don't want to over crowd the aquarium. <<I think you'll be fine here.  Provide broken lines of sight, and be prepared for aggression, but skip the lion.  There are dwarf lions that don't require mammoth tanks, if you have your heart set on one.>> Thanks for all your hard work and dedication! Brent <<Glad to help! Lisa.>>

Clown Trigger I was reading articles/emails on your website and read one in which you advised someone against adding a baby clown trigger to their tank. You said that it may "eventually kill all tankmates". I have a clown trigger (he's about 1 1/2 inches) and he lives very peaceably with my maroon clown, Naso Tang, Yellow tang, and Supermale Banana Wrasse. I've had him for about a year now and all of his tank mates are bigger than he is. He has never shown any aggression towards any of them to my knowledge. The maroon clown often times "picks" on him (slightly) when he enters her territory but he never responds with aggression. Do I really have cause to worry? Will he one day wake up and suddenly become a killer? Will he eventually outgrow the others and then become aggressive? Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks for your help! :) Elizabeth K. Birdwell <Hi Elizabeth....you don't mention the size of your tank, but to house these fish you need a heck of a lot of space. This is a 16" fish! Here's the poop on Clown Triggers: "The genus Balistoides: two species. Both species of Balistoides are sold in the trade, and both are in the Undulatus and Queen Trigger aggression range, i.e. MEAN.  The Clown Trigger, Balistoides conspicillum (Bloch & Schneider 1801), grows to sixteen or so inches. Get one small, and feed it sparingly... and keep your eye on it and your other livestock... this is an Alpha Alpha species that typically takes over a system of any size... and woe be to the tankmates that don't get and stay out of its way." There you have it.....they can be kept, but keep an eye out as he gets bigger, they grow bigger and more dominant at the same time, not unusual in the animal world. Craig> 

Balistoides conspicillum (Clown trigger compatibility) I am sorry that I didn't inform you that I already have the 180gal (72" X 24" X 24") with the 13" vlamingi tang and 9" emperor angelfish already in the aquarium.  The 75 gallon tank quarantine and/or emergency aquarium) is the aquarium in which I was going to place my clown triggerfish after I quarantined him for 4 weeks.   <Okay. Good idea.> And I was planning on purchasing an aquarium twice the size of my 180gal in the next couple years.  My question was do you think the tang, angel and (10") clown trigger will get along in the larger aquarium (180) or do you think he will be too aggressive?   <I would spend some time watching this guy at the store. Personally, I never buy a fish without spending at least two hours staring into the tank at the LFS. The aggressiveness that is in question exists in this fish species whether or not they have large quarters. They are accustomed to swimming in the ocean and they are aggressive there too! The smaller quarters simply aggravate this aggressive tendency and increase the overall stress level within the tank. IMO I think he will probably be okay for a while since his tankmates are rather rough and tumble also. But alas...there are no guarantees. The last trigger that I had was totally passive the first year that I had him. Then suddenly he began eating the corals and biting every fish in sight. You never can tell what a trigger will do. They change fast! But they are wonderful pets> By the looks of things I think they should have enough "personal space" but after all I am not a fish. <Ha! Good point! The tank is big enough to hold this guy for a while. Just keep in mind that a clown trigger tops out at almost 20"> Well thank you for your much needed advice and next time I write I will be clearer on the info that I give. <The clarity wasn't your fault...I just made a mistake.> Ian Behnk <I'm glad that I could be of assistance to you! David Dowless>

Re: Balistoides conspicillum (Clown trigger) Good afternoon gentlemen <Greetings!> After reading your email I have thought about a couple things 1) I am extremely interested in obtaining this fish and 2) I am going to do everything in my power and budget to get him. Do you think he would be compatible with the (9") Pomacanthus imperator and the (13") vlamingi tang by themselves? <IMO This is already quite a load for a 75> I know these fish grow to about 4 feet combined but in another year and a half I plan on upgrading to an aquarium double this. <But what happens if you don't upgrade?> Also these fish combined produce a lot of waste and are messy feeders, if I were to add the trigger would it throw the bio-load off whack? <well...the best indicator of how heavy your bioload is relies on water testing. Do your numbers ALWAYS come out perfect? 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and low nitrates? If your nitrates stay really high (40+) or you ever have ANY level of ammonia or nitrite, you're already maxed out and then some!> I try to keep my nitrates as close as possible to zero and my phosphates low so I don't have any un-wanted algae. <Very wise> I have decided that the 4" clown triggerfish can be placed in the already established 75gallon tank until he grows more and then I will place him in the 180 once I have my future aquarium put together.   <If this were my tank I would wait until I had appropriate housing. Would you buy a dog or cat and put him in a 3"X 3" box and wait (possibly years) until you could get something bigger? How long is your tank... 48" or less? Does 26" (and growing) sound like a lot of life in a tank that's probably 18" wide and 48" or less long? UHHHHH> One of my main concerns is I have had mixed opinions on the aggressiveness of this fish. <No mistake about it my friend. These fish tend to be very aggressive. Many unsuspecting aquarists have had their hand or fingers bitten by this guy.> My LFS owner put him in a 90 gallon holding tank which was (36" X 36" X 36")  with a 14" broomtail wrasse and he said within an hours time the trigger was chasing the large wrasse around the aquarium.   <Good observation! It would be unusual if this didn't happen! That's another reason why this fish shouldn't be kept in a small tank with other fish> I think the reason the trigger went after the wrasse because the tank was way to small for two 10+ fish. I don't know if that would happen to my fish or not since the angel and the tang are much faster than the clown and will not stay in its way.  But on the other hand I don't want my fish to live in fear the rest of their lives.   <IMO adding this fish would likely create a disturbance in a tank this size> So I haven't any idea on what I am going to do.   <Here's my suggestion: Leave the aquarium the way it is or settle for another interesting fish that will stay smaller and won't be quite as mean. Then when you get the 180 get all of your fish small and watch them grow. Believe me... watching them grow is really rewarding and healthier for the fish> I am not going to purchase this fish unless it is in the best interest of the fish. <You must decide for yourself. Read all the information that you can find. My opinion is leave this fish out for now. The tank is too small> Well thank you all again for providing this wonderful service to us aquarists. <Thank you for the compliment! Take care! David Dowless> Ian Behnk

Scarlet cleaner shrimp and clown triggerfish together I am thinking of getting a saltwater fish tank and buying a scarlet cleaner shrimp and a clown triggerfish. Do you think I will be able to put them in the same tank or will the clown triggerfish nip/ kill the shrimp. Thanks Josh <Have seen stranger things, but the vast likelihood is that the trigger will consume the shrimp. Bob Fenner>

Re: Scarlet cleaner shrimp and clown triggerfish together I just went to a store and they had very small clown triggerfish about 2-3''. The Scarlets there were almost bigger without their antennae. do you think that, that would make a difference? <Mainly just smaller bites, longer meal. Please read through our Triggerfish sections (articles and FAQs files) starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm on to "selection", "compatibility". Bob Fenner>

An Addition To A Nasty Tank? What are the chances of a six inch clown trigger getting along with my fish which include a 10 inch Volitans lion fish, 4 inch porcupine puffer, 3.5 inch maroon clown, 4 inch yellow tang, two small domino damsels and a seven inch Popsicle squirrel fish? <I don't like the idea... unless you are dealing with a tank that is several hundred gallons...I wouldn't do it...> It would be going in a 120 gallon tank with reef lights and  some nice caves to hide in. I have read your information on clown triggers and I am puzzled on whether or not this fish would make a good last edition to the tank. Would you take a chance and put this fish into the tank or would you say its not a wise decision? <To be quite frank- you're just talking about too much life in too small a tank...I'm glad that you're taking the time to think it through before you act- but I'd shelve these plans in the interest of your animals. Take care! Regards, Scott F>

The Lion And The Trigger Hi Bob: <Scott F. at the ready today> I have a nice 120 gal tank with 40 pounds of live Rock, I have 2 blue damsel fish 2" and my clown trigger 4" I recently bought a 3" Lion fish and they get along just fine. My question is should I be worried that the small lion fish stinging the trigger?? <Actually, I'm much more concerned about the trigger using the lionfish as his personal chew toy at some point! Do keep a close eye on these guys to make sure that no one gets hurt> Because they get along just fine but swim very close all the time, should I be worry about it???. <Again-keep observing them closely for signs of aggression, and be prepared to intervene if necessary> And the other question is that I know that lion fish take a few days to adapt to their new tank to start feeling at home, and start eating properly, but do you suggest some personal tips to get him to eat??? <I'd try tempting the lion with some frozen krill, strips of fresh clam, squid, etc. Lionfish should adapt to a "non-living" diet in a short time. It's not mandatory, or beneficial, for that matter, to feed them living fishes permanently> I only intend to keep these two fish, because I want them to enjoy of the space and grow with out any problems. <So glad to hear that, because these two fishes will need lots of room to be happy and live long, healthy lives> My final question is that one of the dorsal spines of the lion fish is bended (or broken), do they grow a new one or it will just fall, and will it be a problem for the fish??? <Generally, this should not be a problem for the fish, if he is otherwise in good health> Any suggestions will be appreciated ... and please give me some pointers of how to avoid any pre-problems between these two fish. I all ready read a lot of research, one of my personal favorites its http://reefkeeoing.com/issues/2002-11/fm/feature/ there is a lot of information about all lion species. PS. who its more likely to hurt the trigger hurting the clown trigger or the lion hurting the trigger???? <Well, once again- I'd be a bit more concerned over the trigger inflicting damage to the lionfish.. Keep providing excellent water conditions (regular water changes), quality food, and don't add any more fishes, and these guys should live long healthy lives in your tank. However, they will ultimately need to be moved to a larger aquarium (like 200 gallons or more) to be truly happy in the long run...Good luck! Regards, Scott F >

Baby clown trigger... gentle... for NOW! Thank you so much for actually writing back to me. I know I'm a pain, but I love your alls feedback.  OK my baby clown trigger is eating fine. He comes out anytime I put food in the tank.<yes, they are hungry all the time> He is rather shy though, is just because he is like this or is it just cause he is new and still getting used to his surroundings.<He will turn into a menace soon enough!> He still has the cloudy eyes but do you think THIS IS A BACTERIAL thing or FUNGUS?<Not fungus, bacterial... it should get better with good food and good water quality> Or was it just a shipping thing that he'll get over.<should get over it, but not a shipping thing-could be stress, this doesn't always happen when fish are shipped> I wrote to fishsupply and the owner personally called me last night kinda shocked about the fish I received.<ok> He said he picked it out himself because he knew I was so anxious to get it.<ok> He told me it was the most active one and he was perfectly fine when bagged.<ok> He also assured me that the cloudy eyes would go away and that it was just a stressful shipping. WHAT DO YOU THINK? <could be the truth, I didn't see this fish before it was shipped so I really don't know its original condition> I mean he was positive it would go away.<It should> This is my favorite fish, my prize fish..<Are very nice fish, but choose its tankmates very wisely. You might not believe me now but clown triggers become very, very aggressive fish (I know from experience)> I don't want him to get away.  Also he was scaring me today because when I get real close to the tank and he sees me he just lies down on the live rock.. COMPLETELY motionless, PLAYING DEAD.... Is this normal? <yes, they exhibit this weird behavior... they lock their dorsal trigger and they are almost impossible to remove from the rocks> Is this a trait of this clown triggerfish? <of all triggerfish> Or is he in fact dying? <He is ok> PLEASE WRITE BACK, your feedback means the world to me <well your trigger should be alright. He is eating so that's a good sign. I would not be too concerned about this, Good Luck, IanB>

Tiny clown trigger getting ready for the feast of a lifetime! Hi! I love the website. Just had a question. I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank. It currently houses four damsels, one clown a blue-headed wrasse and a snail. We just added a Clown Triggerfish ( I know. very aggressive, but only as big as the size of my thumb). <That's what I love about this season, tiny clown triggers are readily available.> I was just wondering, because of small size could it grow accustomed to smaller fish? <A little, but it will likely surprise you some day and massacre everything.> If not ( I'm assuming once big all small fish Could be meals <You got it>) what other tank mates could be considered for this fish, and should we introduce them early so the fish can 'grow up' together and not be as aggressive towards another? <Well, first keep in mind that clown triggers max out at just under 20 inches. Tankmates for him would include groupers, lionfish <Maybe. RMF>, puffers, and at this point pretty much anything that's bigger than it. Also keep in mind that all the fish I mentioned get huge as well so a larger tank will be in order if you plan on keeping these critters happy. Enjoy! -Kevin> Sorry so many questions in big paragraph. Thanks for your time.

Adding A Clown Trigger hi guys!!<Hi, MikeD here>  I know you hear it all the time but you guys are awesome! <Those are the Pro votes. There are two sides!>   the knowledge that I have gained by just going through your website has been immeasurable!<Me too!>  thank you guys.<You're welcome!>  there has to be tens of  thousands of people that you guys have helped like me out there.  anyways, I know you are busy so I'll get right to it.  my tank has been up and running for two years<Excellent, as it should be well stabilized.> and the set up is as follows: 270 gallon tank, crushed coral substrate, a Rio 2100 and a Rio 1100 pointed on opposite sides of the tank for water movement, 100 lbs of live rock, UV.. sterilizer, CPR Bak pak2 with skimmer and bio-bale,  20 gallon hang on refugium with bio-balls (just for growing some Caulerpa for the tangs and to compete for nutrients with nuisance algae), and a Eheim 2028 canister filter with Ehfimech and tri-base pelletized carbon.<Nice system!> I have very aggressive tank with:  7"  Indian black trigger , 5" Picasso trigger, 6" regal blue tang, 7" blue-lined grouper, 4.5" maroon clown-gold stripes with a small bubble tip anemone, 3.5" yellow tang, 5.5" sailfin tang, 4" puffer, and a slightly beat up 3.5" puffer (I didn't know that puffers were so territorial, the other puffer has been harassing him constantly)<Not all are. You might want to consider trading in one puffer or the other, as it's likely to get . everybody gets along adequately (except the puffers) with the occasional nipped fin here and there.  Believe it or not, the regal blue tang actually is the dominant fish in the tank right now (I know that will probably change with time and growth of the triggers, but he is running things right now) <Not necessarily. Tangs can be VERY dominant fish when larger, and are often heard humming ,"Mack the Knife" as they swim back and forth!>.  my water readings are good except that my nitrates are high (I suspect that the BioBale in the Bak Pak or bio-balls in the fuge might have something to do with that)<As well as the  high bioload, which will worsen as the fish grow.>.  I do a 25% water change monthly. <With fish that heavily tax systems by their food consumption and subsequent excreta, sometimes  a 5 gal/week change works better than a once monthly plan. There's less build up this way, plus it's a smaller job, making it less likely to be postponed.> my question is this, if you believe my set up is okay (any advice or comments would greatly be appreciated) and you believe I have enough room, do you think it would be okay to add a 2.5-3" clown trigger?<Honestly, NO>  I know that they are really aggressive and can become meaner with age, but I think since he will be the last addition to the tank and he will be almost the smallest guy on the block, it might work out<It will, FOR A WHILE, and then the killing starts. You are afflicted with an ailment common to many of us at one time or another, which I call the Juvenile Fish Syndrome, or JFS. You have a larger tank and apparently LOTS of room, but the key fact here is FOR NOW, as those kids are growing. All are hardy and with potential to survive and get LARGE, which is going to REALLY tax your system, and possibly set the stage for a major epidemic as the crowding gets worse.>  Let me know what you think.  your input, whatever it may be, will be greatly appreciated.<LOL! I hope so. Envision a football swimming around in your tank with a buzz saw for a mouth and that's close to the reality of a larger Clown Trigger.  Mother Nature doesn't dress fish in regalia that garish without good cause, and hiding isn't the reason.> Lucius

Clown trigger 27 Aug 2004 Hey this is Steven again, <Hey Steven, MacL here with you tonight.> I decided to skip the shark idea and I am starting to take an interest in the clown triggers. I have a 48x12x15 aquarium and was wondering how long I could keep a small one in that size tank before upgrading. <I don't mean to be wishywashy on your answer but the answer to that is that it varies by fish.  How fast they grow, what they get to eat, etc.  It also will depend on the competition of other fish. Good luck MacL> What fish can live with a clown trigger? I am currently upgrading from a 75 gallon to a 240 gallon. I made out a list of fish that I plan to add to this new tank. But realized after further research that the clown trigger would eventually as it matures, kill some of the fish that I had planned to get. Pakistan Butterflyfish Imperator Angelfish Zebra Moray Flame Hawkfish Achilles Tang Paddle fin wrasse and an orange spotted blenny, *maybe a bicolor Foxface in addition to my current fish in the 75 gal Arothron Reticularis Puffer Yellow Tang ocellaris clown 4 yellow tail damsels and my black and white banded Percula clown I was wondering which fish the clown trigger would kill or hurt so I can substitute them for the trigger. << Well I'm not sure if you meant that the clowns and damsels would be in the same tank or not, but I wouldn't have them together with the trigger.  I would avoid that combination, as well as the orange spotted blenny.  The rest of the fish should be fine.  It is important to consider size, because a large Achilles tang is much different from a small Achilles tang.  >> Also what fish are really good and hardy with the clown trigger? << Well the fish you listed are not known for being hardy.  I would say the Pakistan butterfly and the Achilles tang are poor choices for a new aquarium.  I would be taking this slowly and adding them at a much later time. >> Thanks <<  Blundell  >> Clown Trigger Pairs? Hello WWM crew, hope everything is well with you. Bob and Anthony, I saw you both at IMAC and was very informed and entertained with your presentations. You both are doing wonders for the hobby. Here are my questions: I have a 10" Clown trigger I have had for many years, and it is the family pet. It is in a 250 gallon aquarium with a few other fish. My question is have you seen many people ever keep them in pairs, especially at larger sizes? <Not I... in captivity or the wild. They must "get together" some time... but every time I've seen two near each other one was fleeing or they were fighting> I have seen it once before in the 18 years I have been in the hobby, but always thought they may have been collected together. Sometimes I use a mirror on one side of the aquarium to give my fish some stimulus, and the Clown trigger will sit in front of the mirror and orient its body vertically in front of it and sometimes almost upside down. The Clown never acts aggressively towards its reflection and seems to enjoy it. If I move the mirror it will follow it. Do you think it may be possible to add another Clown trigger to the aquarium? <Doubtful> I know it is risky, especially with the unknown behavior of a possible new trigger, but do you think I would be nuts to try? <Not qualified to render an opinion re your mental state, but I would at least have other quarters nearby and only do this when I could be present for the first few hours... Our old company fabricated acrylic plus other materials systems, some quite large (tens of thousands of gallons) and at times tried to put in more than one Clown Trigger... with WW III eventually breaking out> Over the years I have read everything under the sun about triggers, but do you know of any sexual dichromatism or dimorphism (I know I'm reaching here)  for Clown triggers? <Not for this balistid, but you know there are ones that are quite different sexually>   I am determined to find out. Any references would be welcome. Thank you. PS. When should we expect another book from you guys?   <Perhaps another half year from now... it looks like we'll have to divide the reef fishes into two volumes. Bob Fenner>

Clown & Bursa Trigger Coexistence I currently have a four-five inch Clown Trigger which I really enjoy. His/her only current tank mate is a comparable sized Banner fish. <Yikes... an uneasy existence for the Heniochus> I didn't originally want to add any other triggerfish. However, I have been contemplating adding a Bursa Trigger into the mix. <Not a good idea> The particular fish that I have had my eye on is roughly the same size as my clown and is in good health. Currently, the three would be sharing a 90 gallon tank but would move into a 220 by the end of the summer. <Still not likely large enough for long> I have excellent water filtration, via: an over-sized wet/dry, UV, and very efficient protein skimmer. Is this a bad idea in a 90 gallon? <Yes, bad> Would the 220 even be enough room? <Not likely> What would make other good additions outside the trigger family? Thank you very much for you time and expertise!  Sincerely, Jon <Please... see WWM re... trigger, Balistoides compatibility. Bob Fenner> 

Clown Triggerfish Compatibility  - 5/2/2006 Hello! <Hi> I'm new to the hobby and am in the process of planning my first marine tank. I want to keep a healthy tank and ensure that I am doing things correctly. <Great.> I saw pictures of the clown trigger and immediately fell in love with it. I'm sure you have had this question asked before: What can I put in with a clown trigger?  I haven't completely decided on the size of the tank but it will be most likely in the 75-90 gallon range, depending on the relative increase of cost as the tank goes up in size. After doing a bit of research, I found mixed opinions. Some suggest that the clown trigger should be kept alone and some say they can be put with other aggressive fish that can defend itself.    I would love to put, in order of preference, a volitans lionfish, a boxfish/puffer and a tang. I saw a volitans lionfish at the LFS and it was gigantic. I guess I could settle for a smaller species if the volitans is not manageable in a 90gal. Are there any other clown trigger compatible species that you can recommend me to look into? <These species you list are not clown trigger compatible.> Also, I found mixed information regarding the adult size of the clown trigger. How large can they get when raised in captivity?  <They can grow up to 1' 8' which will soon make your 75-90 gallon tank much too small.> Finally, are there any invertebrates that could potentially be in this tank? <None that I could recommend.  Here is further reading on that family of fish. Do your homework on this guy before buying. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/triggers2.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Tankmate Hi Bob, How are you? <fine, thx> I think my clown trigger is a bit lonely beside eating it only swim up and down the front aquarium. Is it a good idea to get a tankmate? <Possibly... do it sooner rather than... they get "meaner" with age, isolation.> Beside basses, is there other good tankmate? <Many choices... different sorts of puffers, wrasses, many more... read through the site: Home Page > Hope to hear from you again. David. >> <Bob Fenner>

Trigger tankmate Hi Bob, I am shopping around for a tankmate for my clown trigger. My clown is about 9" in size and living in a 42" x 24" x 27" ( h ) tank with 2 damsels. <Not a good gamble> I still feel that it need a tankmate. What is the best tankmate for his size? And how big is the tankmate? <No need for a tankmate... you are already enough social company> I was pondering of getting a cleaner fish too, is it a good move? <No> Very concern, <I do hope/pray that you and I are not reincarnated as this sort of tank-mate... Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger Compatibility: a Few Q's Hey Bob, thanks for your previous replies......... This question is really a waste of both your time and mine, but apologies for even asking, but I must ask it for if I were not to ask it, and later regret I would be really annoyed with myself. <Then please do my friend in fish> As you recall, I was hoping to keep a clown trigger in my 84"x18"x18" (131 gal) tank, along with my Emperor angel, yellow tang, and red sea 4 line cleaner wrasse. You strongly advised against "keeping a clown trigger with these fish in this sized system". <yes> Here is the stupid question: Is there anyway that the clown trigger and Emperor angel could be kept together in this sized system ??? Even if there were nothing else kept in there with them (or if something was else was suitable to be housed with them) ??? Given that the clown trigger has been in the tank since he was about 1.5", and is now about 3", and is yet to show aggression. <Likely yes... at least for some time... there is a percentage of Clown Triggers that will/do grow to become terrors in such settings... if yours is such, it will at some point attack the Angel... But I have seen, and can relate anecdotes of this and other "aggressive species" growing up with potential and real food fishes and leaving them alone...> I know the answer to this is still "NO", for the same reasons you said the last time, but if I got rid of the trigger now, and then hear in 6 months that they would probably would be ok, well that would really gut me :-) So, sorry again for wasting your time, I just need to make sure and absolutely certain that I am doing the right thing removing the trigger, before I do it. If the answer is "NO" , which I am 99% certain it is, then just one word "NO" at the top will suffice as a reply :-) <No worries... I would not do this mix... for fear of the consequences... the incalculable risk is up to you... Have you gathered others opinions?> Thanks for reading. Cheers, Matt (who really is finding it hard to let this little guy go) <I understand. Bob Fenner>

Clown triggerfish Sorry to bug you with another question but you are absolutely the best source in the world! I have a 150g tank with a yellow tang, Naso tang, Lunare wrasse, emperor angel adult), sea urchin and now a 4" clown trigger that I just added.  <Yikes... am sure you know that the last can be... "unpredictable"> I've always wanted a clown trigger but I have been scared about what they can do to the other fish. I always bought the baby clown triggers so they could grow up with the other fish and not be so mean, but, they always died after a few months!?  <Hmm, unusual... might have been the source.> So, I decided to get a little bigger one and hopefully this would work. My Naso tang is about 7", yellow tang about 5", Lunare wrasse about 7", and my emperor angel about 5" . I put the trigger in last night and he wasn't too bad but I could see how the other fish were afraid of him and didn't mess with him. He nipped at the Naso and the wrasse-2 fish that are a lot bigger than him! Are there certain things I should keep an eye on or try to do to keep him more at ease. Feed twice a day instead of once or something like that.  <Keeping an eye on him/her is key... More frequent feeding not likely helpful> I have a lot of coral so there are a lot of hiding places. Also it was the first day he was in the tank he might just be trying to assert himself. Are the other fish that I have able to hold their own?  <The ones listed are amongst the more able to do so. Only time can/will tell how well they'll "get along".> Thanks for all your help-you're the best! Kevin Ballard <You're welcome my friend, good luck. Bob Fenner>

Baby clown triggerfish Hello My name is Ian Behnk, and I was reading over your site and a lot of other information and was getting mixed information on keeping 2 (3") baby clown triggerfish in the same aquarium, what is your opinion?  <Likely to chew on each other a bit...> I have a 100gallon tank with Aust. Harlequin tusk fish and 1 baby clown triggerfish. P.S. I LOVE YOUR SITE <Thank you my friend. Even though your tank is good sized, I would stick with just the one Clown Trigger. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake Moray, Nitrates, Clown Trigger Hi Bob, I have a 28" Snowflake Moray in a 180 gallon tank. I have had him for six years, during which time he has grown from 16". His appetite is great, eagerly eating silversides and supermarket-bought squid, scallops and shrimp. He is also pretty active for a moray, swimming about in the full light of the tank during the day. He gets along well with his tankmates, which consist of an 18" Jewel Moray, 4" Bursa Trigger, and 7" Clown Trigger. About four weeks ago, I noticed a white spot on the outside of his eyeball. I assumed it was the result of a scratch from the usual tussle at feeding time, or perhaps from accidentally scraping up against a rock. However, the spot has not gone away. It is covering 25% of his eye, and is the color of "whiteout" you use on typewriter paper (not really grey or cloudy). The shape is irregular. His behavior is still very good. He never scratches and isn't breathing heavily, nor has his appetite diminished. But, I'm puzzled as to how to rid him of this. The only step I have taken is to lower the SG to 1.017, hoping to discourage/ kill possible parasites. I'd rather not medicate if it is not necessary, and I don't have a quarantine tank large enough to house this bruiser should I decide to pull him out & medicate. Suggestions/ ideas on what this is? <Probably a bacterial infection from some sort of physical damage. Try using one tablespoon of Epson salt per 5 gallons of water. It will help to remove fluid from behind the eye and allow the eel's immune system to rid itself of the infection.> Also, considering the hardy yet heavy feeders I am keeping (with the probable addition of a fifth fish, likely a grouper or large angel), <The grouper would be a better choice.> what should my nitrate ceiling be? I'm consistently struggling to get it to 40ppm. Is that unrealistic? Is 60-100ppm acceptable long-term with these fish? <I do not think anything over 40 to be acceptable. Try increasing the frequency and/or amounts of your water changes, aggressive protein skimming (with these guys you should have a full collection cup of skimmate the color of hot tea to coffee daily, and possibly the use of purified water.> Also, how large and aggressive do you think the clown trigger will get in this tank? <Fairly large and fairly aggressive. I am frankly surprised you have had not trouble with him and the other trigger, yet.> He has a moderately bad trigger "attitude", ok with his present company, but with some temper tantrums (biting the glass when unfed, tossing shells around, etc.), and has killed a 7" Harlequin Tusk added to the tank. Thank you for your advice! You are a great resource! Steve <Thank you for the compliment. I will be sure to pass it along. -Steven Pro>

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

Clown Trigger and Cleaner Wrasse snacks Bob, Just a quick question about the unpredictable. I have just introduced a 3" Clown Trigger into my 120g. tank. I currently have a L. cleaner wrasse that is in the process of doing his job on the new inhabitant. I have had the cleaner for two years now so my question is...are the two compatible or will the cleaner end up dinner? I take pride in the length of survival that I have been able to achieve with this fish. Doug <Only time can tell here. As you state, "unpredictable"... Have seen these two kept together, and know of many mysterious disappearance episodes. Bob Fenner>

Clown trigger and Chaetodon semilarvatus Hello Mr. Fenner, <Author/friend Anthony Calfo here in your service> I currently hold a 75 gallon tank that is about a year old supported by a 29 gallon reef/refugium. In it, I have a 4~6 inches big juvenile Clown Triggerfish. <beautiful> Would semilarvatus get along with the clown? I plan to make no more additions after the butterfly. <not at all... truly unnatural and inappropriate mix. Even if the trigger did not impose aggression, its presence and posture are a threat and stress to the butterfly species. Alas...you need another tank <wink>. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: clown trigger and Chaetodon semilarvatus Thank you very much for the quick reply. I will look for some other tankmates. - Vince <Please do read through the many "Livestocking" FAQs pages posted on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Clown trigger and friends? I've read the FAQ for the clown trigger and I've got a quick question. I've got a 5" lunare wrasse housed in an 80g Tall. Currently there is a Naso, a Saddle Back Butterfly and a Blue Spotted Toby in there with him. The Naso and Butterfly have a new home that has been running for about 7 weeks now. The Naso will move probably this week and the butterfly will go in another couple of weeks. The Blue Spot is waiting for a tank to free up at the LFS where they'll give me credit for him. So the real question is this: Will the Lunare Wrasse survive the onslaught of a 2" clown trigger? The LFS says yes. In addition she suggested a larger Maroon Clown Fish for these two. I'm dubious of the clown fish suggestion but fairly sure the lunare will hold his own. Am I on the right track? <Should be fine initially, and with addition of other fishes for the next few to several months... the Clown Trigger will eventually outgrow the system though... maybe a year or so, but the species is unpredictable... I would have a contingency plan to move it or the other tank inhabitants for this eventuality. Bob Fenner> David Rencher

Re: Clown trigger and friends? Being single the contingency plan is to buy a bigger tank. Do you have any other trigger suggestions for a Lunare Wrasse? <Please see the coverage on Triggerfishes on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm particularly the genus Rhinecanthus. Bob Fenner>

Titan/Clown Trigger Question How are you doing - I love your site and have found the information to be invaluable. I have two questions (if you have time). I have a 75 gallon with a UV, skimmer, wet/dry and canister filter: 1) Would I be able to keep a Titan Trigger and Clown Trigger together (both would be 2-3 inches and the only fish in the tank). <Yikes... a risky proposition> 2) How aggressive are the Titan Triggers? <At times, seasons, large individuals have been known to challenge (and bite) divers... I have experienced this species on nests in the wild... you can tell something's up... because all other mobile macro-life is missing in the vicinity.> I am not too familiar with them and was wondering if they can even live with any Lionfish or Morays? <I would not, do not encourage this... unpredictable animals that can bite other fishes into oblivion... I would not place the two Trigger species together... unless you had the capacity to observe them almost constantly and move the loser/s apart. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, Jason Haefner

Re: Titan/Clown Trigger Question Thanks for the quick response - I was afraid of that. I will be sure to avoid that situation without question. The last thing I want to do is hurt or put any fish's life in jeopardy intentionally. <You are smart here... too much chance of real trouble... psychological and physical.> Thanks again. Jason <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger Hello, Currently I have a 65 gallon tank with a Flame Hawkfish and a baby Clown Trigger. I plan on adding a Valentini Puffer, a Percula Clown, and a Hippo Tang very soon. As I told you in my last email, we got conned into putting in the Clown Trigger in first which was not a very good idea. My original plan was to replace the baby Clown Trigger with a baby Huma-Huma Trigger, which will not get as large and is far more easy going. However, my family loves the little Clown Trigger, which is about a little over an inch. Today I was talking to the guy who maintains our tank and he told me not to worry about it and that because the trigger is so small he will grow up with the other fish and get used to them. <Not really true. Too many individual personalities to make broad guarantees. It may fight a little one day and discover that one of the fish it was cohabitating with is tasty.> He said that they may occasionally chase each other around but nothing too bad will come of it. <Not necessarily> He also told me that the Clown, in my tank will only get to about 8 inches. I am very skeptical of all this. Should I be? <Fish can be stunted, but it is not healthy nor something one should try to do.> Thank you, Nate <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Skimmer and fish questions Hi Anthony, I have two questions, one skimmer and one fish. <not bad... I have two answers: unfortunately, one of them has to with imitation cheese products and gastric discomfort> Fish first. You might remember that I have a 125 g reef it is doing just great after my massive water change and my chemistry is very stable!  <excellent> I also have a FOWLR 90 g with 25g sump. Due to my relationship with my LFS I sometimes get fish I want to add to my tank, not necessarily in the order I should add them. Luckily so far things have worked out. Here is my dilemma. I have a Koran Angel 3 3/4" head to tail, a Purple Tang 3 1/2", a Coris Gaimard 5". I now want to add a Clown trigger that I've had in quarantine for three weeks.  <a reasonable combination of fishes except for the trigger, however that point is moot: your tank is not even remotely large enough to house all in the 2-3 year picture. There will be stressed aggression from the unnaturally close quarters or there will be health issues (higher incidence of disease... "stunting" and premature death, etc. My friend... the cumulative adult size of these four fishes is easily over 48" total! This adult size is attained easily in less than 5 years on a reef. Keeping them for a couple years in 125 for a couple years is still less than ideal. Please tell your family that Anthony says you have to set up another tank <VBG>... and that its not your fault ;)> Here is the problem, the clown is fairly small (I know I should leave the small ones alone) he is about 2 to 2 1/4 " long. Will he be O.K. with the other fish that are larger? <hell no... in so many ways. If not for aggression, then by intimidation by virtue of its size. This fish can approach 18" (!!!)... if you keep it healthy enough to even see 12" it will have had several sushi dinners by then and the family cat will be nervous. Even if there are no aggression issues... the "baby" fish "baby" tank rationalization does not sit comfortably with me> Skimmer. On my 125 I have a Berlin classic for 5 plus years.  <my condolences> On my 90 g I purchased an Aqua C Urchin Pro.  <excellent> I have had advice that says the Red Sea is a poor skimmer, but the Urchin Pro pulls out the same amount of skimmate about 1/3 to 1/2 cup per week. Now I know that the bio load on my 90 is less with 3 fish, I would guess that my 125 has 40 plus corals and 9 (2-6" Tangs) fish. Is this amount O.K. for the Aqua C?  <hmmm...many variables here: feeding frequency, water change schedule, tuning of the skimmers, etc. All said I could live with a half cup daily on the 90 gallon fish tank while these fishes are small> I have read on your site that adding the Kent Venturi valve helps the Red Sea skim better. <definitely.... you'll be amazed. And there are even much better venturis out there (albeit some expensive models)> Thanks as always Larry <kindly, Anthony>

Clown Trigger Aggression Hi Bob, I have had a baby clown trigger for about two months now and he has recently provided me with a great deal of stress. In my 55 gal tank I have about thirty pounds of live rock, a eibli angel, flame angel, six-line wrasse, yellow tang, and the trigger. I was noticing some cloudiness in the eyes of my angels, so I started treating with Melafix. The condition cleared up, but then returned. Upon further intense investigation, the eyes appeared to have abrasions on them. I watch my tank for at least an hour everyday, and the clown trigger shows no aggression towards the angels, but I had my suspicions. I consulted my LFS and they told me that if he did not show aggression, then the he was not the problem. To my absolute horror, when I came home from work today, the eibli angel's right eye had been totally eaten out.  <!> I know I definitely need to move the clown trigger ASAP, but what are your thoughts on exchanging him for a very small niger trigger.  <Much less chance of overt aggression... but I must state that one aspect/factor in all this is the current and proposed crowding... a fifty five gallon tank is too small for a trigger species even by itself> Also, what should I do with my eibli angel?  <Trade it in, keep it, euthanize it... for now, wait> It breaks my heart to look at him. Is my tank too hostile for him in his disabled condition?  <Not necessarily. Only time, experience can tell. Many fishes do fine w/o an eye> The eibli and the flame had a rough introduction, with the eibli establishing seniority, but they seem to co-exist peacefully now. Thank you for your time, Derek Fulford p.s. your site provides an invaluable wealth of information, you are a true gift to the aquarist hobby. <We are more than glad to share ourselves. Bob Fenner>

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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