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FAQs about Triggerfish Systems

Related FAQs: Triggerfishes in General, Triggerfish: Identification, Selection, Compatibility, Behavior, Feeding, Diseases, Reproduction, Balistapus, Balistes, Canthidermis, Melichthys, Odonus, Pseudobalistes, Rhinecanthus, Sufflamen, Xanthichthys

Related Articles: Triggerfish, Triggerfish Regional Accounts, Red Sea Triggerfishes, Hawaiian Triggerfishes,

Give them plenty of room! Here's a happy, healthy Odonus niger in Mabul, Malaysia. 

Triggerfishes for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Trigger fish, stkg/sel., sys.   8/28/11
Hi Guys,
<And gals Jody>
I've been in the fowlr hobby for fifteen years, had many different fishes and the problems that come but still wanted to ask of your wisdom.
<Heeee! Can we settle on shared experience?>
I have a 55 gal tank with a mature (size of a fist) porcupine puffer,
<This fish, species needs more room than this>
mature Lunare wrasse and mature coral beauty angel. I had a clownfish with them that got bit (by accident) by the puffer
<Mmm, no; not so much accidental as promulgated by crowding, natural behavior>

during a feeding last week and died. So I wanted to add a new fish.
<There is psychologically and metabolically no more room for further fish additions here>
The one type that I have never had and always was curious about was <were>
triggers. I have always been afraid that they would kill my other fish ( I've always had lionfish, tangs, Rabbitfish, puffers) so stayed away. The LFS has a Niger, Humu Humu and undulated. I am most worried that I might have problems with the coral beauty who has had no problems with the tough wrasse and large puffer who only cares about food. Any ideas?
<Yes. A larger system. IF you had twice the present room... a six foot run... You might well be able to stock one of the more peaceful Balistids.
Read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/trigselfaq2.htm>
I'm sure your going to say the tank is too small
but I thought I'd ask and get opinions as to whether or not this might work.
Reading through the FAQ's is inconclusive on what might happen...of course dealing with fish in never conclusive.
Thank you much,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Niger Triggerfish and His Home  7/23/10
Well here is the deal, my 4 inch Niger Triggerfish has been in a 75 gallon tank with a 4 inch Tomato Clown fish for a little over a year now, and since he (assuming that the fish is a he) was placed in the tank he has been claiming the same aquarium decoration as his home. In a few weeks I am planning on moving them into a larger 100 gallon tank and am wondering if I can move the Trigger without bringing this decoration/home with him. I am going with a different look in the bigger tank, and this decoration will clash.
Will this cause any problems or put stress on the fish, or will he easily adapt to the new environment?
<Can't tell... it may. I'd incorporate (hide) the decor item w/in some of the new hard structure (rock) of/in the new system>
There will be around 70 pounds of live rock with crevasses and caves in the new environment. Thanks for your help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Starry Trigger Fish 11/15/08 Hello, <Hello Jennifer.> I have been combing through pages and pages of information but, just can't seem to find the answer to my question. I have a 37g FOWLR tank that has been set up for a few weeks. I have about 20 lbs of live rock and another 20 of base rock. So, far I have only put a pair of Amphiprion ocellaris per the advice from my LFS. I've been trying to decide what else to add and I came across a little starry triggerfish at the store. <Not in a 37, no triggers here.> It's been there for a few weeks and is incredibly friendly. Every time I come look at it follows my finger all around the tank. I know that triggers get very big and can be aggressive but, could I keep this one with my clowns for a while? <Not long.> I am already saving up to get a 150g tank. I would also like to get a Falco Hawkfish, Horseface Blenny, and possibly a Bristletooth Tomini Tang. Do you think this arrangement could work? (at least for about 18 months while I save for the next tank!) <Do hold off on the trigger and tang. These just flat out need a larger system. Things happen, fish grow faster than expected, delays setting up the new system, etc. It is better to have the tank in place first.> Thanks, Jennifer <Welcome, Scott V.>

Picasso Triggerfish in a 40g Tank?  11/07/08 Greetings from sunny Gold Coast, Australia. <<Hello back from a sunny East Coast, South Carolina>> Hi, I just have a quick question regarding the beautiful Picasso trigger fish. <<Okay>> I'm 15 and I've only been doing marines for about one year. <<Ah, a budding aquarist welcome to the hobby!>> I have an aquarium about 40 gallons <<Too small for the Triggerfish mate>> with heaps of live rock and many lovely corals but lately I've been having problems with my fish but now I'm sure I have it right. <<Okay>> I was wondering whether I could keep a Picasso trigger fish with my fish? <<I'm afraid not the tank is just too small. This species of Triggerfish is a supreme aquarium species in my opinion, especially when kept with other fishes, but your tank needs to be about twice its size to allow proper room for this fish to develop/mature properly>> At the moment I have two Clarks clownfish, a melanurus wrasse and a Foxface rabbit fish. <<Mmm the Foxface also needs larger quarters>> If you could help me I would appreciate it very much and also I have had my Foxface for a couple of days now and he is very shy and when ever I go near my tank he hides is this just their behaviour? <<These fish are often quite shy at first, yes>> Thanks very much. Jake <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Triggerfish help... Actually, go back to go  01/21/2008 Hey, it's Sam.? I have a 55 gallon tank with a moray and a smaller puffer <... too small a volume for either> and I was wondering what species of triggerfish would be comfortable in a tank? <None> that size and with those fish.? It would be a great help if you could give me some info because I've been looking around the web for quite a while and cant find exact info, its always changing with different people. Again any info or advice would be appreciated. <Please... follow directions... read on WWM before writing us... This system is ridiculously mis-stocked already. Bob Fenner>

Trigger Compatibility, Inappropriate Stocking 7/18/07 I love the website and read on it almost every night. <Thanks> My question is would it be okay to put a niger trigger with a Picasso trigger in a 45 gallon tank. <Neither should be in this sized tank, definitely not both.> Now I have a Picasso trigger ocellaris clown Kole tang in my tank, the trigger is about 1 and half inches long. <It will outgrow this tank very soon, as will the tang. You really need a 100+ gallon tank to keep the livestock you currently have.> If I were to give my tang to a friend would the two triggers go well together. <Not in this tank, and maybe not in a larger tank, the Picasso in particular can be quite aggressive.> <Chris>

Brackish Balistids?  - 02/15/07 I wanted to ask you about clown triggerfish, Balistoides  conspicillum. Fishbase classes them as marine and brackish. I'd never  heard of triggerfish in brackish waters before. Do you know anything  about this? <Mmm... don't know either... perhaps they venture up into less salty environs as foragers?> Are they marine fish that spawn/grow up in mangroves or  estuaries, or are they marine fish that routinely make forays into  brackish water throughout their lives? <Mmm, spawn in the sea... in nests of sorts.... in sandy areas of their own fashioning> Given the nastiness of this  species, the question is an academic one (there'd be no point adding  one to a brackish community with scats and Monos!). But it is  interesting. Cheers, Neale <Yes... but I don't think Balistids are permanent residents by any measure. BobF>

Trigger Fish   11/7/06 Hello James, <Hello Jarryd> I wrote to you a while ago regarding what triggers to keep and in what size tanks. You directed me to LiveAquaria.com and said that their recommendations were the best guides. <A good starting point.> So, upon viewing the site am I right to assume that one could keep an undulated trigger in a 50 gallon tank?  Just trying to make some clarifications! <You must keep in mind that the recommendation of a 50 gallon tank is the minimum size tank.  The Undulate Trigger can grow to a length of one foot.  That leaves him three foot of swimming room from left to right.  Not much, is it.  Another point is that when you receive this fish, it isn't going to be one foot long.  More than likely, three to four inches.  In this regard, a 50 gallon tank would be able to house this fish until it grows.  We could probably be kept in a ten by ten foot room for the rest of our lives and survive, but, would we be happy, no.  Would we enjoy our life, no.  Would the conditions by healthy, unlikely.> Also I'm constantly reading posts by other aquarists who claim to have had for e.g.. a Niger Trigger in a 50 gallon for a number of years. I also know of someone else who said they had a clown trigger and undulated trigger in a 50 gallon tank for over 3 years!!! Sorry to annoy you, but it can get really confusing when someone tells you one thing yet you read another! Can you comment on these type of setups? <Yes, I also have seen people keeping large fish in small tanks, but keep in mind that we are looking at the health/well being of the fish.  Fish kept under these conditions are more disease prone than would otherwise be in a larger system.  Another point to consider…these fish were taken out of an ideal environment and, as aquarists, it is our responsibility to provide conditions suitable for their health and well being.> Thank you for your time James, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jarryd

Moving X-LARGE Queen Trigger   11/5/06 Hello! <Hi there> I am going to be moving our store's mascot tomorrow and would like your opinion on some of the methods we are thinking of using.  And, if you have any recommendations, please give me some!  :) <Hotay!> Our mascot is a 17 inch Queen Triggerfish.  She is going to be moved into a 180 gallon tank - she's in a 55 gallon right now.  The tank isn't even a full two feet away from her current tank.  We are going to move her tomorrow, and we will be filmed for our local news station, so we want this to look good!  :)  She will be fully acclimated by a drip method before the move happens. As for the methods we have thought about... 1.  "bucketing" her.  This would involve scooping her up into a bucket and then gently submersing the bucket into the 180. <This is best... do watch your hands/fingers... and back while lifting> 2.  "toweling" her.  This would involve placing a wet bath towel into the tank and scooping her up.  Then clutching the top so that she cannot escape.  Then submersing the towel and the trigger into the new tank. 3.  "bagging" her.  This would involve taking a large plastic bag (12 x 20), filling it with aquarium water from her current tank, and having that set aside.  Then take two other of the bags, make slits in the center of the bag, and then scoop her up with that, placing that into the bag of water, and then gently submersing her into the tank. <Will likely chew right through most any thickness, multiple bags> Unfortunately, this fish will not deal with a net, she is too strong, which is why I am not going to "bag" her as most would do.  Float the bag, etc.   If you have any recommendations for me, I would love to hear them!  :) Thanks so much! Wendy Legeret Wendy's Blue Lagoon <A suitably large, semi-flexible bucket is best here. Good moving! Bob Fenner>

Filtration for Queen Trigger  07/21/06 Hello! < Howdy! > I just love your site - great information and such a great service you offer! < Bob and the crew do an excellent job! > As for my question, I guess I really don't have one but more of  asking your opinion sort of thing. < I have plenty of them! > In my store, I have a 16" Queen Trigger who is going to be placed in a 180 gallon aquarium by herself. < That sounds like a great idea! > I am going to be building the stand out of cinder blocks and 2 x 4's for a few reasons.  First of all, my store is VERY SMALL.  Not a whole lot of room - my store is not even 800 square feet.  The perimeter is full of tanks and the middle is full of supplies and display tanks for sale - just wanted to give you an idea of why I am placing here on cinder blocks!  LOL < Be very careful when stacking the blocks. The holes should be up/down, NOT left/right! I am speaking from experience, having been peppered by the shrapnel of one turned the wrong way! This may alter your shelving idea a little. Sorry if it does. > Anyway, I am planning on using the under section of her tank for other products - the cinder's are going to be 5 high and staggered for placement of 2 x 4's for shelves.  The opinion I am looking for is this - The tank is going to out in the open where she can be seen on all four sides.  Because of this, I am hesitant to add a sump, wet/dry, or canister because of little ones, adults, and kids could possibly put something in the system.  Currently, she is in a 55 gallon on her own with 2 Penguin 350's, two 12" airstones that are hooked up to a 250 horse blower, and 2 large Chemi pure.  I am thinking about adding maybe an extra shelf for a canister and then put a bio-wheel filter as an extra.  What do you think? < I like the idea of having the filtration inaccessible. Have you considered internal filtration? If you have enough live rock, an internal canister filter (whether manufactured or fabricated) may be more than adequate enough. Investigate the pond section of this site for ideas on internal filters. > Thanks so much! Sincerely, Wendy Legeret Wendy's Blue Lagoon

Trigger beh., systems   5/25/06 Hi! If a trigger paces, does this mean more water movement is needed? 240 gallon tank. Dale <<Little to go on here. More complex decor to explore is another possibility. Lisa.>>
Re: Trigger sys...  6/5/06
>> Sorry, more info: >> 4" clown trigger, in captivity 4 months.  Started "pacing" 3 months ago. >> By pacing, I mean going end to end of the tank repetitiously. >> <<Sounds like he needs more stimulation to me.>> >> By increasing the circulation or turn around of water would it make a >> difference? >> <<Possibly.  What is the GPH flow right now?>> >> Dale > <<Increasing this will certainly not hurt.  I feel the real issue is diversity of environment. Lisa.>> So, by diversity of environment such as Wavemakers, changing diet, making water changes etc.? <<Those are important yes, but I meant a more varied physical environment; broken lines of sight. Lisa.>> Dale

Trigger System/Choices II - 02/27/06 Eric, <<Hello Bill>> THANKS for the very prompt reply. <<Very welcome>> I'm not sure but last post may have been misleading. <<Mmm, okay...>> The 90 gallon tank is going bye-bye, unless I decide to use it for my sump/refugium.  (the sump on the 90 gallon Cichlid tank is a 40 gallon breeder) <<Ah, I see.>> I've been looking at a 135, or possibly a 180. <<The latter is the better choice.>> Both are glass, and drilled.  They include a stand and canopy, and whatever lights I decide for a very reasonable price. <<cool>> I'm guessing the 180 would be the best choice for the three triggers--the Niger, Picasso, and Bluechin/Throat using the 'rule' of 1" of fish per 2 gallons of water <<A useless rule my friend...as are so many such "generalizations"...all fishes are definitely NOT created equal.  You must take in to account such things as feeding habits, swimming behavior, temperament, developmental retardation (as in putting a Yellow Tang/Blue Tang/Sohal Tang/Naso Tang, etc., etc., etc., in a 55 gallon system!), and more.  Unfortunately there is no magic formula (or rule).>> --or is it just wishful thinking and still need to go bigger-- <<Considering adult sizes...would like to see you go bigger for the long-term.  I think you could likely get by with the 180 for some time, but the Niger Trigger will eventually outgrow even this tank (can reach 20+ inches in the wild).>> Your thoughts and recommendations are appreciated. Bill Fletcher <<Regards, EricR>>
Trigger System/Choices III - 02/28/06
Eric; <<Bill>> Again my THANKS for the prompt reply--that is the main reason we all come to this site. <<Very welcome my friend.>> Well, I had always heard that bigger is better, and I really did want a bigger tank anyway. <<Your chosen fishes will be happier/live longer for it.  Let me know how things progress.>> THANKS again, Bill Fletcher <<Regards, EricR>>

Pull The Trigger! (Triggerfish Minimum Tank size)   2/8/06 Hello. <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> My name is Ellen, and I've kept freshwater aquariums for several years now, mainly Angelfish but also a breeding pair of Oscars and a couple of breeding pairs of Convict Cichlids (sales of fry help to offset cost of running all of these...). <Awesome! Glad to hear of your success! That's truly something to be proud of!> I'm thinking of setting up a saltwater aquarium, FO or FOWLR, and after some months of observations, find myself drawn to triggerfish for their personalities and intelligence (the LFS has a Queen Triggerfish that turns flips!). <Seems like all Cichlid Freaks just LOVE Triggers! LOL> However, as I still reside in Mum's Boarding-house, I have a limited amount of space, and really only have room for another 50-55 gallon aquarium.  Can you recommend any Triggerfish that might live suitably to adulthood alone in such a setup?  (Liveaquaria.com says that the Undulated Triggerfish will take nothing smaller than a 50g, but I'd like to get some advice from someone who's had experience keeping fish at home, not just commercially.)  If not, do you know of any other 'wet pet' (personable, intelligent) marine fish that would thrive in such a tank?  I definitely am not ready to try a full reef setup yet, from a financial standpoint if nothing else. Thank you very much for your time. Ellen <Well, Ellen, I'd honestly be hard=pressed to recommend almost any Trigger in this sized tank. Yes, some do stay relatively "small" (less than 8-10 inches), but they are very demanding fish that can wreak havoc on water quality in a relatively small system. They give off a lot of metabolic waste and require lots of macrofiltration and regular water changes to prevent them from overwhelming your filtration system. I'd pass on any Trigger in this sized tank. If it were me, I'd look into some smaller, colorful, equally interesting fishes. Perhaps you might be interested in Pseudochromis. They are really colorful, but are pretty nasty! You also might want to check out wrasses the genus Halichoeres, which stay relatively small, and are very colorful-with personalities to match! Another cool group would be Blennies. Lots to choose from, and they also have amazing personalities, stay small, and can be kept in groups if you have enough hiding places. Use the WWM site for some searches; I'm sure that you'll find lots of cool smaller fishes that will fit the bill here! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Trigger Feeding  12/17/05 Hi,    <Howdy>   I have a feeding question that was not directly answered in my searches.  I have a Picasso trigger that is about four inches in a 55 gal tank. <... too small a world...> He had some damsel buddies but he is now alone.  My question is how much and how often should I feed? <Once, twice a day... more frequently, smaller amounts> The reason I am asking is because anytime anyone passes within 5 feet of the tank or once it is dark outside, the trigger violently swims at the top front of the tank, back and forth for hours. <Territorial... not for food directly> In fact, lately it has been his activity half to 3/4 of the day.  He breaths hard doing this, and I am wondering if he is stressed. <Good question>   I don't know if I should be doing something different in how I feed.  I was feeding (krill and silversides) once in the morning and once at night when the actinic lights were on (which are timed to be on a hour before and an hour after the whites).  I try to increase it to three moderate portions, but the erratic swimming has worsened.  I drop the food in at the surface by the outflow of the protein skimmer, should I do something different than that (use a feeding stick maybe)?  I don't see other triggers his size do this, so I am guessing it is something I am doing.  Any help you can provide would be helpful.  By the way, at last check pH and salinity were optimal, and I have a Remora skimmer, a Rena canister filter, with 2 powerheads and approx. 40-45 pounds of live rock.  I've had the trigger since July and he has been alone for 2 weeks.      JWA <This fish/species needs more room... should be placed near last to avoid agonistic behavioral troubles... as you'll experience should you try placing something with it in the 55. Bob Fenner>
Re: Trigger Feeding  12/18/05
Thanks for the reply.  Here is my full story and maybe this will explain why I have him the 4" Picasso trigger in a 55 gallon tank).  My previous e-mail should be included.  I had two damsels and a lionfish in the tank before getting the Picasso trigger.  It was a "surprise birthday gift" from my visiting in-laws.  From what the LFS told them, and from what the "Marine Fishes" by Scott Michael said, they (my in-laws and wife) were under the impression that the trigger's minimum size tank is 55 gallons. <At an absolute minimum... without other livestock...> So that is how he arrived.  I questioned it because he was large, but because it was a birthday gift from in-laws and because I really wanted one(s smaller one that is), I took him. He actually did pretty well with the other fish, no troubles for three and a half months. However, after dealing with major temperature fluctuations, I lost the damsels and lionfish to what seemed to be stress related issues about three and a half months after the trigger arrived (no new additions to the tank were made since trigger arrived).  The trigger was the only fish I saved (all fish were covered in white and it was definitely not ich, I and LFS could only guess "velvet" because of the temperature problems).  So that is why he is alone.  I am guessing the best approach would be to trade him in for maybe a smaller Picasso, because I do intend on buying a bigger tank, but not right now (I'm in school and will be graduating next year).  From my research, I hear Picasso triggers grow slower so this can be done, right? <Yes> However, I believe I need to get whatever other additions in before adding a small trigger.  I was trying to set up a fish-only "predator" tank that maybe can be transferred later from a 55 gal. to something bigger.  I am sorry this is so long, I just want to do the right thing for the trigger and for future additions to the tank.     Thanks,      JWA <Do consider means of making your water quality "self-regulating"... particularly pH, alkalinity... Predatory organisms in small volumes have a habit of mal-affecting their own habitat... Bob Fenner>

Re: Going Up! Rocking A 210  12/16/05 Thanks for the advice Josh. <Don't mention it!> Yes, I did in fact forget to mention the skimmer which is a Precision Marine Bullet 3 that I will be using. I will also be running a UV unit. <There we go!> What about the idea of powerheads? Are they worthwhile and even possible with a Trigger that may see everything as a chew toy? <Well, for this very reason, I would try to avoid them at all costs. I trust you've read about the closed loop manifold, a much better way to go. - Josh>

More Myths About Livestock Scratching Acrylic Tanks - 11/18/05 I recently bought a 220gal Tenecor tank (72X24X24) with the Simplicity Plus system with the intention of setting up a FOWLR system. I originally wanted to buy a shark, but after reading your site, I realized that this tank is simply too small for one. <<Yes, and shaped wrong too.>> I would like to put a couple of triggers in though, maybe a Blue Throat and a Picasso. <<Cool! I have a Blue Throat in my Tenecor 375.>> The guy at my LFS said that triggers sometimes scrape their teeth along the sides of the tank, and since this is an acrylic tank, I thought I'd better check. I've never read about this behavior, have you? <<Nope...probably falls in to the same category as the stories about the Ctenochaetus genus of tangs scratching acrylic tanks with their teeth...mostly wives tales. >> <<Did you bring this up with your wife?  MH>> I think you need not worry...and believe me when I say...YOU will put far more scratches in the tank than any fish!>> Thanks! Robert in Texas <<Welcome, EricR in South Carolina>>>Mmm, do agree with the hobbyists causing more scratches... but have seen trigger-made scrapes in acrylic... and a Pleco-destroyed one recently. RMF<

Avoiding Trigger Troubles (Over-Crowding Triggerfish?) 10/18/05 Hello again, <Hiya! Scott F. with you!> Sorry about my lack of information. I have an 80 gallon tank with a canister filter and am thinking of an internal as well, so was just wandering what the chances are of my 4 inch Niger Triggerfish with a Picasso Triggerfish of the same size. <In this sized tank, I'd recommend against adding another Trigger. In fact, I'd be looking for a much larger tank to accommodate just the (potentially 20") Niger for his natural life span.> Or if you think otherwise, what Trigger am I best to try??? Do you also think its a good idea to get the new fish the same size or bigger than my Niger? <If you had the right sized tank, I'd be looking for a fish that is of similar size. However, as indicated above- I'd spend my time looking for a much larger tank first!> Thanks a lot for your help Jarryd <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F.> 

That Old Triggerfish Compatibility Question!  9/22/05 Hi, <Hi Adam J with you this morning.> I have a 56 gallon tank, full of live rock, live sand, ample filtration and water current....I have two damsels, Humbug and Southseas Devil....and a Yellow Tang <This fish is (or will be) much too large for this system, US 100 gallons minimum for any tang, and even larger for some.> .....but I've always loved Triggerfish especially Picasso's! I've seen a really perfect tiny one at my local shop, and would like it! Is this a huge mistake? <Each trigger had his/her own personality, this fish could be a saint and get along with everyone else or it could be a terror from the get-go…..It could also be a saint as a juvenile and then "snap" when it gets bigger.  Unfortunately I will have to advise against purchasing it do to its potential size at nearly 12", this tank buster will need a tank in the 100-150 gallon range.> I know the damsels could end up as a meal, but then I've also read  the Southseas devil is a good companion for a trigger with its added belligerence! Is a Tang a good match for a Trigger? I also know my tank isn't an ideal size, but I am going to get a far larger one in the future! <Wait for the upgrade.> would love to  see what you think! <Adam J.>

Picasso Trigger 7/24/05 Hello Bob. <M. Maddox tonight - long hair too, but a couple of years younger> I would like to thank you all for the helpful information that you share. <You're welcome> I have a Picasso Trigger in a 38g tank with over 50 lbs. of live rock. This is just a temporary thing until I have the space to accommodate something larger. It was a risky purchase because it's only about an inch long, but I figured it suited the small tank and the price was right. It eats well and often. <Good, good> How long do you think It can stay in this tank? <Until it reaches 3" or a little less> Should I move some of the rock to another tank? <I would to give it a bit more room> How long do you think it will take it to reach about 5 or 6 inches? <1-2 years, depending on how much it's fed> I don't doubt that the space may affect its temperament, but will it affect overall size or growth? <Will not affect speed, if it's kept in a tank too small for too long it will artificially stunt the growth that will result in severely reduced lifespan or death> I plan to eventually put it in a 75g with a lot of live rock. Potential tankmates that I am considering are a Moon Wrasse (Thalassoma lunare) and a Harlequin Tuskfish. Do you have any other suggestions? Thanks in advance for all of your time. <You're going to need something larger than a 75.  Consider a 150, as an adult Picasso attains 10", much less the wrasse and the Tuskfish, which will be fine tankmates provided they're housed in a large enough aquarium> Jeff Crowder <M. Maddox>

Trigger system, selection question 7/7/05 dear WWM crew, I currently have 2 freshwater tanks and I am entertaining the idea of going salt. I'm not thinking of doing it until December or so, but I'm trying to do research and a lot of learning in the mean time.  The triggerfish are what caught my eye. My question is this--starting from scratch is it possible to keep any trigger at all in a tank of 90 gallons? <Yes> I want to be a responsible fish-keeper and I am getting the idea that this is not something that can be done. thanks for any help. Jill <Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm and the linked files above. 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 -- >

Undulated Trigger Hi, I have read about the rogue (Balistapus undulatus, or the undulated trigger).  I would like what is the minimum tank size for 1 of these without other fish, corals and invertebrates. Will use LR, Seio M620.  <Since you've read about them, then you are aware they can grow up to one foot in a closed system. Keeping it alone, I would go with no smaller than a 70 for starters. James (Salty Dog)> 

Trigger Tank Size (5/15/05) 70 gallons I suppose? If that is the case. I have to return to the LFS. Thanks  <An Undulated Trigger (or any other fish that attains a foot or more in length) really ought to be in a tank of six feet or longer. The minimum size I'd suggest for an adult is 120 gallons. That said, Triggers are fairly slow growing fish, so I could be OK in 75 Gallons or so for a few years. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.> 

- Trigger Help - I just put my queen trigger in yesterday and I fed him some gold fish and he ate them pretty quickly after they went in his tank... <Would suggest you find a different source of food... live food, feeders are a bad choice. Any meaty seafood will do [squid, shrimp, etc.].> but today he's going crazy swimming really fast one side of the tank to the other and he's not eating his food... he swims really fast and sometime knocks the heater off the glass and the filters too... and then he calms down... and then does it again... is he ok? <Yes, is likely fine. Many fish, especially those new to captivity obsess over their reflection in the surfaces of the tank... typically want to kill that fish on the other side. Not a bad thing, but you may want to find another place for that heater. Cheers, J -- >

Niger Triggerfishes Hello,         What are my chances of success of keeping two Nigers in a 65 gallon? I have a 3" one in the tank now and would like to add a 6" one, will the size difference diffuse the aggression on the part of the original trigger? Thank you <Short answer: not good. This size tank is ultimately not large enough for one specimen. Would you like to be confined to a room about the size of your kitchen with a grizzly bear? Even if you both started off young/small? Me neither. Bob Fenner>

Trigger Tank? Hello, <Hi, MikeD here>         I have a 65 gallon tank with approx. 65 pd.s of liverock and a 3" Niger trigger and a 3" Picasso trigger. The Niger was added second and was picked on severely by the Picasso for a few days but they now get along fine and have been for months. I am thinking of adding a undulated trigger to the mix, I'm thinking if I get a larger one, say 5-6", the size difference may diffuse some of the aggression upon introduction. Am I crazy to even attempt this?<Yes. An undulated triggerfish can make a piranha look like a real wussy> And if so do you have any suggestions for a third and final fish for my tank.<In my opinion, you need to go back and do some serious reading before you proceed.....the Undulated Triggerfish is considered by many to be the single most aggressive fish in the marine hobby that's likely to be encountered by the average person. With the two fish that you have, they are surviving for now because they are both small juveniles, but as they grow their aggression will  become MUCH more evident and the Niger alone is capable of growing to at least 18", almost double the size of the Picasso. While triggerfish are beautiful, intelligent and fascinating animals they need LOTS of room and are not school fish in an aquarium environment of less than several hundred to thousand gallons. While a lion cub is cute, cuddly and adorable, it will grow into what it is and your triggerfish are exactly the same....have you seen a larger triggerfish offered for sale with red fangs, often sold as a "Vampire Trigger"?  These are sub-adult and adult Nigers, what yours will grow into. I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it IS the truth and anyone who tells you otherwise probably is interested in the contents of your wallet rather than the welfare of your fish and your satisfaction with the hobby.> Thank you. Picasso Trigger HELLO! As I know Picasso Trigger needs plenty of room to swim, but would it be ok if I put it in a cube tank as an only inhabitant? Is length of the tank major factor of swimming space or capacity? Best regards     Darek >>>Hey Darek,   Among the triggers, the genus Rhinecanthus represents some of the slowest growers. If you put a 3" individual in a tank that size, you'll be set. He will not outgrow that tank in your lifetime. :)For one thing they only get to 10" or so in the wild, and in captivity 8 or 9" is more realistic, and it takes years for them to get there.   When you need figure how appropriate a given tank is, you need to be concerned with real estate more than gallonage. A 12"x12" tank that is 20 feet tall will have quite a bit of volume, but no swimming space for the fish. That's a bit of a silly example, but you get the idea.   Jim<<<

Picasso trigger Hello! <Hi Darek, MacL here with you tonight> I' d like to thank for Your previous answers and ask about some more details. I decided to have Picasso trigger in my 90 g cube tank. As I've read this fish needs a good lighting conditions. I've got both HQI 150W and some T5 bulbs to put above my tank. What do You suggest.<Well I'd use both but I like it bright ha ha ha > How many watts do I need (I prefer to have more energy saving lighting but if this fish needs HQI I'll put it in my system - what spectrum do You suggest to make its colours bright). <Seriously I've kept them for years and not known of any special lighting requirements. But after being long term captives they occasionally have sight problems so you need to keep up with the vitamins for him.> I've prepared  in tank plenum system for my tank and I wondered if it would be ok for Picasso? <Sounds nice> What about current? (maybe a Tunze stream- NOT PULSING MODEL) or maybe something cheaper and not as powerful. Should the current be week or strong; random or constant <I really think that's not going to matter. As long as you keep your tank clean and consistent.> What can I add to the tank as a cleaning crew. <Cleaning crew is going to be a problem cause the trigger can and will eat them> best regards Darek  

- Trigger Tank - Hey there, <Hi.> I wanted to know, I have a 150gal fish only aquarium, and a 20 gal quarantine. I was wondering, if I buy a very small Picasso trigger 1", can I put it in a 10 gal aquarium until it grows to about 1.5"-2". I will connect the filtration to my main tank. My son really wants a little tank in his room, will that be fine for about 6 months or so if I buy a very small Humu, then if it get up to 2" I will move him to my 150gal? <Think it would be better if you could do at the very least a 20-long... larger would be better as this will affect water quality. Would do for six months... but not much more. Triggers are fond of eating, and their subsequent messes will need to be dealt with.> Thanks , Chris <Cheers, J -- >

Rectangulus Trigger (6/17/04) Have been watching this in my LFS for three weeks now and is still healthy and eating well, about 1.5 inches long. <Smaller triggers are less likely to survive in captivity than larger ones, though this is more of an issue with Clown Triggers than others.> I have or rather am developing a reef system only one coral at present. Will this fish eat my coral(s) as I know it picks algae off the rocks at the LFS. <Oh yes, not reef safe at all. I've seen them pick corals to pieces, not to mention their consumption of virtually all other invertebrates. Definitively a fish for a fish-only system.> How is it with other fish, will it chase them, try to eat them? <Yes, it will go after any fish that is smaller than it or that is not sufficiently aggressive to fend it off. And they get worse as they grow. That said, there are plenty of suitable tankmates.> I have a damsel <certainly a mean fish> and a black/white striped fish similar, species unknown both a little smaller than the trigger above and will probably get some wrasse, maybe butterfly(s) <most are a bad choice with a trigger> , Hawkfish, blenny, debating a clown fish and tang. Are tangs as bad stress and disease wise as everything I've read? <properly quarantined and then kept in correct conditions, most will to well.> I will acquire none of these fish in the short term but will eventually aspire to this. Tank dimensions are 120cm <47"> x 34cm <13"> x 38.5cm <15"> actual water, substrate depth and undergravel filter not included in these (about 3cm for both) and less live and base rock displacement. What would this make my tank in gallons? <I can only tell you the volume without rock & sand. The amount displaced per pound of rock depends on its density. There are a lot of great internet sites where you can convert liters to gallons, calculate volume, etc. I get 9870 cubic inches, which is about 42 gallons or 60L> I'm from Australia and we generally don't use gallons. <This tank is far too small for any Trigger, Tang or Butterflyfish, as well as most wrasses. You need at least 75G for tangs and at least 100 (preferably more) for triggers for instance. Smaller Hawkfishes, Blennies, Fairy Basslets, Flasher Wrasses, Firefishes & Dartfishes are more suitable for your tank. In your shoes, I would not include a damsel in the mix in such a small tank--it is far too aggressive. I'd suggest you pick up Scott W. Michael's "Marine Fishes" to learn more about proper tank sizes. Also consider "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael Paletta. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

Triggerfish tricks thank you for reading this e-mail, I wanted to ask you if trigger fish does eat or grasp power cables present under water? pls send back 10x. <Actually Triggerfishes are not to be trusted with power lines, tubing, glass heater tubes... can break all... possibly with disaster. Best to hide all, protect all that can't be hidden in sleeves. Bob Fenner>

Picasso Aficionado (5/24/04) Hi! <Steve Allen here> I plan to start a FOWLR system soon in my new home that will be ready next year. In the meantime, I'm doing a little research about Picasso triggers so that I can provide them with the best care that I can give. <Smart> I have loved Picassos ever since I saw a pic of one many years ago, even before I ventured into marines, and I plan to keep one in the new aquarium. <They're even cooler in the wild. You should try snorkeling in Hawaii.> Could you please tell me what the ideal size aquarium would be for just 1 Picasso - the only inhabitant. I have read about 75 gallons being the minimum, but some say that it's still too small. Would 100 gallons be big enough? <I disagree with 75, having observed this fish in the wild, and owning one myself. A six foot long tank would be the best. (I use a 180) This fish is very active and constantly swimming.> For filtration, I plan to use a wet/dry filter coupled with a protein skimmer and a refugium. I might also use some kind of mechanical filtration too. Is my choice of filters fine? <Get a top-quality skimmer. Money well-spent.> Which substrate is more natural to the trigger's home environment? Sand or crushed coral? <Either will do. A thin (1" or so) layer of crushed coral is easy to maintain by vacuuming. A deep sand bed may also work, but could be more difficult to maintain. I use the crushed coral and a remote DSB in a refugium.> Do triggers stir up sand beds? <They have been known to redecorate, including moving impressively large pieces of rock. BTW, there are suitable tankmates for a Picasso. Look into the Snowflake Eel.> Andrew Lee <Hope this helps. Keep up the research.> 

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.>

Trigger and water quality (1-12-03) Can you please tell me the proper ph and temperature to make my Picasso trigger happy?<PH should be between 8.0-8.4 and temp 76-79 would be ideal.  Please read here for more info on everything else your trigger is going to need to keep him happy: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm Cody>

Water Quality (10-17-03) Hi Bob, crew at WetWebMedia,<Cody here today! Sorry for the delayed reply.> I was wondering if I can ask you a question about my saltwater tank (well, I'm not wondering anymore, I am asking.. :) ) Onto the point... Tank is 150 g, with 50 lbs of LR covered with coralline, some button polyps, 1 Blueline (6-7 inches), 1 niger(4-5 inches), and 1 black patch trigger (4-5 inches). I am running a EuroReef CS6-1, an Aquanetics sterilizer, with an Iwaki 40RLXT. Algae is not a problem (tank has been up and running since May 5th) except some brown diatoms here and there. I also have a bunch of grape Caulerpa (sp?) that is growing in the tank which I introduced solely to control nitrates/phosphates. The problem is my nitrates have been in the range of 60-80ppms, and I suspect my bioballs are contributing to this big time. I have never, ever been able to keep triggers with nitrates lower than 40ppms.
<Taking the Bio balls out will help a lot. Try testing you source water and fix the problem from there also.> Due to the water circulation from the pump, and because my overall light wattage is only 155 watts, I haven't had any algae outbreaks (or should I owe that to the EuroReef)?<These are all contributing factors.> I was wondering in case I remove the bioballs completely (a handful at a time until none are left in the wet-dry), will my live rock be enough to sustain the bioload? <You should be fine.> I am not planning to add any more fish. My feeding patterns are rather heavy (I feed the equivalent of 2-3 cubes of food per day which most of it is consumed by what else (?) the Blueline trigger. He's grown from 2 1/2 inches to 6-7 in one year. I also do a 5 gallon water change with RO water every week (since I have no algae problems I figured I can get by with small water changes). These triggers are messy, so I'm not sure whether it is a good idea to remove the bioballs. Am I jumping the gun by expecting to have a triggerfish tank with nitrates in the vicinity of 20ppms? <Not at all, it can be done.  I would up your amount of water you change to about 15 gallons, which should help.  A deep sand bed would also help.  You can read more on all this at the WWM website.  Cody.> Keep up the good work. Thanks, D.

3 Triggerfish Hi Bob, My tank is a 215 gall FOWLR in which there are 2 large clown trigger (9 and 11 inches)<wow. normally two large clown triggers will fight if kept in such small quarters> and 1 large Arabian Picasso(6 inches both). I usually change 10% water tank every week with Tropic Marin salt.<I would do a 20% water change per week with these three monsters> I have Aqua Medic Turbo Flotor 5000 twin, the greatest A M skimmer.  I'd like to know if, using 2 litres of GAC (activated carbon) continually and aggressive skimming,<this should help with maintaining good water quality> I have to pour essential elements (trace elements) in the tank or is enough weekly water change?<You should not have to pour elements into the water with these triggerfish...the weekly water changes should be sufficient> Is enough 2 litres of GAC or I need more of it? Thanks a lot for your help Lorenzo<good luck, IanB>

Short Question on Undulated Triggerfish Hey Crew! >>Hey yourself, Zack.  Marina here. >First off - what a great site! VERY informative!  I have a 75 gal tank with live rock enough to provide hiding caves and open swimming spaces.  Within this tank resides my only fish.... A female Undulated Triggerfish that I've had for 2 weeks to a month.  Right now she's about 4 inches or so. I was wondering how large I can expect her to grow (I am aware that males get bigger then females).   >>In prime conditions, you can expect this fish to reach approximately 12" at maturity (having trouble getting into http://www.fishbase.org at the moment, hope it's not that new virus!  That site, when up, will have best sizing information). >Secondly, I was wondering if a second fish is in my future.  My first choice is a snowflake moray eel but I would gladly take suggestions!  Thanks for the help!  Zack >>Well, Zack, unfortunately, you're quite pressed for space as it is, even with the trigger so small right now.  Also, they're rather aggressive, though a moray would be a better choice for their hiding habits than anything else.  If you start off suitably small and go VERY slim on the feedings, you might be able to get away with an additional tankmate for a year or two, and the snowflake would be a good choice with the B. undulatus.  Best of luck!  Marina

Bursa trigger in a box Dear Mr. Fenner,     First of all I would like to say that I'm a huge fan of your book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". I have a 20 gallon saltwater tank that has just cycled. In it I have a Bursa Triggerfish. I want to buy a new fish or invertebrate to put in the tank. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.                                                 From,                                                     Wejjl <Yikes... well, as they say on late night teevee, "If you liked the book, you're going to love the website" (or such). Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm and the linked FAQs (at top, in blue). I would not keep even the Bursa Trigger in this small a system. Bob Fenner>

Trigger With Corals? Hello: <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight> I have a 4" Picasso trigger in a 75 gal. tank that is doing great...I was wondering what chance I would have to have an anemone or coral survive in the same tank? Would you have any suggestions for me ? Thanks...Cliff Bowman <Suggestion: Go artificial, my brother! Real coral is a really bad idea, IMO! It may not happen today, or in two weeks, or even a few months...but eventually, that 'ol Trigger's going to start chomping on your corals and anemones! In a captive system, it's really not wise to mix this particular species with corals or anemones. Some of the new artificial corals are amazingly realistic, and would be much better to use than the real thing, IMO! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Picasso Trigger Just a quick question......we're setting up a 29 gal marine tank......I'd REALLY like to get just one Picasso trigger (they're SOOOOO  cool)....will this tank be big enough for him? <No my friend. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm and the links to the genus Rhinecanthus triggers beyond. Bob Fenner>

Trigger behavior Hi Folks, <Howdy> While I've kept Triggers before, my Niger is behaving in a way that, it seems to me anyway, is unusual.  He swims about normally, but frequently swims to the surface and pokes his nose through the water briefly as if taking a gulp of air.  Is this normal or is he gasping for O2.  I have strong current, my spray bar breaks the water's surface, and I also have a powerful skimmer (AquaC Remora Pro) running on a 55g tank (the Trigger in question is there temporarily until my large tank cycles).  Thanks! M <Mmm, may be "nothing"... triggers are characters as you know... but I would increase aeration, circulation here just in case there is a lack of dissolved oxygen, too much CO2 at play. Bob Fenner>

Question on Pink Tail Triggers My question 2 part and is about co-existence and bio-load.  I would like to add a Pink Tail Trigger to my tank,  I am looking at one that is about 3 inches. I want to introduce him into a 55 gal. tank; in that tank is plenty of Coral; live rock and Black Sea Fan which is creating a lot of cover. <Mmm, this isn't a good choice to place with corals... especially in such a small volume system> This tank currently has a Huma Huma Trigger that is around the same size; this Huma Huma's got a little attitude as well.  Do you think that my Huma Huma will terrorize the Pink Tail Trigger? Is it better that a 50-50 chance? <More than this... maybe 80-20... trouble> I also have a Lunare Wrasse that is about 5 inches; he takes no back seat to the Huma Huma Trigger; I wonder if he will get along with the Pink Tail, what's your opinion.  FYI...I hate loosing fish. <I would not add another, or even one trigger to a 55 gallon tank> I also have a medium sized Scopus Tang, medium sized Tomato Clown and 2 Damsels.  I don't want to over populate the tank; <Too late> I know there is a way to determine that, could you tell me how to determine how many animals I can have in there before it becomes a problem; I do realize I will need to do a more frequent water change. <There is no one universal equation or model of how many of what types will likely go, prosper, but I assure you, you are currently past a reasonable limit. I would remove the present trigger, not add any more fish/es> Thanks and by the way, I am glad to have found this web site; it will be very helpful in the future.   Tim / Hazleton, Pennsylvania.   I hope to see this posted in the FAQ's..... <You will. Bob Fenner>

Triggers Hello, Hope you can help... <Me too!> I've been reading WebPages and books for about a month now... I'm looking to set up a marine tank at my office. I want to keep a triggerfish, either an undulated or a Picasso. <All great fish but the undulated is one mean critter. If he's the only fish in the tank, it won't matter> I'm thinking of a 55-75 gallon tank. A sump looks like overkill for a one fish tank; my main concern, honestly, is flooding. I work in the courthouse and if the sump/overflow was to flood, I'd be in big trouble. <Well there are ways to make a sump practically flood proof> So, I start thinking I'll just go with a canister and maybe those inline filters where you can hook a filter, a heater etc. Really don't want  to have my trigger attack a heater or other in tank gear... And then, what about algae? <Low lighting will help avoid the green algae and a hang on skimmer combined with good tank circulation and good husbandry practices will help avoid Cyano> Will it overtake the tank with only a trigger in there? <Shouldn't> Should I add liverock?... <Live rock always helps the over all water quality of the tank but it will introduce algae spores etc. In your situation, it is my opinion that live rock is not a "must have."> So, considering these concerns, what's the "best" way to set up a tank for a single trigger? <A single trigger is the same as setting up for any fish. Check out our tank setup section to see the best way to go about this. If you want a natural look use live rock. If not, go with the fake stuff...but the fake will need to be cleaned occasionally> I currently have a planted freshwater tank, 110 Watts, pressurized CO2 and it is quite lush and doing well... I've kept African cichlids and discus in the past... <Learn about saltwater before jumping in and you will be successful. A fish only tank is really not difficult at all> Thanks for your time and help... <Glad to be of service! David Dowless>

Bigger For His Triggers Everything I here regarding Trigger fish keeps "bottom-lining" with bigger tank and better husbandry. <Yep- In this case- bigger IS better- and perfect water conditions are the requirement> Since I am not willing to give up my quest for the tank full of "flesh shredding" fish then it appears I have to get a bigger tank. I am at 100 gallons now which I understand is the "basement" when it comes to the type of triggers I want to host. <Sad, but true, huh? Are you sure I can't interest you in some blennies or gobies...?> My question to you is a source for the Biiiiggg Tanks? I use to wait until a pet store was going out of business and I would relieve them of their smaller tanks 40 gallons flats 30 gallon flats etc. However that usually meant a lot of cleaning patching holes the likes. The real question is a source for a economical way to get a big tank? <Well- I guess "economical" is a relative term. What's inexpensive for someone else might be insane for you. I'd run search on one of the larger search engines on the web under "acrylic aquariums" or "custom aquariums" and see what you get.> I have seen a couple of web sites with plan to build your own are you aware of any successful stories using any of these sources.  If you are aware of sources via direct purchases or the internet --or of build-it-yourself sites that you think are reputable I would appreciate the info. <I'd check out OzReef, a great DIY web site. Also- check out the WetWebMedia.com chat forum...There are some hard-core DIYer's that can really give you some good insight into the pros and cons of a project like this.> [Ultimate Goal is a 400-500 gallon Trigger Tank with live rock laced with coralline, Caulerpa and Halimeda algae --- a filter system far beyond the capacity of the tank itself and show quality Triggers, Puffers and or Groupers] Thanks for your response. <If you follow through on this plan and do it right, you're going to have a tank that is a joy to work with and fish that are every bit as nice as you dream! Good luck on this! Regards, Scott F>

The Trigger Is A Digger (Pt.2) Scott: Thank you for your help regarding my digging trigger. By the way, since I have not re- leveled his corner that he dug out he has not dug anywhere else. I think this should be okay going forward...I'll let him has his little hole and he won't touch the rest of my sand bed! Thanks again, Gene <I agree, Gene-as long as he's not turning the whole sandbed into his personal sandbox, I think that your system should be fine! Take Care! Scott F.>

250 Gallon Tank for triggers I have purchased a 250 gallon acrylic tank and want to move my fish from my 125 gallon. The 250 has a built in overflow on one end with two outlets.  The sump is for a reef system, no bio/balls and the size is 34LX12WX18H, with a very large sump area in the middle section. The return side has two returns drilled and the returns are powered by two Mak4 pumps. The intake side has been drilled with a hole for another Mak4 pump which is hooked up to a large ETS 800 protein skimmer. <All sounds good!> I have a trigger tank and do not plan to have a reef tank.  My question is, can I use the existing sump for this, <I would want a sump that could at least the very least 25% of the display tank volume. A better tank would have 50% or more of the display tank volume. For my tastes, if I had a 250 gallon tank, I would shoot for at least a 100 gallon sump. But that is my opinion. You will never regret having the largest sump that your aquarium stand will hold. But you may eventually regret having a small sump. Believe me on this one...I wish my sump were larger!> or should I by a 300 gallon wet/dry system?   <If you have lots of large triggers with heavy feeding you may need to have bio-balls (wet/dry). However, the wet/dry concept while very efficient at processing wastes, will become a nitrate factory in time. If you submerge the bio-balls it will decrease the nitrate tendency.  Personally, I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a sump. DIY with either a large Rubbermaid container or a glass or acrylic aquarium. You can still toss in the bio-balls if you want or build a tower and make the wet-dry. There are plans to do this all over the internet. Check out our "links" pages for DIY. It's very easy to do. Of course, acrylic and Rubbermaid is the easiest to work with because it can be drilled easily. I have a DIY sump and I've never regretted the choice. If you want something that LOOKS really good, go ahead and spend the money for a "professional" sump. In the end, a sump is simply a tub of water that contains heaters, plumbing, skimmer, other filtration, etc. No reason to spend much> I have also been looking at the Kent BioRocker, which is better, the rocker or a wet/dry for my use. Your thoughts will help, thanks. Dennis <You already have my brain droppings on the matter...Save the money to spend on a quality skimmer, good live rock, and beautiful fishes. David Dowless>

Trigger and ammonia Bob, <Rob> After about 1 week now, the ammonia level in the new tank is near 1ppm and the nitrite level is at about 0.2ppm.  I am planning on doing about a 15 to 20% water change tomorrow. <I would wait on this... unless there is some compelling reason... the change will too-likely produce a "metabolic check" on your nitrifying microbes... forestalling the establishment of nitrogen cycling... Wait till both ammonia and nitrite are zero> I have not turned on the skimmers in the new tank (b/c I was advised to leave them off during the first month). <Mmm, I advise you to turn on your skimmer/s> Given the current situation, would it be wise to turn them on to remove some of the pollutants from the water? <Yes> Thanks again for all your help. <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>
Rob Stein.

Triggerfishes for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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