Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Triggerfish Diseases 1

FAQs on Triggerfish Disease: Trigger Disease 1, Triggerfish Health 2, Triggerfish Health 3,
FAQs on Triggerfish Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Trauma, Pathogenic (infectious, parasitic), Social, Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: Triggerfish, Red Sea Triggerfishes

Related FAQs: Triggerfishes, Triggerfish: Identification, Selection, Compatibility, Behavior, Systems, Feeding Reproduction,

Triggerfishes for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Trigger Trouble?  Concerned about my Niger Trigger. 5yrs in 1200 litre system. Gone off food for 2 weeks now & not swimming around at all.  <Not good...>  All other fish in system ok. Captured & in hospital tank. No signs of external disease.  <That's good to here...>  Treated for 1 week with Myxazin & fresh water dip.  <I'd stick with just the FW dip. Why medicate if you're not sure what you're treating?>  Tried feeding sea urchin to see if any interest. No interest at all in food. Don't know what to treat with, maybe something for worms? Concerned from Cape Town South Africa.  <Well, concerned, a fish that refuses food all of the sudden definitely is problematic. While these fishes tend to go on "hunger strikes" occasionally, it is entirely possible that you may be dealing with some kind of internal parasite. So, I cannot entirely blame you for attempting medication after all! I suppose that I'd utilize medications that are for internal parasites. Hopefully, that will do the trick...Also, keep tempting the fish with a variety of different foods. You may want to use some liquid vitamins, such as Vita Chem, which can be administered directly into the water. As fishes do drink, the fish may actually take in some of the vitamins directly. These may just pull him through until he starts taking food again. Don' give up! Regards, Scott F.>

Ill Pink-Tail Trigger (3/30/04)  I sent the below email to you yesterday, things have not improved today, in fact things are a lot worst, he is still eating but now has slightly cloudy eyes and the flesh round the eye is slightly darker then yesterday, he came out tonight and took some muscle again then retired back behind his rock laying on the gravel.  Every so often he shakes his whole body like he has a witch/itch not sure what this means.  Anyway I have done what I should have done the first place, moved him to a freshly setup QT tank and started to treat him on Melafix as I thought it may be cloud eye. <Good moves. I'd suggest a more effective, broad-spectrum antibiotic. You will need to change your water a lot because this will pretty well kill the biofilter.>  Your urgent advise would but much appreciated as I am not sure if I have done the right thing or if the outlook is good. <I am pessimistic, but there is always hope. I'd suggest you go the www.wetwefotos.com and start a 911 topic. Lots of good folks should chime in with good advice. The way I see it, with such a sudden onset, the fish was wither sick when you bought it and had no symptoms yet, or there's something seriously wrong in your tank. The latter seems less likely given that the other fish seem fine. Good luck. Steve Allen.>  Regard, Darren  Back-story:  Hi Bob,  I have just purchased 48hrs ago a Pinktail Trigger of about 6-7 inches. The fish seems to be in almost perfect condition.  His tank mates are a 30 inch Zebra Moray, 3 inch damsel and a 5 inch Snow flake eel. The tank is 120 UK gallons with a Prizm Pro skimmer 2 external canister filters and 3 power heads.  Nitrate 20ppm maybe less?  Nitrite 0 ppm  Ammonia 0 ppm  PH 8.2  Temp 78  When the trigger was first introduced he was very active and the Damsel followed him everywhere, but after about 6hrs the trigger decided to sit on the gravel behind the rocks.  He has now been there almost ever since only coming out for food, his rate of breathing has maybe a little higher than the other fish but does not seem to excessive.  Is the behavior normal, I have always known all triggers to be so active at all times apart from night???  As always your advice would be greatly appreciated. Darren

Crazy Trigger Tricks - Or Something Worse? I recently purchased a four inch clown trigger. I added him to my tank a few days ago & he's been eating good & seems to be doing ok. This morning, he was playing dead in the rocks & looked fine. <Unnerving- but not all that unusual for a trigger> A few minutes later when I looked at him his whole body had lost color & he was almost completely white.  I had baby triggers in the past & have never had this happen before. I immediately reached into the tank and once I got close he, moved deeper into the rocks & in a few second after movement his color came back. Is this normal? <Well, the color change could be anything from a response to fright, environmental changes, or even a attempt at "blending in" with the surrounding environment.> I lost my other clown trigger a few weeks ago & after this I am concerned about my new addition. Thank you! Jill <Well, Jill, assuming that your water chemistry parameters are acceptable, and that the fish is not displaying any additional signs of distress or illness, I'd just chalk this up as another trigger behavioral quirk. Keep a close eye on the fish, and be sure to take appropriate actions should any other disease symptoms manifest. Good luck. Regards, Scott F.>

Trigger, Shark, ich, and a 300 Gallon home Hello everyone, <Hi! Ryan with you> I've got a problem here and was hoping for some suggestions. <Sure> I've got a 75g tank that has been cycling for 6 months now. Water parameters are excellent. I've got one bamboo shark in there and a black trigger that I recently moved from the 75g to the new 300g. <OK> I also have a new 300g tank (bought specially for Henry the shark) that has been cycling now for roughly 6 or 7 weeks. <Good, he'll need it.> The water parameters there are excellent as well. In this 300g tank I have 1 domino damsel, 3 cleaning shrimp, 5, cowry snails, 1 white moray snake eel, a Snowflake eel and the black trigger that I moved from the 75g. As mentioned above, water parameters are fine, but here's my problem. I think the domino damsel infected my trigger with ICH, so I immediately returned the trigger to his old home with the shark, hoping that he would heal with out medicine, or hypo. <Hmmm, not the best move.  Next time put him in a quarantine.> I understood that ich is like a flu to humans and can heal on their own. <Whoa! No, not at all!  Ich is a parasite- not a virus.  It has a life cycle of its own.  It doesn't cure itself, it kills your fish!>  The trigger has only been in the larger tank for 1 week, so I'm optimistic he'll heal with no problem. <Not without treatment!  Please read up: http://wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm >  However, here are the things I'm worried about and was hoping for suggestions.  The trigger has had ich before (3 months ago) while living with the shark. The shark never caught it. Is there a possibility that the trigger will heal it self with out passing it over to the shark? <Wouldn't count on it.> 300g tank: Could the eels also be exposed to ICH now, and should I allow them to heal with out any treatment? <They're exposed, as well as everything else in the tank.  See the above link.> They look pretty healthy and they are eating. What about the snails and cleaner shrimp? <Won't catch it-The cleaner shrimp will make it a meal> Will they live through it and what should I expect? Thanks so much, MZ <Good luck, and kill this parasite once and for all.>

Re: trigger fish   We would like to express our thanks, we completed a 10% water change placed two poly filters in the tank and poured in some stress relief liquid.  And thankfully our little trigger has lived and is on the up. <Yay! Great news> We have been to a marine shop and got loads of advice. We have currently brought Stress Zyme and Ammo lock 2. and told to place the temp. up from 22 to 26. The system we have is 101cm by 46cm high and 31cm width. It was brought as a start up system so the heater and filter was with the tank (JUWEL). <Very nice units> The only other problem we have is getting the protein skimmer to collect waste, all the liquid in the skimmer is just tank water, no dark deposits.  <Mmm, do have a knowledgeable aquarist, perhaps one of the store staff, come by and check the adjustment of your skimmer... your system may be too "young" to have much to remove...> Once again thank you for helping save Zoro's life. We are truly grateful. <You are to be congratulated for your fast thought and action> As a closing note we contacted two vets who's advice was wrap the tank in a towel to let him die less stressfully and the other was to drive him 50 miles so they could see him, thank God we listened to the true experts in the marine field.  <Yikes.> Hopefully we will only need to read about triggers but it is nice to know you are just an email away. thank you. <A pleasure. Bob Fenner>

Ich on Trigger Hello bob, <Hi there.> I wanted to inquire about a little problem I have with my Huma Triggerfish. I have a 54 Gallon tank with about 40lbs of live rock and the other inhabitants are 2 Tangs and 2 clownfish, with a "pest" anemone (must have hitched a ride with the live rock). The triggerfish has developed what looks to be ick, on his tail and top of his fins. It's mostly around the edges with some light spots in the middle.  <Mmm, I wouldn't be so fast to judge this as ich...> I have had this tank now for about a year and 3 months. The trigger, was probably the second tenant in my tank so there have been no new additions to the tank in probably 6-8 months. I assume he got the ick out of stress possibly from being picked on?  <Once again, I am suspicious given the circumstances you relate...> One thing I have noticed is that the salinity level was higher than it needed to be, not sure if that would have been the cause?  <Doubtful> I have a small 10 gallon tank I was going to use for a quarantine tank so I could treat the trigger but it has not been cycled yet and I'm very afraid that would kill the fish in no time. What would you recommend to do to hopefully save the trigger fish yet not harm all the other fish in the main tank?  <If the other fishes do not show signs of "ich" I would not remove the trigger, but instead augment its foods> Any medications that might be safe to place in the main tank and see if the trigger might fight off the ick? I have also been giving him garlic mixed with his food. Sorry for the long winded e-mail but I'm running out of ideas and its getting frustrating with all the differing opinions. Thanks in advance. <Try adding vitamins... even risk a Cleaner organism. Please read through the sections on both (vitamins, cleaners) posted on WetWebMedia.com (perhaps using the search tool at the bottom of the homepage, indices...) Bob Fenner> Sean

Bursa Trigger Hi, I wrote to you guys on Monday regarding my new Bursa Trigger (about 3 inches long) who keeps scratching himself on the rocks and banging his black spot on the rocks hard. Upon closer inspection, he has white spots on his back, sides and face. I have freshwater bathed him 3 times now for a total time of over 30 minutes, two times at 15 minutes and 1 for 5, which he now tolerates well, swimming the whole time; he won't even lay on the bottom like most fish do. I also took out my urchin and polyps and treated the tank with ich treatment (which I don't like doing) and when I put the treatment in he acts like his spots itch more.  <This is very unlikely "ich"... and more trouble, stressful to actually "treat"> I'm not sure the spots are ich though, because they will not fall off. <There are a few possible complaints this might be: fluke intermediary forms, sporozoans... that are by and large not treatable... and not "that" deleterious> Furthermore, it almost looks like they may be bumps from the inside. I intend to take him back to the store tomorrow so that HOPEFULLY they will know what it is and what I can do for him. He continues to scratch himself and has rubbed some red marks on his belly and chin. Do you have any idea of what it could be or what I can do? Again, my water quality is superb (no nitrites, nitrates under 10, salinity lowered to 1.020) and the temperature is 75. It also does not seem to be spreading to the tobacco bass either. Is there at least anything I can do to make him more comfortable. Thank you so much for your help, I can't stand to see the little guy unhappy! Arienne Wyatt <I would not "do" anything here, other than provide good care for this fish. The "spots/dots" may well persist for some time (months), likely finally disappearing with development, growth, time... Bob Fenner>

Huma Swelling Bob, Anthony, and Steve, <Hello> Howdy all... My Huma Huma is experiencing some horrible swelling around the left side of its mouth.  <As your images show> The swelling has been slowly increasing in size, and is only on the left side of his mouth. He is about 5 inches in length. I have been searching the faq's as best as possible but can't seem to find anything too similar to start treatment.  <There isn't any specifically> His diet consists of a homemade mix of Scallops, colossal shrimp, mussels, clams, salmon, orange roughy, mahi Mahi, and squid soaked in vita-chem and Selcon. I'm getting worried that he's going to burst soon. Any ideas on diagnosis, treatment? <Perhaps vitamin and HUFA supplements might help...> I'm attaching three pictures to help ID. Please let me know if they don't come through. 135 gal, zero ammonia and nitrites, nitrate 50, <You might look into ways of reducing nitrate: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm> spg. 1.024, temp. 78 F, 150 lbs LR. Thanks for any input. You guys are the greatest... well, at this sort of thing anyway. (Grin) .?. , . .???`?. ><(((?> `?.?.???`?...?><(((?>? ><(((?> ?.??.???`?... Robert Phoenix, AZ <I would hold out in hopes that this fish will spontaneously recover from this tumorous growth. If it appears to be suffering, I would euthanize it: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm  Bob Fenner>

Ick (?) hello I have a Picasso triggerfish and I just introduced him into my 72 gallon tank with a yellow tang a Percula clown a damsel and a coral beauty angel. He comes out only to eat and then goes back in his cave and hides all day but then I noticed that he had a bad case of ick so I went to the store and asked them what I should do they said that I should try medicating it but I've tried every one and they didn't work but I heard that buying a garlic than mincing it in with the food would take care of it. is that true? do you think it will kill the ick and my fish will live? <Without knowing what particularly you have tried, it is difficult to give you advise on what to attempt now. Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm  and the various FAQ files linked from there. -Steven Pro>

Treating with garlic Mr. Fenner, I would first off like to thank you for a wonderful website, and an excellent book. I just wanted to respond to an article I read on your site (Clown Trigger) it had to do with a recurring white spot on the eye. I have a Niger trigger that was going through the same thing. You suggested trying some fresh garlic in his diet for a few days and that has cleared him up completely. I would have never guessed it. Thanks again, Gavin <Glad to hear of your success, your Triggerfish's improvement. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Parasite treatment Hello Bob, I have been unable to find information on wet web media that specifically answers my query. <Ahh, good... thought I had a few more years of work there...> I recently acquired a tiny Huma trigger. While in quarantine it developed several white spots on the tail and fins. I immediately began treatment with copper, sea cure. After four days, the spots have diminished in the original locations but several new ones have appeared. Is this to be expected until further along in the treatment or is it evidence that the treatment is not working? I have recently been through a bout of the same that took every fish in the system, so really want to beat it this time. <I understand... and would take a "non-treatment" course in this matter... likely this is not some sort of parasite... per se... and will be "self curing"... I would try just try to keep the specimen stable, perhaps feed it food that has been soaked in a vitamin prep. (Selcon is a good choice), and maybe utilize a biological cleaner... but unless these spots become much more numerous, or the fish seems to be laboring under their influence, I would not utilize copper, other chemical treatments for now> It is a pleasure and privilege to be able to communicate with you directly. thanks, Steve Browne, <A pleasure for me as well my friend. Bob Fenner>

Crosshatch Triggers Glacier Robert, Up until today I had a pair of green crosshatch triggers- 7" pink tailed and 5" yellow tailed. Today, out of the blue, the female (yellow tailed) died. No signs of attack, no signs of illness the day before. No signs of damage on the body <All too common... this genus of open ocean triggers (Xanthichthys) does often die "mysteriously" in captivity... "stress"?> System is a 180gal acrylic tank with skimmer, UV, large Bio wheel 3 filter trays w/ carbon and other plain filtration, quiet-one pump. Lights are dual 24" power compacts dual spectrum on dawn-dusk timers. I checked the chemistry- ph is 8.4, no nitrates, nitrites, or ammonias measurable, salinity is @ .21, temp 77.9'F and varies by no more than 2 degrees over 24 hours Occupants are: 7" Blue Guinea Puffer 2.5yrs, 3" Tomato clown 3yrs, 3.5" Harlequin Tusk, 8months, 4" Blue Jaw trigger 2yrs, 4" Sargassum trigger 3yrs, 7" Green Crosshatch trigger male 2yrs. I am extremely concerned about this. I am also very sad about it. I have always taken every measure I could to protect their health and safety. Any advice or info that you would be willing to share with me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Wes Headley <All the information you provide points to nothing that would cause this loss... As I stated above, this is not an easy genus to keep in captivity. Sorry for your loss. I would do nothing different other than perhaps have an even larger system. Bob Fenner>
Re: Crosshatch Triggers and a worsening scenario
Robert, Thank you so for much for your reply. The horror story continues to unfold... <Yikes...> Today I found the Blue Guinea puffer dead. No external symptoms although his appetite had been low these last few days and possibly, his stomach a bit puffed. I have seen puffers get a kind of indigestion, be a little sluggish for a few days and then rebound many times in the past, so this did not set off any alarm bells. <Yes, not just Ostracion meleagris, but Diodontids, other Tetraodontiform puffers often go on mysterious "hunger strikes"...> I then spent some time very closely observing the remaining fish (listed below) and noticed the following; The triggers all looked healthy, and behaved normally. The Harlequin tusk fish seemed a little sluggish and upon very close inspection I believe his stomach looks a bit distended or full, but it does not look exactly like what it might appear as after a feeding. <I do hope the two losses are not related... as in an organic cause...> They are always fed a combination of krill, fresh water shrimp and Spirulina, they are not over-fed, and feeding is skipped about once a week to give the filtration a break. <Good idea> Naturally, the local aquarium shop has no cogent advice. This really freaks me out. I do not want to continue this hobby if I will be destroying animals inadvertently. I feel link somebody hit me over the head. I am frustrated because I feel I don't know how to react correctly to this situation. <I agree, feel similarly> Any further advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated. For example, should I copper the tank? <I would not. Unless you can directly discern a parasitic problem... A few "standard, reflex defensive measures" I would make... Increasing aeration, circulation... cleaning up filters, protein skimmer collector... gravel vacuuming half the system this week, changing a good part of the water... and the other half next week... Adding a few pounds of activated carbon in Dacron bags in the filter flow path... Possibly adding a box of new live rock (to shake up the microbial make up of the system, provide some fodder> Are green crosshatch triggers a difficult tank fish or is it that we just know so little about them?  <It is my decided opinion (though subject to instantaneous revision!) that the more open ocean Triggerfishes are largely harder to keep in captivity... Not just the added trauma of their collection protocol, but their inherent natures... being in open spaces, in large aggregations... don't think they make transition to captive conditions easily> Again, all basic chemistry tests optimal, water looks good, all systems are functioning normally. Occupants are:  7" Blue Guinea Puffer 2.5yrs (now dead),  3" Tomato clown 3yrs,  3.5" Harlequin Tusk, 8months (some bulging in the lower abdomen region),  4" Blue Jaw trigger 2yrs,  4" Sargassum trigger 3yrs,  7" Green Crosshatch trigger male 2yrs. Wes Headley, <Other than what I've generally listed I wouldn't do much here... Perhaps the swelling in the Choerodon wrasse is a matter of subjective evaluation. Please see the images on the website: www.wetwebmedia.com  of the Harlequins... is yours more rotund than these? Bob Fenner>
Re: Crosshatch Triggers and a worsening scenario
Robert, Thank you for the detailed responses. <You're welcome. This situation calls for them> I did indeed go to the website and inspect the photos of the Choerodon wrasse. I would say that the belly of my wrasse is swollen as though it has eaten a huge meal which it has not. <"When it rains...". Ascites of some unknown origin... is there some pathogenic microbe at work here? What might recenter this system...?> Again, the other remaining fish appear healthy and normal. My instincts tell me to copper the tank.  <What do you hope to gain by such? What will be lost? Nitrification...> I have added the carbon filter bags to the third tray of the Bio wheel system and will vacuum and water change as recommended. I am reworking the water returns toward greater efficiency as well. <Ah good> Is it possible that the male crosshatch trigger shocked the female with aggressive behavior which precipitated her death? <Doubtful> I have never seen the male chase or act aggressively toward her once. He will occasionally bully the Sargassum trigger (who is healthy), but that's all I have ever observed. Who knows what goes on when the lights are out though. <Yes... but triggers generally don't do much during "lights out"... typically "sleep"... reef-associated species wedging themselves, inflating their girth/triggers to lock themselves in...> BTW, I used to have a snowflake eel, but it had grown to over 18 inches, and I felt it needed a larger home so I found one for it. Does the presence of an eel living on the bottom have any sort of beneficial effect on the tank environment?  <Interesting possibility... but don't believe so here> Or is there some other creature that could add and not detract from their quality of life. I tried a cleaner wrasse and after a few months, one of the triggers ate it (I think). <Possibly> Again, I thank you for your help and advice. Wes Headley, <Take it slow here my friend... Still believe this string of misfortunes is more coincidental than centrally linked to a causation. Bob Fenner>
Re: Crosshatch Triggers and a worsening scenario
Robert, Thank you for all of the advice and information. I will proceed to clean water and gravel, and increase filtration. Hopefully the wrasse will survive, he swims about in the back area of the tank, slowly, in a shy fashion typical of the species. No one ever seems to notice him so his stress should be otherwise low. <Yes> The information on the site is excellent , it's one of the best I have seen. It's a shame so little seems to be known about many of these creatures and a worse shame the way the pet industry regards them as somehow just mindless automatons.  <Perhaps this is too harsh an indictment my friend... I suspect that what happens in the retail end of the trade has much more to do with "the human condition"... aspects of not wanting to seem backward, the desire to be a business success... satisficing is a term I likely borrowed for explaining the expedient acts of all...> Everything I read and hear about fish and animals suggests we have been underestimating their awareness and intelligence, and always at their expense. <And ours> I have honestly tried to do my best managing this environment, adding technology as I become aware of it, and yet I still feel somewhat out of control as I watch their lives unfold in that tank. <Indeed. We share this condition...> Maybe I should just consider a Hawaiian vacation :-) . <Or, possibly in addition?> Wes Headley, <Kia orana my friend, Bob Fenner>

Niger Trigger, Eye Trouble  I have a niger trigger which has developed what seems like an infection in one of his eyes. It first presented itself about 2 weeks ago as a white fleck on the top of the eye. At first I thought it might be a parasite but it appeared to be inside the cornea rather than on it. Since then, a white area has now developed on the lower portion of the cornea. Other than the white areas, the eye is clear and is not swollen or bulgy. The fish is eating well and active. Can you help with a diagnosis and treatment? Phil Siani <Don't know if I can... have seen similarly marked eyes in wild and captive species of triggers... Maybe this is some sort of eye-parasite (internal)... there are such (mainly worm groups, but some Protozoans as well...)... Doesn't sound like an injury-related cause... Possibly some nutritional component... Be any of this as it may, about the only thing I would do (or can think of to do) is provide this animal optimized and stable conditions, hoping for a self-cure... I wouldn't handle the animal to apply a topical, would not add anything to the water, amend its food with a medicant... just time going by. Bob Fenner>

Clown trigger & bladder disease  Hi Bob,  The last time we chat about nitrite spiking , I have overcame it thanks  for your help.  Bob, I suspect my trigger is developing some sort of bladder problem (  same symptom again ).  What can cause bladder disease or bloated gut???? <Internal parasites, infectious disease, mis-feeding/eating, physical gut blockage...>  Parameter is ok and fish is feeding well before the problem started. Why  Bob ????  Any remedy to apply?????? <Not really... there are muscle relaxants or garlic that could be applied (fed) to the specimen, but I'd take a "wait and see" approach at this point. The animal will likely self-cure>  Could it be internal organ problem?????? <Maybe, but doubtful>  Pls reply ASAP. <Bob Fenner>

Parasite problem on Clown Trigger Bob, I refer to your book and website from time to time but am not sure what to do about my current problem. My Clown Trigger has had parasites for the last two weeks. They appear to be some kind of crustacean or something. I've caught a few and they have at least three sets of legs and what appear to be pinchers. (like earwigs) They are the size of a piece of rice and are partially translucent with a reddish hue and two black specs at one end. eyes ? <Good observations! Yes to the likelihood that these are crustacean, parasitic...> ) They attach at one end and dangle ad the fish swims. They don't seem to bother the fish as he doesn't scratch or anything and eats normal. I've witnessed them move in the water and crawl on rock after I knock them off. The tank is a 125 and the only other fish is a Green moray eel. I purchased a cleaner wrasse, which cleaned him up for a few days until the eel ate him, and lowered the SG to 1.018 at the advise of your website. But their still there. I don't notice any on the eel. Maybe because of the slime coat? My question is If I move the Trigger to a hospital tank will the parasites eventually die off with out a host or will they just live in the display tank until the fish returns? Is there a place with pics to truly identify these parasites? Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thank you, Art <This may sound/seem a bit strange, but do read over the "pond" piece (in that index on the WWM site, on the use of DTHP/Neguvon/Masoten/Dylox... for pond parasite control... and adopt the use of this acetylcholinesterase inhibitor to your marine ends... Don't know if the same "bug spray" compound is still being offered in/as "Marine Med aqua", but there are certainly sources of this "powder" being retailed for "pond use"... Questions, please write back...  Bob Fenner>

Clown Trigger with possible parasite Robert, I have a clown trigger that has a line that runs from his body to his top fin. At the end it has a little brown bag or ball looking thing. I am not sure what this is. Any info on this would be appreciated. Thank-you, Rick <Likely nothing... maybe a genetic/developmental anomaly, perhaps evidence of some sort of trauma... probably not important. Will most likely self-cure. Bob Fenner>
Robert, would a fresh-water dip help if this was a worm parasite. <In most cases, no. Real worm, or worm-appearing crustacean parasitic problems rarely are susceptible to dip/bath procedures... Most folks avail themselves of "economic poisons" for such... but don't think, and I would not, utilize either in your case. Bob Fenner>

Sluggish Clown Trigger Hi Bob, I was a bit disappointed to see the condition of the Trigger. Beside its sluggishness and slow response to movement, all other vital signs ok like the eyes not cloudy, body condition no sore and scale not raise, colour a bit faded .  No other signs of disease but caudal fin having two white patches, no rapid breathing or scratching. Not feeding yet but fish seem stress out staying in the corner but moving slowly  Bob, why the sluggishness???.  David. >> <Colloquially, "jet lag"... tremendous stress from capture, handling, confinement, other challenges... give this fish time, it will rally soon. Bob Fenner>
Thank you
Hi Bob, Thanks for that tips on " jet lag " fish ( clown trigger ).Truly it recover when I went to collect it the next day. Today it is feeding on shrimps ( frozen and krill ),and the colour is back. <Ah, I figured as much. Thanks for the good news.> By the way, is it true that feeding with fresh water guppies or shrimp may not have the same nutrition value as the marine? <Not necessarily... more to do with what those animals have been fed and more...> Bob, some even feed frozen food with vitamin c, is it essential? Amazingly it did not consume my 2 damsel fish but did bother my coral. <Yes on the Vitamin C... an essential nutrient and as with humans, not produced endogenously... must come from outside sources... And not yet, or maybe ever on the popcorn/damsels... and likely never to be chewing on your corals> Truly its a magnificent fish with it huge size ( my about 8 ins ), colour and its design!!! <Gets to be about twice this length...> Truly God is magnificent creator of heaven and earth and everything in the Deep Blue Sea!!!!!! <Wowzah, now you're waxin' poetic!> And is for all to admire and treasure, Praise the Lord!!!!! Bob , if you come across useful and interesting info about clown trigger do drop me a line, ok? <Not much time for this my friend... unfortunately... but easy enough for you to build your own bibliography, collection of materials on the species, group of triggers> You surely have contribute much to this hobby with your vast knowledge and experience ( things don't come free nowadays ) Keep up the good work! <Depends on definitions in my estimation... the praise, friendship, sense of doing good to improve others love of their lives through an appreciation of the living world is "pay" enough> Bye2 now and happy chatting. David. >> <Indeed. Bob Fenner>

Baby trigger can't swim, please help! Help save a fish! Hi Mr. Fenner,  I don't know where else to turn, I found your web site about a few months ago, and I keep coming back, very interesting and a lot of accurate information! The reason I am writing to you today, is because my favorite fish (Odonus Niger) is very sick, he cannot swim and has not eaten in two days. Here is the whole story. I got a Flame Angel about 2 weeks ago, but unfortunately he died a week after, with no apparent cause, he ate like a pig and was just fine that morning, then I came back from work and he was just laying dead on the substrate. I pulled the dead fish out of the tank and did a water change. There was some aggression between the trigger and the angel in the first two days, and the trigger got his fins tore up. The aggression soon stopped (I didn't notice any more aggression after the incident) and the baby trigger was doing just fine. I have had the trigger since April this year, and he was fine until about 3 days ago. On Monday night he seemed to hide a lot, he likes to sleep late, so I didn't think much of it, the next night he was under his favorite rock, and swam a bit, he didn't eat that night, Tuesday I came back home and I thought he was dead, cause he was not moving, just laying there in the corner, I went to get him out, and he moved, so I lifted him up (not out of the water) and he swam a short distance. I saw he had trouble, I left him alone expecting to wake up to a dead fish, he still was not able to swim this morning, otherwise was OK. Tonight he is still the same, looks like he is trying to swim towards me, but he can't do it, he didn't eat again, although I have tried brining the food really close to him. The water parameters are fine: Ammonia - 0 Nitrate - 0 Nitrate - about 20 ppm, maybe less pH - 8.3 The tank is 40 gal FO and has been established for 2 years. I have 3  damsels in the system (had them forever, lol). The tank has a bio-wheel, some rock, that became MRR, crushed coral substrate, carbon and floss filter and an air pump with 2 air stones and one 300 gph pump that pumps the water through the filter. I aerate the tap water with salt mixed in it (use "Prime" to dechlorinate the water and "Aquarium Systems" Buffer) for about 20 hours before doing a water change. The last water change was done last weekend, which is right before this started happening. I have no idea what it could possibly be, I just can't sit still and watch him die, I have to do something about it, PLEASE HELP THE FISH! I really love his fish, so does my husband, it has been a really good pet for us, and I really don't want to lose him, he means a whole lot to me. Your prompt response will be highly appreciated, and hopefully will save my trigger's life. I am sorry this is so long, I just thought of giving you the most information I can to work with. Thank you very much, Sincerely, Julia PS. Thank you very much for your input in this hobby. >> <Hmm, first off, sorry to be getting back to you so late... have been traveling out of the country the last few weeks... This is strange behavior for a trigger (as you know), and I don't see anything overtly wrong with your set-up or conditions (maybe the water change had something to do with the situation...), and I do hope/trust your Trigger has recovered by now... they are tough and if there is/was some developing internal problem (let's say a parasite species), it is likely your specimen will rally. Do try to be patient, and let's see if this situation resolves itself. Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby trigger can't swim, please help! Help save a fish!
Dear Mr. Fenner, I have figured out when the problem was and here is a follow up with a full story for you. I need your help more than ever now: Here is the whole story. I will try to be as detailed as possible. I have a 40 gal FO system, that has been established for over 2 years. It contains one Odonus Niger (the main character of the story), I have had him since April this year, and he has grown from 1.2" to about 2" since I have had him, 2 "original" yellow tail damsels, that are over 3 years old, and one three-stripe damsel, that had been in the tank for about 1 1/2 years. I use Instant Ocean Synthetic Salt Mix, and tap water with "Prime" conditioner. The tank has crushed coral substrate, several lava rocks, that became live rock, a carbon and floss filter, a BioWheel, air pump and main 250 gph water pump. Not much, but it's been doing OK for that long, and I am planning on a reef tank as soon as I move :) A little over a month ago I had purchased a 1 1/2" Flame Angel. He was doing fine for 2 weeks, eating like a pig, really happy, everything was fine, except one incident with the Trigger (apparently Angel was harassing the Trigger). That stopped as soon as it started and everyone was happy, Trigger's fins healed completely. Then two weeks later the Angel passed away for no apparent reason. I tested the water everything seemed fine, except pH was kinda low - 8.0, I thought it might have been because of the fish dying and laying there pretty much the whole day, till I got home from work. Ammonia, Nitrite were 0, and Nitrates were barely detectable. I did a 50% water change (tap water + Prime Conditioner) and tested the water, the pH was still low, 7.9-8.0. So I started adding buffer (Aquarium Systems Buffer), till I got a reading of 8.3. I did that water change on Friday, then I got the water "buffered" completely on Monday. I got home on Monday night and the Trigger was not acting right, I tested the water again, everything was fine, the Nitrates were undetectable, the pH 8.3, the SG 1.021 (the usual). The trigger was hiding in the rocks, which was not a usual behavior for him, but he came out to feed, so I really didn't think anything of it. Tuesday the trigger did not come out to feed, so I just turned the lights out, and didn't worry too much (sometimes he gets depressed or something, lol)  <Am very sure this does happen...> Wednesday morning he was still asleep when I left to work (he doesn't get out till a couple of hours after I turn the lights off, been this way since I got him, just lazy, I guess, not a "morning fish"). Thursday night I came home and the trigger appeared to be dead, he was just laying on the crushed coral substrate on the side, right in the middle of the tank, I panicked, got my hands in the tank and he started wiggling, but he couldn't swim, I didn't know what to think, I kept testing the water and everything was testing out OK. I did a 15% water change. I rushed to the LFS trying to figure out what it was, and let them test the water. They tested Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, everything was 0, then we got to the pH the first test they run, gave a reading of 8.5, that is as high as that particular test went, they got another test kit, and the pH came up to 8.8! so did the 3rd test kit! Right away I went to the store and bought enough water to make a 50% water change. I also bought new salt mix of the same brand I usually use (Instant Ocean), new carbon and some Melafix (and a new test kit). It's been 1 1/2 weeks now, and the pH is at 8.3 (for sure) and I keep adding Melafix, because the trigger has ragged fins and now his eyes appear cloudy. The fish cannot swim, he can just scoot across the bottom of the tank, and he just started eating again 3 days ago. I have to literally hand feed him, get some frozen brine shrimp (his favorite and all he will eat now) right in front of his "face" and he starts nibbling on it, he seems to nibble a lot, but I am unsure of how much food he really gets down to his little Tommy. I try to feed him every day, and for the past 4 days it's been pretty successful, compared to what it was before. I consider this an improvement. I am doing 10-15% weekly water changes with RO water and salt mix, and adding only Melafix straight to the tank. I don't know what else to do, I would like some information on how Alkalosis or Alkalosis (I assume that is what it is when the fish is poisoned by high pH) affects the fish, and what the treatment is, and if there is a chance for a full recovery. Please help to save my baby trigger. Impatiently awaiting your reply, Julia >> <Hmm, so, perhaps the induced pH anomaly is mainly a cause? And the Prime, effects of so much, so often new water changes... the Melafix... cumulative? One thing is for sure, I would STOP making the changes and additions as you've been doing... Instead, get a large dedicated "fish water" trashcan (with lid, like a Rubbermaid "Brute"...), and pre-mix your water and anything you'll be adding... and leave it all to blend and warm up (with a powerhead, maybe a heater...) and use it as such... in future. Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby trigger can't swim, please help! Help save a fish!
Mr. Fenner, Thank you for your reply and for your advice. The next Question I have, what does the pH shift upwards (high pH) do to the fish affected? <Hmm, profound challenges... marine fishes and non-fishes are in intimate contact with the aquatic environment around them... one bold, common example is the relationship between elevated pH and ammonia toxicity... Ammonium is orders of magnitude more deadly at high pH (more than 8.5) I was not able to find any information on the topic, so I was wondering if you could help me with that. <Believe me, this is for wont of searching... many works on fish physiology... not necessarily on the net though.> I have some great news about the trigger though: He is starting to swim. I fed him last night, and he actually was trying to chase the food, several hours later, he was able to swim about 2" up :) I am so encouraged, thank you so much, Julia >> <Ah good to hear... they're tough... and likely your specimen will fully recover. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby trigger can't swim, please help! Help save a fish!
Hi again, Mr. Fenner, Julia is here to bother you again. 1. I know that high pH makes ammonia even more toxic. The question is, how come was it undetectable when I tested the water? The pH was still high when I tested the water. Does the ammonia go up right when the pH goes up and then the bacteria take care of the ammonia, so it all happens in a few minutes, or the ammonia is ALMOST undetectable and the test kit does not pick it up, or...? I never understood that completely.  <Hmm... well, pH and ammonia aren't produced simultaneously... elevated pH may be related to livestock (over) production of ammonia... but not necessarily... may well be not/non-detectable... Ammonia can be very transient... very... here now, sometimes immediately gone.> 2. So, you are pretty much saying, that it is not DIRECTLY high pH that affects fish, but what other chemical reactions high pH leads to? Did I understand that correctly, or does high pH directly affect some parts of fish's body, like gills, for example? <This is a semantic difference... that has come up cyclically in the hobby press for decades... pH anomalies ARE directly AND indirectly related to aquatic livestock mortality and loss of vitality... likely a/the primary cause of loss (coupled with nitrogenous wastes)... and pH is a factor in all enzyme systems efficiency... affects all biochemical pathways... Does, of course affect all parts of fishes.> 3. Next question: I am in search for a good physiology/disease book out there, but I was not able to find anything, I am thinking you can help me with that too, because I surely know the people who take marine biology have some titles that fit this purpose. <Look in the college library for Hoar and Randall's "Fish Physiology" series of volumes... remember, you asked for this.> Thank you so much again, Julia PS. The trigger just ate an unbelievable amount of brine shrimp, but he still refuses to take anything else. <Spoiled rotten, big grin> 4. Is it a good idea to supplement the shrimp with some Selcon? Has anyone really tested that stuff, and is it indeed that beneficial as they say? >> <Yep and yep. Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby trigger can't swim, please help! Help save a fish!
Thank you so much! Here is an update: I did another large (25%) water change today, let the water (RO) stand, mixed with salt mix, overnight, actually I think it was sitting there for close to 20 hours.  <The longer the better> The trigger is still feeding pretty good, last night he managed to get stuffed with unbelievable amount of shrimp. I need to go get some Selcon. (Is there any difference in Selcon and Zoecon?)  <Not much... both will do> The trigger still attempts to swim, and does swim up to about 2" off the substrate every once in a while, but he can get from one side of the tank to another, by scooting/swimming with no problem. This is what is puzzling me: I noticed the trigger scratching a little bit, I think it was scratching, it is kind of hard to tell, because he stays close to the substrate at all times. Then I noticed there are 3 little "things" on his eye (only one of the eyes), one of those seems to be moving around. They are little, look like rice grains, whitish transparent color, and very small. I think this is what looked like "whitish" eye when the trigger fist got sick. I am pretty sure that those are "inside" of the eye, I was trying to look from the side, and I am pretty sure they are inside. What could this possibly be? <These are likely the after affects of scraping, physical trauma, and will likely self cure... Almost w/o a doubt your specimen suffered some sort of gas bladder damage in collection (being brought too fast from too deep to the surface...) and likely (at this point) will recover> There are no other signs of parasites on his body. You think he might be getting? (I know what ich looks like, although I have never had an ich outbreak in 3 years of my fish keeping). <Unlikely... this group of fishes is generally resistant> Actually the trigger accident was my first "boo-boo", except occasional territorial wars with new additions, that passes in 1-2 days. (I had lost several of fish before, and every one of those died less that a week after the introduction (let me mention they came from Petco)). Thank you so much, again, for all your help, you must be really busy with all those e-mails you get, not to mention the articles and books :) PS. Great Clownfish article in November FAMA! >> <Yes, it is a life... and Wowzah, haven't seen the FAMA pc... was submitted in... 1988!  Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby trigger can't swim, please help! Help save a fish!
Hello again, Mr. Fenner, You said that "Almost w/o a doubt your specimen suffered some sort of gas bladder damage in collection (being brought too fast from too deep to the surface...) and likely (at this point) will recover" I have had that fish since April this year, is this possible? Thank you so much for all your help, Julia >> <Yes... and there are infectious, parasitic, nutritional and environmental phenomena that would account for the apparent difficulty with spatial orientation, locomotion. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dead of a clown trigger  Hi Bob ,  Didn't hear from you since I email to you the last couple of times, went  for a holiday?  Sad to tell you my clown died due to bladder problem and I still don't  understand why, since it was over a month in the tank and feeding well  and show no sign of disease of what so ever.  Suddenly it begin to loss appetite and swam upside down and never  recover.  Appreciate your reply.  And I may get another clown soon if God willing.> Bye now, David. <Very sorry to hear of your loss... and it is indeed still a mystery to me... But please don't be overly discouraged... the vast majority of Triggerfishes are "steel-hard" in terms of hardiness and aquarium adaptability... Bob Fenner, back from the Cooks the last few weeks>

Niger trigger Hello there, I have a question about a niger trigger fish. It is about 3-4 years old and about 7" long. It is in a 55 gal tank by himself. Up to now he has always been active and always looking for food. He was fine last night, however today he is hiding and has refused all food. There is not a mark on him and the water checks out fine. SP is .1.022, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates are all good and the ph is 8.2, and the temp is 79.. I have two powerheads running in reverse, a backpack filter (it has been on there for about three weeks now) and yesterday afternoon I added a mini-cyclone filter. The only new thing besides the filter was I purchased some prime reef food. Could it be the filter? It seems to be fine. It is not spitting out any silica that I can tell. The prime reef food also seems fine. It smells normal anyway. I am at a loss and haven't a clue as you can tell. Any ideas? Thank you for your time, Cindy Haralson >> Thank you for writing and I do have some ideas concerning your Niger Triggers apparent ill-health... First off the admission, I certainly don't know a/the exact reason for the subdued behavior... But do know as you are also aware, that it is cause for alarm... This family's members will eat almost to the point of doing nothing else... It may well be that "something" in the way of novelty from the filter and/or the prepared food set off your specimen... psychologically... though not organically. That is, I'm suggesting that the animal is "bummed out" just because something(s) new in its world have occurred.  For general purposes, I would probably effect a regular volume water change/gravel vacuuming, and leave off with feeding for a day... then go with offering a more "known" food type for a while. Otherwise, no worries. This is a very strong species and one that does "bounce back" from changes in its environment. Bob Fenner 
Re: niger trigger
Hi, Thanks for the reassurance on my trigger. He was hiding for two days and on the third I halfway expected the worst when I got up. However he was cursing around the tank. I fed him a krill and he ate half. Not his normal, but better. Today he is back to normal. I have been feeding him the prime reef food since I got him. He usually eats a cube a day. I am wondering if this last batch was bad, I threw it away anyway. I will stick to the krill, plankton, and pellets until I go to Anchorage and can get the frozen food there. If it was the pump, I guess he got over it. If it was something else it is a mystery . Again my thanks, Cindy >> Good to hear/read. Be chatting. Bob Fenner

Triggerfish question Hello there, I have a good question for you if you have time... I have a new (2 months) aquarium. I have had 5 domino damsels the entire time. There was a small outbreak  of what looked like ich. I raised the temperature  to about 80. I realized that it may come back, so I  did frequent, partial water changes and watched  carefully. About three weeks ago, I added a beautiful 5" niger  trigger. He seemed very healthy the whole time, until two days ago. One night, he looked fine - the next night, he was COMPLETELY covered in parasites! It  looks like ich, but it has a slight reddish color.  I am guessing that the reddish look might be due to the normal red sheen on the fish. So, anyways, he is behaving normally, and eating. He doesn't seem to be breathing fast, although he is  scratching on the rocks. Does this sound like ich? Is it safe to medicate in  such a new tank? Unfortunately, I do not have a quarantine tank. I have heard that ich medications may damage the bacteria cultures in the aquarium. Any ideas would be appreciated, as this is a very nice niger trigger! thanks! >> Does sound like ich... and it's highly unlikely to "spontaneously cure"... the next parasitic reproductive wave may take all your fish livestock... Would quickly read and heed the materials stored on the site: Home Page re marine ich. Bob Fenner

Niger trigger Hello there, Thank you for writing back about the longhorn cow fish. I have really been eating up your web site! My local fish shop is a three hour drive from me, information is a gift. <Ah, great to hear> My question is this, My tank is a 55 gallon and been running for six days now. My water is testing out well, no nitrates or nitrites yet, ammonia is 0 and ph is sitting at 8.4. My specific gravity is rising to 1.025 every two days or so. I add about 3-4 cups fresh water and it comes down to 1.023 and then starts a rise again. What am I missing? <Nothing> Am I doing something wrong?  <Nope. Simple evaporation.... density equals mass over volume... the water's leaving the solid's behind> I am using instant ocean and the tank is covered with a hood so I don't think it is evaporation. <it is> My second question is regarding my niger trigger. It is about 6-7" long and I am loving the personality, when he was given to me he arrived at my house in a bucket with a beautiful piece of coral that he has claimed as his own. He was locked in so we lifted him into the tank coral and all.  <Good idea> The next morning he had two scratches on his back up by his dorsal fin and maybe a small one on top of his eye on the same side. I have been watching them closely, The two on his back have healed, but the eye one is persistent. It is slightly whitish. Is there something I should be doing for him?  <Hmm, better to leave it alone to self heal... manipulating the animal will likely do more harm... than help> In one of your Q&A, you mentioned a little garlic. Would this be appropriate or should I wait and see. The second thing is he also arrived with some streaks in his tail. They may be red.... but it is very hard to tell because of his coloring. They are not any worse or better or they may be normal for him? He is active and personable and eager to see me coming especially with food! <Let him/her rest up... and all will sort itself out. No need for the garlic... the redness will subside on its own> Thank you for your time, Cindy Haralson <You're welcome, my friend in fish. Bob Fenner>

I have a 55 gal tank with a dog face puffer a pink tail trigger, clown trigger and a Huma Trigger it is a well established tank but the Huma trigger's eyes have just started bulging and look cloudy. What can I do? I do not have a hospital tank. Also what causes this? Thanks, Cyndi  >> You might want to check your system's pH... and filtration, maintenance procedures... this is a bunch of metabolic activity (this amount, type of fish life) for a fifty five... and you may well be losing alkaline reserve AND have metabolite build-up problems... You do have a skimmer?  The bulging eyes (both sides, I take it from the description) are either due to physical trauma (the other trigger beating it up), poor water quality, or both. Bob Fenner

Dead Clown Trigger I received my order of fish on Tuesday, February 15th. Today, Sunday  February 27th, my 5.5" Clown Trigger died for no apparent reason. I have  kept his body. My water checks fine, he had no signs of disease or  distress. He looked perfectly healthy. He even ate voraciously until  yesterday, February 26th. He still ate yesterday, just not as much. Everyone else in the take, 2-Yellow Tangs; 1-Blue Surgeon; 1-HumaHuma  Trigger; 1-Niger Trigger; Metallic Green Mushrooms, look great and are  eating well. The death of my Clown makes absolutely no since to me and I  would like to hear any explanation that you have. When I invest $85 into  a Clown, I expect him to be in picture perfect health. I just can't  understand how a Triggerfish would just drop over dead with no apparent  signs of distress.  >> Don't know that I understand such events either... but do know that triggers do seem to "just die for no apparent reason" at times... Maybe internal disease problems? Perhaps a rock et al. extraneous material they ingest? Maybe psychological problems cause them at times to just "exit stage left"?  Ones that never eat, are very brightly colored... might be cyanided... and can be tested for such... But a specimen that does eat for days... not cyanided... Bob Fenner

Hi Bob, I have a serious question to ask you. I have 2 triggers and they are  a Blue line and a clown. The clown for the past 2 or 3 days has been acting  strange. Some parts of the day it stays in one place and breaths really hard  and it get's bloaty. And does not eat as much as it usually does. What is  this problem? Or is it just nothing? >> Probably nothing to worry too much about... you know how these animals develop transitory "psychological" manifestations... Is the Blue Line bullying the Clown? I doubt it... How long have you had them? This might be a case of gill flukes... and as such maybe worth a freshwater and formaldehyde dip... If the condition worsens, I'd do the dip... Kordon sells a good brand of the formaldehyde. Bob Fenner

Hi Bob, You had wrote me some things that could be wrong with my trigger. And you had I think solved one of the problems. Sometimes the Blue line trigger comes over from the other side of the tank and bites the clown trigger. So what can I do?  >> Really about the only thing is to separate them... completely, as in two different systems... These are very territorial animals that are often "fight to the death" adversaries between and amongst species. No amount of "trial separation", therapy, moving decor... is likely to solve this problem. Bob Fenner

HELP!!! Hi Bob, This is a last ditch effort to save a fish. I don't have anyone else to turn to. I have a clown trigger that I have had for about 5 years. Two days ago, I woke up to find him lying on the bottom of the tank and not moving. Normally, as soon as I walk up to the tank, he swims right to me, excited for food. I used a net to see if he would move and he just went to another spot at the bottom. There are no visible signs on the outside. I checked my the half shell in the tank his favorite treat) and he did not respond. I was tempted to just take him out and put him in the freezer and then decided to see if he would make it another day. Today I am grasping at straws. I decided to try a fresh water bath just to see what would happen. I tried it for about 3-4 minutes. When I returned him to the tank, he began swimming around, but very unbalanced, mostly upside down. The only thing that I could find in my books was swim bladder disease? Do you have any suggestions. This has been my favorite fish and I am so upset, any help would be appreciated. Thanks so much, Diane. >> Hmm, this is one of my fave species... our old company logo-fish... and have had many... but none myself as long as five years. However, Public Aquariums have kept them for more than two decades... so they do live a good long time...  What is wrong with yours? I can't say, because I don't know... Symptomatically, this sounds like some sort of "internal problem"... Is it cranial/nervous in origin? Don't know... Some sort of internal organ condition or parasite difficulty? Once again, I'm sorry to have to relate... not only am I unable to suggest exactly what the cause(s) might be... I would not do much other than what you've done...  There are Anthelminthics (Vermifuges... to expel worms), anti-protozoals... even some anti-microbials that might be "tried"... but I would not resort to them...  I doubt if this is a "psychological" display... as you know triggers are very capable of... but don't know the organic roots. Having seen even the most dire of circumstances with these Balistids... I am inclined to ask you to wait and hope your triggerfish/friend can and will recover on its own.  Bob Fenner

Mystery disease I have a 55 gallon fish only tank, operating successfully for 2+ years (water quality is great). I have a problem with a disease that has the symptoms of ich but it is only affecting my triggers (Huma & Niger). First some background information... I treated the tank for a real case of ich before Thanksgiving, finished the 21 day treatment and began removing the copper through water changes and two packages of poly filter. Shortly after the first of the year I noticed that my triggers were scratching themselves on my coral decorations. I watched and waited for a week or so and spoke with my LFS who said it sounded like the ich was coming back and I should start the copper treatment again. It was at this time that I took a reading of the copper in my tank and found that it had never fallen below .10 from the previous treatment. I began to dose the tank with copper again and the level came back up to .15 in just a day or two (I also dropped the salinity to 1.018, raised the temperature to 82 degrees and gave the Huma a freshwater dip for three days in a row). The level has been at .15 for 16 days. My triggers still scratch themselves and the Huma's color is very pale and he is sort of powdery looking and his fins are milky white. Their appetite is fine and they appear healthy other than the scratchiness and poor coloring. My other fish (Sailfin tang, Koran angel, & wrasse) do not exhibit this behavior. Do you have any idea of what else I can try or what this disease could be? Thank you for your help! Connie >> Hmm, could be an entrenched ich (Cryptocaryon) infestation that your other fishes have developed an acquired immunity to... Or one of another protozoan problems... that should have been 'solved' by the previous treatments... Or maybe even a result, along with the pale color mentioned of ongoing copper poisoning... The copper is therapeutic for such ectoparasites between 0.30 and 0.20, 0.15 at the lowest... depending on such factors as alkalinity, temperature... But what to do now? I would lower the specific gravity way down... to about 1.015 and see if this along with the copper will effect a cure... if the animals are still feeding and appear unaffected otherwise, consider going back to "regular conditions" w/o the copper to see if they self-cure... And the riskiest proposition, consider adding some Gobiosoma cleaner gobies... hopeful that the triggers will recognize them as allies and not mid-day snacks. Bob Fenner

My clown trigger has a strange fungus on his mouth and eyes, and red blotches  on his sides. >> Not good. Quickly check your water quality... make the BIG water change, or if you can, move the animal NOW! It doesn't "have" a disease in the way of parasitic or infectious agents... those are secondary events.... Bob Fenner

Clown Trigger I have a clown trigger in my community tank who seems to be suffering from a  recurring eye problem. It starts out as a tiny white spot on the upper part  of his right eye, barely detectable due to the natural white spots on his  body. Within days it is a pyramid shaped white growth on his eye. He is  very healthy otherwise. His color is good, he is active and is a voracious  eater! In the past I have dosed the tank every other day for a week with  penicillin (which I don't like to do), and it seemed to take care of the  problem. It's been just short of 4 weeks and the spot is back and growing by  the day! My water quality is kept topnotch since I have both an  Imperator's?) Angel and a Princess Angel.  Any thoughts or suggestions? >> Actually (he typed hesitatingly) I do... what you have may be more than a bacterial, protozoan... nutritional, water quality cause... that is being tilted in your favor by the penicillin... I would (as a trial) go the route of treating the Clown Trigger with a more dangerous therapeutic... (Metronidazole/Flagyl)... via its food... but first let's try something more safe... and please don't laugh, or dismiss this suggestion out of hand. I would treat the Triggers eye ailment with garlic (yes the plant). Place a little "chunk" in its food daily for the next week or so... and ring me back. There is sufficient evidence of anti-parasitic effects of this material... fresher material, like carved from a bulb/clove directly, is far better than pre-prepared. Bob Fenner

Bob: Thanks for responding to my question. I have another question for you. My clown trigger that I have had for about two weeks........seems to have gotten sick. three days ago, he quit eating, hiding all the time, and has a grey haze over one of his eyes. The eye also seems to stick out just a little. I have been treating him with Melafix.........that new herbal additive from AQ PH. I can't tell if it is working or not. My friend who does fresh water gave me some "dip-a-way" and said to dip the fish in the solution about once a day. Should I be doing this? I haven't used it yet.......... Do you think the Melafix will work? Thanks again Bob. Sincerely, Matthew Smith >> Hello there. Good observing on your Clown Trigger. When this family stops eating you know there's something amiss. And definitely the cloudy, slightly bulging eye is not a good sign. More likely than not, what happened to your fish is more of a mechanical injury (rough netting, bump in the dark) than an actual infection or parasitic disease. Just the same, It might be a good idea to dip it once and see if there is an improvement in a week (if not I'd dip it again). But I wouldn't dip it every day. I don't know anything, first or second hand about Melafix, but do know of Melaleuca trees abundance, use for human and companion animals, and have faith in the company that is fronting the product. Just the same, I'd hold off using it or anything else in this case... as I state, the great likelihood is that this problem is non-transmittable, and adding any "medicine" will serve to diminish water quality... Your trigger should be better soon. Bob Fenner

Triggerfishes for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: