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FAQs on Clown Triggerfish 1

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: FAQs 2, Clown Trigger Identification, Clown Trigger Behavior, Clown Trigger Compatibility, 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,


Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Clown Trigger Growth Rate (3/9/04)   I appreciate your help on my last question, however I have another.  I realized in buying the clown trigger that it would eventually out grow my 40 tank, I was originally hoping to upgrade to an 100 gallon tank. However due to recent events this upgrade might not be possible. <Which is why one should always buy on the basis of what one has available now, not what one hopes to have in the unpredictable future.> How long will it take for my clown trigger which is now 3.5-4 inches to outgrow my current tank and around what size will it be when this happens. <It is likely to feel crowded within a year after only growing a few inches. Clown Triggers are mean and get meaner with age. When it gets unhappy, it will start biting your eel and even you.>  Thanks again, -Brad <If you don't think you can upgrade by Christmas, you should consider finding this fish a new, bigger home elsewhere. Steve Allen.>

Clown Trigger & Passer Angel Behaviour Hi Bob, <Hello Matthew> I have bought and read your book and really enjoyed it (great photo of that adult clown trigger being held by a diver!). <I recently met someone (John Phillips of Tideline, LA) who had met and dived with none other than Rodney Jonklaas... a famous diver (RIP) from Ceylon/Sri Lanka... who was my inspiration as a collector and had a very nice pic of him and a Clown Trigger that circulated quite a bit...> I have a 100 gallon fish only tank with two aqua medic Turboflotor 1000multi hang on skimmers, a Eheim 2229 wet/dry biological and a Eheim 2028 for mechanical/carbon filtration.  I have no live rock but use A-Z No3 to keep Nitrates at about 2ppm - ammonia and nitrite are zero. I am proud of how healthy the fish look - their colours seem to glow. <Sounds very nice> My fish display some really interesting behaviour that I thought you might be able to explain. I have 3 fish - a 6" Clown Trigger, a 5" Passer Angelfish (it has yellow pectoral fins - female I think) and a 5" Lunare Wrasse. They have been together for about 6 months. <Going to be a very crowded system with time, growth> The trigger and the angelfish sleep together! There is a small "cave" in the tank and the triggerfish settles down in there when the lights go off at night and the angelfish then follows the trigger in and then seems to defend the cave. The angelfish will do regular patrols of the tank before returning to the cave with the clown trigger. If I get close to the tank the angelfish will charge at me and then return to the cave - it is normally hand tame when the lights are on and will follow me around the room in the tank. I even put a large plant pot in the tank to create another cave and although both fish go in there from time to time during the day they still choose to sleep together in the cave. During the day they do not react to each other and can even bump into each other without any reaction from either fish . I thought you might be interested!   Regards,  Matt - UK <Yes, thank you for sending this observation along. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Clown Trigger & Passer Angel Behaviour Thank you for the quick reply. <Welcome> Please find attached a photo of the clown trigger. Your book is a real inspiration and by applying your recommendations I hope you will agree that this is a very happy/healthy fish. <Yes, appears so! Bob Fenner>
Regards, Matt

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 wishy-washy 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>

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 Gamma 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 strip, 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

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> 

Christmas Island Clown Triggers 29 Jun 2005 WWM Crew, <Hi there>     I am in the process of trying to obtain a Clown Trigger.  When viewing photos of Clowns in books and on the internet, you usually see this fine example with radiant coloring. <Does vary... with mood, health...> More times then not you also will see an almost fluorescent green on the tail area as well as a very bright blue on the edge of their fins, however when you see them at the LFS or see photos of other hobbyist' Clowns, they mostly just exhibit black, white, and yellow colors.  When asking my LFS about this, they stated that the more colorful Clowns originate from the Christmas Islands. <Island... Kiritimati... in the eastern Indian Ocean...> Any truth to this??? <The fishes from this location are exceptional... mainly due to the good practices of the folks in the trade there> My Clown is going to be the centerpiece of my aquarium and I would like to be able to obtain one with this type of coloration.  Wasn't for sure if there was anything that you could do diet wise to help the Trigger exhibit these colors as well.  Thanks in advance for your reply!!!                                                               Jeff K <Much has to do with the environment the fish is placed, kept in subsequently... Lots of room, circulation, filtration... low organics... Bob Fenner>

- Tank Set-Up For A Clown Trigger - Great Site.  Here is my predicament.  I have been researching saltwater aquarium systems since October of last year ('04).  I bought a lot of books, spent a lot of time on the net, and wore the ears off of the guys at my LFS.  I absorbed as much of the info as I could, read the books I bought 2-3 times, and began purchasing the little things (power heads, heater, etc.) one at a time until I finally had enough.  I purchased my tank and all the remaining needs about a month and a half ago.  The system has been up and running and is cycled :).   Here is my set-up..... 75 Gallon All-Glass Aquarium W/ 48" Double Strip (Blue Actinic/Full Spectrum 50/50) Pro-Clear Aquatics Model 75 Wet/Dry Filter Aqua-C Remora Protein Skimmer 20 lbs. live sand 40 lbs. aragonite 10 pounds live rock It didn't take long for me to become fascinated with Triggers.  More specifically the Clown and Picasso.  These were the guys that I wanted and planned to start them out small (2 1/2 to 3") with the hopes of being able to keep them for a couple of years, see how I do with this whole salt water thing, then if I am successful, go ahead and sink a lot more dough into a larger setup.  Since I wanted such aggressive species, my LFS told me to take the Wet/Dry Filter as opposed to the Live Rock method as I would never really get the beauty benefits from the LR, just the biological. <The biological benefits still out-weight the wet/dry.> They said that I would never be able to establish the purple coralline algae as my Triggers would just pick it to death. <Don't agree with this either.> Low and behold a couple of weeks ago, one of the guys at my LFS broke down one of his very established reef tanks and sold off the LR.  this stuff was tremendous.  Purple coralline all over the place and even a couple corals!!!  That is where the 10 lbs. came in to the picture as I have hopes that this live rock will colonize my other 85 lbs. of "lace" rock with the nitrifying bacteria through the years.  My questions are first, Is it feasible to house the Clown and Picasso Triggers in this 75 for a couple of years if I get them at the 2 1/2 to 3" range? <Not much more than a couple of years. After the first year you will likely start having problems as these fish get larger and more territorial.> Second, If I just decide to go with the Clown, lets say 4-5"'s how long can he be housed in this setting and what are some possible tank mates. <Not much more than two years.> Obviously bio-load comes in to play any time you have messy eaters, so I am keeping this in mind but wouldn't mind being able to throw one or two smaller fish in there with him for variety. <Would be nice, but as the clown trigger grows, you're probably not going to be able to keep anything in there with it. Will be expensive snacks.> Lastly, How come anytime I see a Clown Trigger for sale on the many online fish stores, they have a picture of this awesome example that is just marked perfect with these amazing colors?  When I see pictures of other enthusiast Clown's or see them at my LFS they are almost limited to just black, yellow, and white and are lacking the bright blues and greens around the fins that are showcased on the already mentioned websites? <Well... part of the reason is the same as why the Big Mac on the billboard looks so tasty - the picture has been chosen to whet your appetite, but the fine print always says something to the affect of 'your mileage may vary'. Another factor is origin - some points of origin product more brightly colored Clown triggers than others - so be selective when you purchase yours. Another reason is often diet and environment. Clown triggers are durable fish but do show signs of neglect - either from lack of things to do, or mono-typical diets. Make sure you have lots of small rubble laying around so the trigger can rearrange as needed, and also offer a varied and mostly meaty diet - throw in something green [like Formula Two or Pygmy Angel Formula] once in a while and you'll find your clown trigger stays bright.> Are these Clown's from a particular region??? <Yes.> Apologies for such a long email.  I am new to this and I want my fish to thrive and I want my system to be healthy. Jeff K <Cheers, J -- >

Need an intervention... marine addict... Clown trigger systems, tossing in cnidarians  09/13/2005 Dear Aqua-Gurus: <Eric> I've just overheard my dogs chatting about turning me into the ASPCA, as I've been pretty busy these past two months diligently enhancing, upgrading and/or setting up seven--yes seven--tanks. Two are freshwater, which I'll bypass in this query (indeed, they're so straight-forward, my dogs could pretty much run 'em).   While I've garnered much from reading various postings, I do have some unanswered questions about three of my marine tank outfits: First, I have a 55-gallon tank wholly dedicated to a clown trigger (3").   He rules the roost! Wet/dry set up with an external canister for extra bio, chem, and mechanical filtration and a decent protein skimmer.   I've become a fan of live rock in recent months as I've spent time developing a nano reef tank. From a filtration standpoint, how much live rock would you recommend adding to supplement the wet dry (rather than replace it)? <Ten, twenty pounds here... need room, and will need a larger tank soon... for the Trigger> All parameters continue to be favorable, though nitrates climb to 5-10 ppm in between water changes. That boy is one messy eater (loves thawed frozen shrimp the most).   I recognize that he would benefit from the biological plusses of the live rock, but are there other benefits I should be considering? Will the live rock eventually "bring to life" the non-living rock in my tank? <To some extent, yes>   I suspect the clown will "clean" off the rock of any tasty items that hitchhike their way into the tank, true?    <Again, for the most part, yes> Even the coralline algae? And will I need to add calcium supplementation and the like should I decide to add the live rock to the Clown quarters? <Maybe... but not likely... With the requisite water changes, enough alkaline reserve and biomineral will be added> On a maintenance issue, I'm judicious about water changes and regular cleaning, but are there any "clean-up crew" options to address the mild to moderate algae growth on the tank floor and walls? <Not with this Trigger in place> Longspine black urchin with its defensive qualities? A Mexican turbo snail with its own fortress? A nocturnal emerald crab? <All will/would be alternate play things and food items> These might be questions in vain....he is a clown after all, but thought they were worth asking. He seems like one of the nicer ones--at least at this size. :) Second, I am up and running with three other tanks--two nanos and a 40g--each serving as different reef ecosystem variations. One is well along.... 15 lbs of beautifully colored live rock, four different small polyp colonies, two small vibrant red mushrooms, a small green trumpet coral, a feather duster, a friendly yellow bellied blue damsel, and a Rainford goby...all doing, well, swimmingly. Yesterday, I purchased a beautiful green star polyp--attached to a live rock the size of a small fist--from the LFS. It was pretty showy there in the store, but after placing it in my tank--after an acclimation period of about 45-50 minutes-- <... you should, will learn the lessons of quarantine> the polyps have not reappeared. How long does it take them to show themselves? <... depends...> I have them at the top of the tank where there's strong water flow and great lighting. Shall I just leave it alone? <At this point, I would> Or try different placements to see what appeals to it? Are there sensitivities that I'm not considering? <Oh yes...> Or have they buried themselves in the rock never to be seen again? I'm afraid I'm not very familiar with this species. <... study before purchase...> All my water parameters are great, though my nano-tank runs a little warm...between 79.8 and 82.5....and the calcium readings are in the mid 300s. Trying to bump it up gently over time. For my 40-gallon set-up, my LFS talked me into a small hammer coral, which I also added yesterday, joining a fair amount of live rock (adding more later after it's  moved through its curing), some hermit crabs, an Emerald Crab, and a Mexican turbo snail. Like the green polyp, the hammer seemed to be more "exposed" at the store. How long will it take to present itself? <Maybe a week, perhaps never... impossible to say> I tried offering it some small brine shrimp with an eye dropper and it retracted--a coral's version of turning up its nose. Just a little while ago, the moon lights switched , and it's now out again slightly--just not to the degree that it was in its tank at the LFS. As an aside, its "mouth" is now stretched open with a very interesting small web apparatus coming out periodically--I'm guessing to nab micros in passing. (Anyone who thinks all the gee-whiz stuff happens when the light is on needs to sit in the dark with the moon light on and check out all the fascinating spectacles behind the tank wall!)  It's the only coral in the tank for the time being, as I want to move slowly with this set-up. I believe I did read that hammers along with elegance corals and a few others in the family actually prefer/thrive in water with higher nitrates than what one usually finds in reef tanks. True?? <Yes> I do plan on adding a few fish to this tank over time....considering a filamented flasher wrasse, royal Gramma, Fridmani Pseudochromis, cinnamon clownfish, and neon blue goby as well as (possibly) an elegance coral, a Kenya tree coral (aquacultured), a short tentacle plate coral, an orange sea star, and one or two feather dusters. See any challenges/problems/compatibility issues with any of those I mentioned? <All sorts> I would plan on spacing the aggressive corals at opposite ends of the tank. <... not enough> Finally--and perhaps most importantly given my bordering-on-insane marine tank obsession, I am setting up a 20G quarantine tank. <Yay!> You all have made a strong argument in its favor. My LFS has excellent stock, and I've never had a problem... but it only takes one outbreak.   Question though....if I get 4-5 fish at the same time through my LFS or a mail order option, is it problematic for them to share the quarantine quarters? <Possibly... depends on the mix> (They're all peaceful, so there wouldn't likely be any compatibility issues....but what if 4 are healthy and fit and one is on the verge of an infection?) Also, how often do you recommend water changes in a quarantine tank? <More Q tanks, more time...> I could ask dozens of other questions, but I fear I've already crossed the proverbial line. My "crew" and I are deeply grateful (in advance) for your guidance. Eric in North Carolina <Keep studying... and enjoying! Bob Fenner>

A theoretical question about size <Not a Viagra ad!>    3/31/06 Hi, I am wondering if most marine species actually _do_ grow to their full adult size in aquarium. Some sources list captive size of a fish as small as 1/2 of that in the wild. Also, do you think there is some rational to the notion that available aquarium space may limit fishes' growth? I am particularly interested in clown triggerfish. Thanks in advance for your opinion. Taras <Do think the half as natural is a good guess/estimate... including Balistoides spp.... given time, space. Have seen the Clown grown to about a foot from small in captivity. 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)>

Clown Trigger, Yay or Nay?!  5/12/06 I have a question regarding Clown Triggerfish Selection. <Sure-thing.> I ran across one at the LFS yesterday.   <Okay.> It is about 2" from end of the nose to the tip of the tail. <A bit small, juvies of this species don't really acclimate or ship well in my experience.> Its stomach is looks pinched and it seems to have general signs of lack of food. <Not un-common.>   My questions first should a Clown Triggerfish in this condition be passed on or can they recover quickly? <Depends, is he/she eating now, is the animal alert, "spunky", and aware of the aquarists presence.>   Also I couldn't find an article on the website that details the selection of a Clown Trigger fish, could you point me to it or help me out a bit as to what to look for regarding size and appearance when purchasing one? <I'm not sure if we have a article specifically on clown triggers but here is a general article that may help you; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/selection.htm ; Adam J.>

Clown Trigger Hi Bob, The 2 clowns I mentioned earlier at the LFS, someone brought it before I could get my hand on it. Funny thing was sitting there for month and when you kind of interested its gone. <More of so and so's rules, eh? Ah, human "nature", perception> By the way, how big a clown have you come across at your place? Imagine a 18" clown would be like ? I sure would like to keep it. Is it easy to have a pair? Thanks. David. >> <Only if collected as such and placed in a huge system... thousands, tens of thousands of gallons. A foot and a half is about all this species attains... have never seen them together for long in the wild... have seen many disastrous attempts at housing more than one in a system... Real War. Bob Fenner>

Clown trigger Hi Bob, Nice to hear from you again. I did not see any clown at the LFS this shipment felt disappointed. The nitrite level is at 0.3gm/l and dropping and I plan to do a water change once it show zero reading and add carbon ( SeaChem ) for cleaning up earlier medication from Maroxy. I hope everything will be ready before I get the clown. Any advice from you, Bob? <Regarding?> It would be nice to keep something beside the clown, wouldn't it? <Likely> Quite boring without much activity but got a nice picture from the net and hope you like it. By the way, if you come across interesting info about clown pls email to me, ok! Got to go now, Bye2 Take care, ok and God bless. David Teh. >> <Hotay! Keep studying, enjoying those Balistids. Bob Fenner>

My Irascible Trigger Fish Hi Bob. You may remember me. I've been known as 'Garlic Fingers' as well as other pugnacious puns. You recommended garlic for my clown trigger who had a recurring eye problem. Since the garlic, he has had no recurrence of the problem. <I'm with ya> Lately however, I have noticed that sometimes when I have not been in the room or near the tank for a while, the trigger looks pale and ashy. When he sees me by the tank, he quickly returns to his usual vivid coloring. I have had him for about a year, and he has become more aggressive as he has aged.  Is it possible this has anything to do with the changes in his appearance? I am on top of keeping my water quality up, and all things are right on. None of my other fish show any changes in color contrast. Is this a common thing with these clown triggers? <It, the color changes and behavior are all normal... the animal has imprinted on you... and is very happy when you're around... nothing to worry about> Thanks again, Deb with the Irascible Trigger (Fish) >> <Be chatting, Bob Fenner> 

New Trigger I recently started a salt water tank - 90 gallon three weeks ago. After two weeks of cycling with limited live rocks (hard to find in the summer), I bought two Percula clowns. Three days ago, I bought a juvenile clown trigger, a scooter blenny and four hermit crabs. The clown trigger has been very shy for the first two days. He is 3/4" long, the clowns are 1 1/4" long. Yesterday, the clown started swimming. I fed the fish last night and the clown trigger ate like crazy. His tummy was bloated. Right after eating, he hid back in the rocks. Could I have over fed the trigger? Is he sick?  This morning when I went to see him before heading to work, he was still hiding in the rocks, his tail curled in. His tummy does seem bloated anymore, but it was hard to see because he was hiding in the rocks. He didn't seem to want to move.  Should I feed him tonight when I get home? Is he sick? >> The trigger is likely fine... just settling in... and hopefully he will get along for a while with the other animal life you list... though it will someday consume all the others... including the Hermit Crabs... keep offering it food daily... and be patient. Bob Fenner

Clown Triggers Question for you... I've seen beautiful pics of clown triggers, that have a "leopard like" print near their dorsal area and a distinct line near their "nose" and mouth. The ones I see at the LFS, between 1" and 1.5" only have solid yellow patches near their mouth and back. <Yes... age/development and regional variations> Does their coloring change with maturity or is the region from which they're captured the main differentiator of coloring? I want to make sure the one I get eventually looks as beautiful as the ones I've seen. <Both... the ones from further into the Indian Ocean are "better" for what you're looking for... but don't get imported much into the west... due to relative costs> Some have clear fins and other pics I've seen show a bluish coloring on their rear fin... again... does this come with age? <This part more with "quality", health, happiness (yes I will use this term) of the individual. Bob Fenner>

Christmas Island Clown Trigger Bob, Is there anything special about a Clown Trigger from Christmas Island, other than they are more expensive? <A little easier going than the ones from the Pacific... and sometimes with more, smaller "spots" on lower half of the body. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Kevin p.s. I loved your book!!

Christmas island Christmas island was the host (location) of a number of atmospheric nuclear tests in the late fifties and early sixties. Maybe this trigger glows in the dark! <You're making my day! Bob Fenner> Rick Klages

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>

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, 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 Bob The colours on my clown seems to 'come on and off'. She could look real pale one moment and then the next moment fully flushes with the natural colours. Is this natural? I have been told to check water quality but I doubt that is the reason. Thanks John Wong <Water quality could have something to do with the color changes, but not necessarily... This sort of behavior is natural... and these intelligent animals do need "guidance/stimulation" to be "happy"... but will still engage in what appear to be anomalies (swimming upside down, spitting, moving things about...) Bob Fenner>

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>

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>

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>

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>

Sexual differences for clown trigger Hi Bob, I'd like to know if is possible to find the difference between male clown trigger and female. It's very important for me to find them because I 'd like to keep a pair of Balistoides conspicillum Thank you very much Lorenzo <Have heard of various schemes over the years that supposedly can be used to distinguish the sexes of this trigger species... but don't believe any of them myself. And more importantly, this species is very infrequently kept as any more than "one to a tank"... even very large systems (thousands, tens of thousands of gallons). They REALLY fight amongst themselves... even in the wild... almost always encountered (as more than small individuals) singly. If you're going to try this, make sure you have a sturdy tank divider, some place to separate the combatants. Bob Fenner>

Color Change Dear Mr. Fenner, <Bob is out of town, discovering snow in the great Midwest. Anthony Calfo and I are answering the daily questions for him until his triumphant return.> I have a clown trigger 3-4" that I think is changing into his adult form. In the last month or so I have been noticing that his color is fading while his spots are noticeably getting larger. I want to know if their is something wrong with him or does that go with changing to adult hood and also when will he look "Normal" again. <There is a color change from juvenile to adulthood, but I would not describe the transformation as "fading". Take a look at the pictures at this link, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/balistoides.htm> I have a 100 gallon tank with a Red Sea adult emperor angelfish and I get my parameters checked bi-weekly. They are both healthy and eating Life Line herbivore and carnivore food cubes. thank you <You are welcome> Ian Behnk <Steven Pro>

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>

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>

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>

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

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>

Clown Trigger, Filtration Bob, thank you for your book and the web site. <<Actually, not Bob this time, but JasonC.>> Very helpful. <<Is a good book.>> Two things: 1)I have a 180 gallon with a 28" snowflake moray, 18" jewel moray, 8" golden puffer, 6" clown trigger. I would like to add another fish w/different coloration. <<good luck...>> The first three fish are non-aggressive, but the clown is unpredictable. I have tried smaller & tough: He was ok with a blackbelly trigger but harassed a maroon clownfish to death. I've tried larger but less-aggressive fish: He's been great with the puffer but murdered a harlequin tusk and a banana wrasse. I'm thinking of the following: a smaller undulatus trigger (am I nuts long-term with two such potentially lethal triggers in a 180 plus these tankmates?), miniatus grouper (I've had before and it was a pest re: space for my eels, is that common?), one of the larger Dottybacks or Hawkfish, or a large Koran, emperor, queen, annularis or half-moon angel. Suggestions/other fish? <<I really don't think you're going to get anything else in there. Your clown trigger now rules the tank, and anything coming in the top will be considered as potential food. I think that just about everything you list, with the exception of the grouper can/will be wailed-on by the trigger, the smaller species will be outright eaten, and all-in-all won't go well for any newly introduced fish. It's a time-tested and true quality of clown triggers; they just get mean. Your only option would be to remove the clown trigger for a month or more while you try to acclimate one of these larger fish into the tank and then return the trigger. Likewise, if you choose to try your hand at one of those angels, it's going to need to be larger than the clown trigger.>> 2) I want the best tank conditions I can get given the still-growing monster eaters in this tank. I have "dead" rock in the tank, an AMiracle SR 300b wet-dry with plastic media, with a Berlin skimmer fed by a pump sitting in the sump. I also have a Renaissance 30 canister acting as a mechanical on a separate line. This setup keeps nitrates between 40-70. Should I add live rock (how much if so) and discard the plastic media? <<I'm always in favor of live rock.>> Will too much rock cramp their swimming room? <<If stacked well, they should be able to swim around, through it, etc... like natural conditions. If that won't work, how about in a sump below the tank?>> Keep the canister or not-- is it adding to nitrates as is? <<I'm not a fan of canisters - is a maintenance nightmare.>> Route the skimmer differently? Other ideas? <<Upgrade the skimmer to something larger-scale, appropriate to the bio-load.>> Thank you for your advice. Keep up the great work! Steve. <<Cheers, J -- >>

"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>

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 tank size  Hi <<Hi.>> I was wondering if a 30 gall on saltwater take would suit a clown trigger by itself? <<perhaps one of the baby ones that are so prevalent this time of year, but not for very long.>> if not what size would it require? <<I would consider a 75 the minimum with a larger system not far off in the future.>> P.S.-I love your site <<Glad you enjoy it. Cheers, J -- >>

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 the 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>

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>

Are Acrylic Tanks Trigger & Puffer-Proof? Greetings Gents, As I sit here watching my 7" clown trigger pace back and forth, furiously biting at the glass pane of my tank because I'm ignoring his demands for more food, it got me thinking. Thanks to your great advice, I'm seriously considering a 300 gallon tank to eventually house my moody friend and his fake-coral-chewing cohort, a puffer. But do well-informed people who raise such fish to adulthood keep them in glass or acrylic tanks? Even at their present moderate size, these two have shown a penchant for biting anything and everything in the tank---including the tank. Acrylic is more prone to scratching than glass. Am I headed for a future of owning a huge acrylic aquarium with 500 bite marks on the viewing panes because of these guys? <I had not really thought about this, but having seen several large Clown Triggers biting the glass of tanks you may have a point. Glass may be your best option.> Or is the smart move to stick with glass (which would be HEAVY at 300g)? <Very heavy. I once installed a custom glass tank in West Virginia from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was a two hour drive from the shop I was working at, but we were the only ones who could do it. The tank was made from 1" laminated glass, the stuff they build bullet proof windows from, 6' long x 4' wide x 3' deep. It required it's own separate footer in the basement and had a cinder block and steel I beam stand. The thing was a monster, but very nice when finished.> As a humorous aside, my trigger goes absolutely vein-popping berserk as soon as he sees the turkey baster I use at cleaning time, launching the fish equivalent of nuclear war on it every week...go figure!?! Thanks for whatever tips you have, Steve w/Predators <I would look for a glass tank. If you keep it at two feet deep or less, it should not be too difficult. -Steven Pro>
Re: Are Acrylic Tanks Trigger & Puffer-Proof?
Steven, thanks for the quick reply. I was aiming for a 300 gallon acrylic, but given the need now (and weight issue) of glass, can I eventually properly care for this threesome in either my current 180 gallon or if not a 240 gallon: adult clown trigger, meleagris puffer (both which FishBase state can hit 20 inches) plus a 3 foot or less moray (either my current snowflake or Cortez jewel or Hawaiian dragon)? <You should be able to house those three in either, but the larger tank is always preferable.> I mention 240 gallon since you had indicated sticking with 2 feet in height, <You do not have to keep that height maximum. It was a recommendation to keep costs down.> as a standard 240 gallon is 96x24x24. Or if still not enough, what higher gallonage would be ok? I'd like the 300 gallon, but if I can get away with less while still giving these guys a suitable home I will have less weight to concern myself with. If not, I guess I'll have to hit the barbells harder to get ready for a 300 gallon move --yikes. Thank you for your always highly valued suggestions. Have a great weekend, and good luck with your book! <Thank you. I have to find sometime this weekend to get a major section (live sand) finished. -Steven Pro>

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>

Clown Trigger  Bob, <Hi Jerad, Craig here> I have read all of your Q&A's on clown triggers just to learn more about them. I recently purchased a 4 1/2' clown that a guy has had for a year. The clown is very yellow and has clear fins. Will he always stay real yellow or will he turn more black on his face and body? Also he darkens up a lot whenever he eats, is that normal? I know Fiji's have the best colors buy where do you think mine is from? thanks for everything and also can I get a good link to a site with extensive info. on clowns.  Thanks again, Jerad <I don't know if your fish will color up but you can see that much coloration is related to the fish's moods, surroundings, and food sources. I would give your Trigger a good varied diet, lots of space, and good water quality and he will become whatever he is supposed to naturally look like. You can find all kinds of Trigger info at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/ follow all links as well. Enjoy! Craig>

Fish With Slow Growth Hi guys! <Hey!> No big problem. I'm just curious as to why my clown trigger is growing so slowly. He has been in a 180g for two years, and is very healthy and active. He has grown from about 5" to 7" in that time.  <This is a touch slow, but please do not make fun, he may be sensitive.> Fed approx. once per day with a varied diet--sometimes I am away from home and skip a day or two, while other days I'll feed two meals. He eats supermarket squid, scallops, shrimp, crab, plus flake food, silversides, and a variety of frozen cubes. <Sounds good, I would add some more protein frozen PE Mysid shrimp and more krill (Freeze dried and frozen). Occasional live crayfish too for dental care (wearing teeth down).> I added a gorgeous golden meleagris puffer to the tank, and that fish has gone from 7" to 9" in less than six months. Since both fish will reach approx. the same adult size, and are in the same tank, and eat approx. the same amount of food, shouldn't the growth rates be nearly the same too?  <not really>  Is it simply that the trigger is a bit more active and "burns calories"? I want to make sure they -- the two above plus a 28" snowflake moray-- eat enough, but on the other hand I don't want out-of-control nutrients in the tank either. BTW, I will get a larger tank for them as they continue to grow.  <good to hear>  Thank you for your thoughts. Steve. <How long is your tank? A fish in a 100gal six foot long tank will grow faster than in a 100gal four foot long tank. Offer foods higher in protein, make sure water quality is good, and he should start putting on some weight. Best Regards, Gage.>

Triggerfishes for  Marine Aquariums
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