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FAQs about Triggerfish Health 2

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

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Related FAQs: Triggerfishes, Triggerfish: Identification, Selection, Compatibility, Behavior, Systems, FeedingReproduction,

Triggerfishes for  Marine
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Trapped Trigger I emailed a few days ago about  my Huma Huma trigger being trapped in a rock for a least a few days.  I've been having trouble with my email lately though, so I'm not sure if you guys received it or not.<I don't know if we did...this was just placed in my box. sorry>  At any rate, my trigger was trapped, I took pliers to the rock & busted it up, freeing him.  This was 2 days ago.  Since his escape, he's been lying at the bottom of the tank under various rocks, not eating or swimming.  How long can I expect him to be in shock, or should I even expect a full recovery.<I would check your water quality, hopefully he will fully recover.>  Also is there anything I can do to help him?<water change?>  Thank you very much for your help in this matter. <IanB> Dean

Blue Throat Trigger WWM gang, Great site. I recently purchased a male Blue throat trigger. About 4 inches long, appears to be in excellent health. I have him in a quarantine tank (~40gals) by himself.  He's been in there a week with no signs of any parasites. He ignores any food other than fresh water "ghost shrimp" however.  I've tried a variety of frozen foods, but he shows no interest.  A ghost shrimp however, is immediately hunted down and eaten.  I've been adding a little bit of frozen food with the shrimp in hopes that he might accidentally eat it and figure out that it is food, but no luck. Intend to try some raw fish, muscles, etc. from the grocery store tonight. Two questions: 1)       Any recommendations as to how to teach this fish to eat something other than ghost shrimp? 2)       Would it be a good idea to move him to a display tank now, i.e. is he likely to learn to eat other food from seeing his tank mates eating?  He is headed to a 125gal that is networked into 500 gal system w/ large sumps and skimmers. Thanks in advance for your help. Dick >>>Hey Dick,   It's just a matter of time. Some fish take weeks or months to acclimate to a wide variety of foods. As long as you have him eating something that is nutritionally sound, you're doing fine. I had an emperor angel that wouldn't eat anything but brine for weeks on end, then one day something just snapped and he started accepting frozen foods. Continue feeding the ghost shrimp, soaked in Selcon, and keep offering other foods. He will come around. Don't cut his quarantine period short whatever you do. Cheers Jim<<<

Sick Triggerfishes : help me ASAP I have 2 trigger fish 1 Picasso and 1 clown I have been watching my clown and he is getting pale almost so u can see through him but he is  eating   perfectly and the picas is barely ever swimming always laying down or in the barnacle never eating. so can u help me ASAP <Umm, need more information, much more. At the very least though here I would execute a large (25% or so) water change NOW, and another tomorrow in hopes that if there is an overt environmental problem (poor water quality, lack of oxygen...) the water change will alleviate this. Do you have test kits? What are they telling you? Tell me/us about the history of your set-up... size, components, how long it's been going... What other livestock do you have, what are they doing? Bob Fenner>

One Gill?? Hi there I was wondering if you could help shed some light on a small problem.<MikeD here and I'll sure try> I have a Juv. Picasso trigger in my tank who has been pretty happy for the past week.<Meaning that he's new and has been in the tank for about that time?> This evening I noticed something strange - he seems to be breathing with only one gill. One gill is 'puffing' while the other is being held pretty still. Also the one that is working seems to be doing double time (suppose that is to be expected). He was fine during the day (at least I did not notice this during the day) and, I suppose like all triggers he is happy to feed - just breathing a bit fast out of one gill. Could the gill maybe have something stuck in it?<The answer is yes, but probably not what you expect. If it's indeed a new and small fish, there's a good likelihood that what you're seeing is the beginning of an ick infestation and the parasites on the one side are the reason for its immobility. Very small fish often pass away from ick infestations without the owner ever being aware of what the actual problem is. With the tough, leathery skin of a trigger, it's not unusual for no visible "spots" to show, while the parasites in the gill effectively create a fish version of pneumonia, with suffocation often the actual cause of death> Any suggestions on what I can do or should I just leave it for a while?<My suggestion would be to set up a small Quarantine/treatment tank and dose with one of the formalin based Ick treatments (Quick Cure, for example) dosed at half the suggested amount (the small size and labored breathing would indicate that full strength may prove too much for the fish to handle. I'd suggest against the hyposalinity treatment because, frankly, I doubt you have the time. As always, NEVER medicate in your main tank proper.>> Thanks Anthony

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

Odonus First Aid <Hi, Mike D here> Good morning everyone, I could use some help. I have a six month old Odonus trigger, and it looks like he got a little to rambunctious in    redecorating and has a little  piece of coral or shell stuck in his chin,<Yep, this happens occasionally> it doesn't seem to bother him, but I am concerned about it.<Sometimes that's bad, as it's surprisingly easy to make a small problem into a large one because of human compulsions> Do you have any suggestions about how to go about removing this-??<MY suggestion is to wait until it does bother him, at which time he'll rub against a rock, a piece of coral or the bottom and remove it himself. If you feel that you HAVE to remove it, you can catch him in a net and simply pick the offending particle off with a pair of tweezers. While trying to catch him, he'll likely show you the wonderful way triggers dive into LR and LOCK themselves into place with that TRIGGER FIN evolved for just that purpose. Use care of course, so that the fish doesn't become severely injured fleeing from you, bringing me back to the point about making a small problem into a large one.> Thank you, John
Odonus First Aid
Thanks Mike D.  I thank you for quick reply, I will wait it out and see what happens, this guy is quite the character):-) Thanks again<You're so very welcome. Sometimes it's very hard not sounding offensive, but many marine creatures are actually quite tough and built for a truly rough and tumble world. If left alone, many respond much better than with our good intentioned meddling and knowing when NOT to treat is often the first step towards success, contrary to what American pharmaceutical companies would like you to believe sometimes.>  John.

Boiled Trigger With A Side Of Veggies! Hello<Hi! MikeD here>, I feel intimidated writing to such all knowing people as yourselves<Wow! I've been called a lot of things, but this is a first>.  I came home yesterday to find my 100g trigger w/LR tank at around 90*F yesterday!<Ouch! Been there, done that!>  My heater seems to have gone crazy because it was still on!<yep, occasionally the contacts fail or something similar...how DARE they not make a PERFECT piece of equipment?>  My red tooth trigger was twitching and really mad.  I was able to bring the temp down to a normal 78*F over the next 5 hours.<Good move.> I had a jbo 200w that the settings never seemed to be right. I am now switching to 2 150w heaters of the same brand.<A wise safeguard. This way if ONE sticks on, it's still not enough to "cook" the tank.> My question is do you think the trigger may have suffered some sort of hyperthermia related brain damage?<No, the temperature rise isn't high enough to do serious damage if it only got to 90 degrees>  He isn't twitching anymore but still seems angry.<Liley because he's angry> (More so then the normal angry trigger syndrome) I really love this fish and don't want to loose him.<Fully understandable. You'll want to watch him very carefully for signs of an Ick outbreak and have a Q/hospital tank set up just in case, as rapid/severe temperature changes often weaken fish to the point that they are susceptible to an infestation of this troublesome parasite> My other question is do you think that skimmate would be good for my garden?<Not unless you're looking to eliminate your garden. Don't forget that this is a SALT WATER tank and that "salting the earth" has been a famous way of making sure NOTHING grows there  since biblical times!>  It smells just like the fish emulsion at plant shops.<Smell can be deceiving and "bad" doesn't always mean good for a garden, as you've just learned, and luckily, not the hard way>  Thanks for your help.<You're welcome>     Nate D

- Trigger Ich - Thanks again for your previous response. I check my water quality on a regular basis and it always measures out fine. However my fish keep getting ich. I was told that dropping the salinity down to 1.014 the fish would still live but ich cannot. <This combined with other treatments can help.> I have tried it for about a week now and they are still scratching. I only have two medium sized triggerfish in a large tank. Do you have any suggestions? <Might consider catching them and putting them through a pH and temperature adjusted freshwater dip... and perhaps even leaving them in quarantine for a while and running the tank fallow for six weeks or so.> The tank has been set up for about 2 months now. <That's actually not very long... could be you are having water quality issues which cannot be measured... would step up the water changes and get some other options up and working... for instance quarantine tanks.> What are your thoughts on a U/V sterilizer? <These provide some amount of good, but are not instantaneous cures and typically need low flow rates to actually kill Protozoans - slow enough that the sterilizer will take weeks to see all the water in the tank. So yes, it will do you no harm, but no, it probably won't help in the immediate term. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm Cheers, J -- >

Pink tailed trigger needs help Bob I have a pink tailed trigger in a 77 gal tank  He has gone from dark green to almost a whitish Has almost like eye shadow above his eyes Swims with a bit of a list. <Sounds like this animal is stressed> also in the tank are two other triggers a lion fish and a dwarf lion.  I am aware  that it is a heavy bio load and I change 3.5 gal of water every day or two <... need a much larger system...> I have dose 10 mils of Cupramine (SeaChem) I have also bought and set up a vortex diatom filter and bought a Fluval 404 canister to take out copper I will set the 404 up next week currently has Fluval 303)  <What were/are you hoping to accomplish with the copper?> my other trigger swim beside him and rub up against him and I think one other is infected any idea what is wrong??  what should I do?? <Get a larger system> I am new to salt water but have had fresh for a while (the 3 triggers do get along other than try to steal empty clam shells from each other) - les <And more. Les, your system is way overcrowded... physiologically as well as psychologically. Trade in all but one of those triggers or get a much larger system... a couple hundred gallons plus. Bob Fenner>

Growth on Fin (4/07/04) Dear Mr. Fenner, <Steve Allen tonight.> I have a clown trigger fish he is about 5 inches long, and I've had him for about a year now.  About 4 months ago he started to develop a fleshy looking tumor at the front side of the beginning of his left fin, though he is seemingly normal the tumor seems to have grown a little and now looks as if it growing around the back of the fin.  Have you heard of this before and if so can you please tell me what I should do.  He is currently in a 125 gallon tank with an Emperor Angel (about the same size), a Powder Blue Tang, and about 5 damsels. Thank you, Rene Brunetti <Is it white and lumpy like a wart? Check some pictures of Lymphocystis. Could be some sort of tumor or scar. Not much to be done if so. If you can send us some pix (jpegs of no more than a 2-300 kb), we may be better able to help.>

Trigger Troubles (4/2/2004)  Hi Bob, <M. Maddox here today>  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. <The tank is way overcrowded my friend. Your snowflake eel will reach 100cm (nearly 40") itself, not to mention your damsels growing and your trigger "Melichthys vidua" attaining nearly 60 cm (2 feet)! Definitely look into a much larger tank (500 imperial gallons+) or new homes for your fish>  Nitrate 20ppm maybe less? <Nitrate ion I hope>  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?  <Could be stress of being introduced to a new environment, but definitely keep an eye on him. Not much you can do but watch and wait for now. Make sure it's not harassed by any of it's tankmates>  As always your advice would be greatly appreciated  <Hope everything turns out for the best>  Darren  <M. Maddox>
Trigger Trouble- Follow Up
Just a quick update. dosing daily with vita chem & Kent garlic extract.3 days ago, got him to nibble on a small piece of tuna. Great excitement. <I'll bet!> Following day nothing to eat & on the 3rd day another nibble on the tuna. I'm not freshwater dipping at all & no chemical treatment in place at all. Holding thumbs for him/her. Regards, Malcolm <Best of luck to you, Malcolm! I do caution you, though- if you are looking at a parasitic illness, such as Cryptocaryon, the parasites do depart from their host fish just a few days after their appearance, as they enter a different phase in their life cycle, only to re-appear later in greater numbers. That's why we often recommend a course of treatment that attacks and interrupts the life cycle of the parasite. Do be aware of this, and be ready to intervene (medically or otherwise) if it becomes necessary! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Lumpy Trigger 2 (3/25/04), Where's Beave the Tang? Steve, <Kirk>   Just on a chance that there is a roundworm that is causing the lump, what is the treatment? <Ooh, that's a tuffy. Sometimes it can be best not to treat. Treatment consists of and anti-helminithic of some sort. There's some useful info here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and a roundworm picture here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rndwrmfaqs.htm Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>

Lumpy Trigger (3/25/04)   I have a healthy Pinktail Triggerfish that is very active and is eating well.  However, I have noticed a bump on the side of his jaw about 4 days and I have no idea what this is OR if it is something I should be concerned with. If I do need to be concerned, do I need to place him in a QT and what type of medicine should I use.     I do have some turbo Mexican snails in the tank and I would like to if maybe he got one of the lodged on the side of his mouth? (brainstorming for ideas). <Now that would be a big lump.>   I have included a picture, however the best analogy I can give is it looks like he is chewing tobacco. I thought of Lymphocystis but I do not see any white cluster balls around the bump.   Thanks. Water parameters: <Look good.> Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 2.5 pH 8.3 Temp 81.5 <The pictures were actually quite good. I'd never be able to get my Trigger to be still long enough. Here's what I see:  There appears to be no abrasion or ulceration associated with this lump. It appears to be rather superficial under the skin, and does not look like it involves the inside of the mouth (thus no stuck snail.) It looks like a swelling, a cyst, or a tumor. I suppose there could be a round worm under there, but you ought to be able to see it or see it squirming around in there. I cannot think of a medication that would be useful at this juncture. You may just want to simply observe him for a few more days, maintaining excellent water parameters and watching his feeding behavior. Any worsening and you ought to remove him to QT. Perhaps there is a vet in you area that does some work with fish? If so, you might want to show him/her the pictures, or even take him in if it doesn't go away in a few days like a simple swelling should. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

Troubled Trigger? I have a Niger Trigger that I have had since 12-26-03. When I got him he was a baby.  since then he has grown bigger and I have noticed something wrong with his lower jaw.  At first it had a bump that just stuck out some.  Since then, it has become worse and looks like the bone is poking out of his skin. He always crunched himself in a hole in some live rock and I think he may have hurt it in there. He still eats as of now. I'm not sure what I should do it looks like it hurts him a lot . Please help!!!!!! Thank You. Angie <Well, Angie- it's kind of tough to "treat" injuries to fishes. In a situation like this, the best thing that you can do is to keep the water quality as high as possible, paying particular attention to a schedule of regular water changes. Another factor would be good food. Keep this guy fed with as much high quality food as he will eat. In the end, just giving him a good, clean environment and plenty of food may get him through this rough period, and maybe he'll heal up like a champ! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Trigger Trouble? Hi there...we have a Humu Humu that, within the last 2 days, has started twitching...He had bumps on his skin. They're gone today....He ate very little today...and he's resting, laying on the bottom under his little rock bridge he usually sleeps under....He slept somewhere different than he usually does last night...Thanx for any help you can give. Gabrielle <Well, Gabrielle- hard to be certain without a photo, but I'm wondering if this is some type of parasitic problem. Is he having difficulty breathing, or showing other signs of distress? Regardless, it may be time to remove him from the display and observe him more carefully in a "hospital" tank. If this does appear to be a parasitic affliction, then you may want to treat with copper sulphate. Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions concerning dosage and duration, and test for copper regularly during use. With good observation and rapid intervention, you can bring him back to his ornery old self in a relatively short time! Regards, Scott F>

- Picasso Trigger Problems - My Picasso Trigger has been doing well in my established 55 gallon (fish only) tank. I added him one month ago after a couple of weeks in quarantine. Body and fins were all blemish free since I bought him and this fish has always been very active and a ravenous eater. The tank's water parameters are all normal and the environment is stress free. A few days ago however, I noticed two pinkish round spots (about 3/16" dia) on the fish's belly. I'm a little concerned. Any idea what this might be? <Probably abrasions... hard to be certain without seeing the spots.> The fish is exhibiting no other problems. <Keep an eye on things - you may need to put this fish back in quarantine with some antibiotics so that those spots don't get infected.> Thank you. Robert <Cheers, J -- >

Best laid plans... Clown Trigger sick? 11/11/03 Hi Anthony, <howdy> My Clown Trigger is showing signs of the whitish stringy poop now. I am really worried about him. <hmmm... it may or may not be a pathogenic symptom. Can simply be the feces of a weakly feeding stressed animal if not internal parasites> He is going back into Q/T today but my LFS guy is telling me to put 1/4 tsp of Kanamycin in the tank since I can't get my fish to eat anything in particular. Does this sound right to you? <I don't think so. If your fish has a pathogenic cause to this symptom, it seems more likely to be non-bacterial in nature. This antibiotic may only be secondarily helpful at best. If you feel the need to medicate, seek an internal anti-parasitic drug instead like Metronidazole (Seachem makes this).> I don't want to lose him.  Please help. Any info you can help with would be so appreciated! <I'm honestly not sure you need to medicate yet. Just feeding well in isolation may be all that is needed to get this fish back on track. Stronger at least before medicating again> BTW, I got another tank for the triggers, it is only 90 gallons but I only have the 3 in there. They are loving it. Live rock and used substrate from the 125. And the 125 is doing fantastic. So now all I need is for Idgit to get back on his fins. Thank you in advance. Ellie <great to hear! wishing you the best. Anthony>

Sluggish Huma is the Least of it >Hello.   >>Hello, Marina today. >First of all, I'd like to say that your website has had plenty of helpful info.  My problem is with our Huma trigger.  He's pretty small, like about 1.5 to 2 inches in length.  We've had him for a month or two.  When I first got him, he was very friendly, much like he was my "Pet".   >>They certainly can be.  Or, they STALK you. >He always would come up to the glass when I came near the tank and he always ate everything I put in the tank, including trying to eat my fingers.   >>Better watch out for that, it is NOT so cute OR fun when they get big. >Lately, for the past week, he has gotten very sluggish and has been hiding inside of ornaments and sitting at the bottom of the tank.  His scales and fins look fine and our water has tested great.   >>"Tested great" tells me nothing. >We have been adding new fish to the tank, such as First, a month ago, all we had was a Maroon Clown, then two weeks ago we put in a Yellow Tang. >>Without quarantine?   Then, a week later we put in a Sailfin Tang and this week we put in our last fish for the tank, a Dolphin Tang.  We also put in this week a baby Banded Shark.   >>Oh lord.  No mention of quarantine, and WHY are you adding fish so FAST???  AND a shark??  Please, please, please tell me you researched before buying any of these animals.  PLEASE tell me you haven't put the shark on crushed coral. >Could all of this stress to him have caused him to act this way?   >>YES!  Watch the others, too. >We only have a 55 gal with a wet/dry filter below, but all of these fish are all babies.   >>You're going to end up killing these fish soon enough.  You are going WAY too fast, no matter how small the fish.  Not to mention that this is an awful mix of fish. >They are all very small.  Just barely big enough to not be eaten by the shark.  Is this too many fish for our 55? >>Uh.. YEAH.  The shark is the LEAST of the problems here.  I can only assume that you're buying first and asking questions later.  I'm sorry to be so harsh, but you have stuffed this tank FULL of fish, NONE of which are suitable for a system this size!   >We don't have any large rocks that take up room so there is plenty of swimming room, including a deco. of barnacles with plenty of hiding places.  This morning, I was almost sure my Huma was dead.  I went to pick him up with the net and he felt stiff, but when I scooped him, he slowly swam out of the net.  Have you ever heard of feeding them fresh garlic?   >>FRESH garlic??  Garlic, yes, fresh, no. >Would this help?   >>VERY doubtful.  Have you performed any water changes?   >He is eating less and less each day.   >>Of course he is, I doubt your water is testing very well at all at this point.  Test kit age and brand are at issue here, including ACTUAL readings.  Not to mention that it seems you've quarantined not one fish before adding it, you very well may have introduced something into the tank.  Shame on your local fish shop for not paying closer attention to how you're going about this, they're the ones who should be the experts (at the very least MUCH more knowledgeable!), and as such should be guiding you through this. >The only way he is eating at all is because I hold the food in front of his mouth until he nibbles on it.   >>This is how I fed "my" brood of baby bamboos. >Please help!! He is my favorite.  Thank You, Kristie Hall >>Ok Kristie, the brutal truth.  You have WAY too many fish in this tank.  I don't know if you've ever heard of quarantining fish for 30 days before introduction, but now you have for sure.  I can't say, "If you were my customer", because I never would have let a customer of mine end up in this situation, so, what's got to be done is return some fish.  Honestly, at this point I would return them ALL, especially the shark.  A 55 gallon is far too small even for a baby (which are much more "special needs").  The Maroon clown can get very aggressive with other fish, and the tangs.. well, just NOT suitable, again, for a tank this size.  The Huma is your favorite, so concentrate on making him healthy.  WATER CHANGES, large and copious, do not vacuum the substrate, just change the water.  To be safe, test the makeup water BEFORE putting it into the tank, especially if mixing using tap water.   Garlic has been known to stimulate feeding, but it's not going to be necessary if your water quality is pristine.  Extract would be a better way to go, though I have never used it myself.  I think your money is better spent on nutritional supplementation--Selcon.  I'm serious when I say test kit brand is an issue--Salifert, SeaChem, LaMotte--QUALITY, and RELIABILITY.  Start here, and then we'll move on.  Marina

Bad Day At The Office! (Office Aquarium Disaster) Hi Scott, how are you doing, hope you're doing great. <I'm doing well! Hope you are too!> Well Scott, another sad story, in the same month, This morning, I arrived at my office, And I noticed that my Clown trigger wasn't swimming as usual. He was laying on the crushed coral, and very pale. <Uh- Oh...> I notice that now the pump in my office was not working as usual, the water that was pumping was very weak. So I immediately tried to move the trigger and He was almost dead. I started making bubbles with my hand and the fish started to revive, but started swimming bumping in to everything, then he stuck himself in a rock and didn't move but breathed normal. <Sometimes, that is a common response to a stressful event> He stayed there all day. I went home to have lunch and my partner called me to say that something was wrong with the fish. <Oh no...> The fish was swimming in the same place just flipping and flipping, round and round, and didn't stop. I was going to bring Him to my home tank, but didn't think it was necessary because the fish was like agonizing. <Sounds awful!> I don't now if the fish went crazy because maybe I dint got oxygen to his brain or honestly I don't know what happen, but I am sure that tomorrow morning he will be dead. <Well, it may be more than just lack of oxygen. There could have been a die off of the beneficial bacteria in the tank, and a dangerous rise in ammonia and/or nitrite. Do run some water tests for these parameters, and conduct water changes or other emergency maintenance procedures as needed.> Have you ever had a fish act that way??? <Well, I've seen fishes behave this way due to poisoning or other environmental problems. I think that you are definitely witnessing something like this. Other thoughts: have any chemicals, such as paint, cleaners, or insecticides been released/used in the office lately. Something to consider...> And one more thing my friend told me that He saw like a pink centipede about 3" long in the tank, I have never saw it, and I would like to ask you if its something to be concerned about. <I'll bet that what he saw was a bristle worm, which is essentially a harmless and beneficial scavenger. I'd be more concerned with the tank as a whole than I would be about this creature!> Thank you for your advice again. <A pleasure! That's why we're here! Feel free to contact us again any time!> By the way the other fishes are ok at the time, but didn't eat as usual. <Not surprising, if this is a poisoning or environmental problem. A large water change could help here. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>
A Better Day At The Office!
Hi Scott, you won't believe what happen, I arrived this morning at the office, and I was sure that my clown trigger was going to be dead. To my surprise, he was gaining color and swimming, not as fast as usual, but like 85% recovered. <Awesome!> One day before, I didn't know what to do, so I did a 20 gal water change, I check the PH, and the nitrite, and the ph was a little bit low, so I added a some buffer. <A good move on your part!> By yesterday afternoon, the fish was 100% healthy, swimming as usual, biting the glass, asking for food. <Great to hear that!> Honestly, I felt very lucky and blessed. You can understand that what ever happened at the office you couldn't wipe the smile of my face. <Very cool!> I am going to do another water change today, and one thing that I notice, it's that there are things growing in the live rock, like cotton, and like transparent plants, I know that everything in the surface of the live rock is suppose to die (that what happen in my home thank) <Well, during the curing process, a lot of the life on the rock can die, yes.> So that it doesn't release ammonia, but in the office thank it's all different, things are beginning to grow. Thank you for your time, and please tell me what you think about the "cotton", and plants growing in the live rock. <Well, as mentioned above, this might be some dying life forms. I'd remove what you can during routine maintenance, and monitor water quality continuously> I was going to give the live rock a wash with freshwater, like a freshwater dip, but I don't want to mess things up. <Best to just keep up an aggressive water change schedule and good maintenance in the tank at this point> Thank you again for your time. Juan Santos. <Well, Juan, I'm really glad that things have improved so much! I think that if you just keep up the good work on this tank, everything should work out just fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Itchy trigger  (9-1-03) I have a 55 Gallon system with Chromis, small damsels, coral beauty angel and a 5 inch blue chin trigger. The tank is about 4 months established. The blue chin likes for me to scratch him on his side he will even roll over and allow me to scratch the other side. Have you ever observed this kind of behavior? I appropriately named this trigger "Itchy". I think this is a very cool fish. <I used to have a Huma that would let me do that.  Triggers are some of my favorite fish out there.  Have fun with this guy.  Cody.>

- Is My Trigger OK? - UNDULATE TRIGGER HELLO. first time writing! <Greetings to you, JasonC here...> I have received tons of helpful info from your FAQ'S. Good to know someone cares. My question is I purchased an undulate trigger 5 in today from local LFS which I ordered. When I arrived to pick him up he was floating upside down in a bucket I touched him and he swam down and then floated right back up so I rushed him home to my quarantine tank. Well he seems a little better and staying right side up but still seams to be listing a little and looks bloated in the belly. Maybe just fat? What could it be? Is it possible for him to have long term damage from shipping or swim bladder problem? <It is possible...> I would greatly appreciate any suggestions or help. <I'd just give it some time. Capture and shipping are very stressful and every animal takes that stress a little differently. All in all, Triggers are pretty tough customers so as long as its new home is in good shape - clean water, places to hide, etc. - it should be ok in time.> I'VE  INCLUDED A PIC - THANKS, COREY
<Cheers, J -- >

Undulated Trigger with Swim bladder Troubles >Hello. First time writing! >>Hello, Corey.  Marina here. >I have received tons of helpful info from your FAQ'S. Good to know someone cares. >>There are quite a few of us who care.  ;) >My question is I purchased an undulate trigger (5 in.) today from local LFS which I ordered. When I arrived to pick him up he was floating upside down in a bucket I touched him and he swam down and then floated right back up, so I rushed him home to my quarantine tank. Well he seems a little better and staying right side up but still seams to be listing a little and looks bloated in the belly. >>Indeed, still very easily seen. >Maybe just fat? >>Nope. >What could it be? >>Looks like it actually could be the swim bladder. >Is it possible for him to have long term damage from shipping or swim bladder problem? I would greatly appreciate any suggestions or help.  Thanks!! COREY                         >>I'm assuming that the shop called you as soon as they got the fish in.  As such (not knowing where you're located), we might be able to assume that the animal is indeed having swim bladder troubles.  Since he's slowly being able to "correct" himself, I would wait and watch.  If he were a goldfish then I'd have you feed him some good roughage, but I'm not so sure that he'd even take it.  He might take some Nori, it's worth a try.  In my opinion, you should watch him closely, and get him to take some foods (fresh to start).  Reduce all stressors, and if the fish needs further intervention let us know and I'll kick this to someone who's got a bit more expertise dealing with this specific problem.  Here's a link on marine collection: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/collmarsdvg.htm  with bibliography.   Best of luck, Marina

- Lumpy Humu - Aloha WWM Crew, <Aloha.> Much mahalos for the wonderful service you provide.  I can't thank you guys enough for all your help.  I have a baby Humu which has a line (bump) that run from one side of his jaw to the other side (see attached pics). <Interesting.> I gave him a couple fw dips and quarantined him for a couple weeks before placing him into my transition tank (30gallon).  I was going to put him into my main display tank when I noticed the strange bump. All the levels in the tank are normal and I have been feeding him vitamin soaked food ever since I got him. What going on? <Really hard to say... I've seen similar lumps on related triggers like the Rhinecanthus aculeatus and your R. rectangulus but am still not sure of the origin. Think it could be one of two things: a subcutaneous swelling, perhaps from wedging itself into a tight spot. The other option, which is less inviting is a tumor. Both happen... and there's not really a whole bunch you can do for either one. I would just continue to keep the fish like any other pet and perhaps the lump will go away and perhaps you will name it Lumpy... as long as it's eating, you're both doing alright.> Thanks again,
<Cheers, J -- >

Humu With A Bump? Aloha WWM Crew, <Hey Jeff> Much mahalos for the wonderful service you provide.  I can't thank you guys enough for all your help. <Thanks for the "props"! We appreciate that!> I have a baby Humu which has a line (bump) that run from one side of his jaw to the other side (see attached pics). <The pics didn't open...Could you try again?> I gave him a couple FW dips and quarantined him for a couple weeks before placing him into my transition tank(30gallon). <Awesome procedure!> I was going to put him into my main display tank when I noticed the strange bump.  All the levels in the tank are normal and I have been feeding him vitamin soaked food ever since I got him.  What going on? Thanks again,  Jeff <Hmm... Well, it seems like it could be anything from some sort of parasite to an injury of some sort...I'd keep a close eye on this guy for a while, and see if you notice any signs of discomfort. It may be a good idea to continue the FW dips on an every-other-day basis for a week or so. I'm a bit hesitant to recommend any medications until we have a better idea what this might be. You really seem to be doing things right, so let's observe for a bit longer, Please do try to send a new pic, and I'll see if I can make the call from here! Catch you soon! Regards, Scott F>
Humu With A Bump (Cont'd.)
Thanks for the prompt reply.  I found the Humu dead when I got home from work today.  I can't believe it. <Wow- sorry to hear that. It may very well have been a serious parasitic problem...> He was eating fine and looked great except for the bump.  I have a feeling it has something to do with the LFS that I bought it from.  Every fish I bought from this store has been sick or died. <Not a good sign...I'd think twice about going there again> I only go there because its the only store on the west side of Oahu.  Well, I guess I learned my lesson and will never be going back there. <At least have a long talk about his selection and acclimation practices...This is a problem that can be corrected...> Thanks again and please let me know if there is anything I can do to repay you for all the help you have given me.  Jeff <Well, just keep sharing your experiences with others and we'll all learn a few things. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Fish Disease? - Hi all, <Hello to you.> My large clown trigger has very little white flocks on its front fins since I've bought it 6 months ago. I think they are cists because they seem little white excrescences on its transparent fins and only there. I've tried to spread iodine on its fins but cists are even there. What can I use to eliminate them? <Well, for starters, iodine won't do anything for you. As for the spots on the fins, I wouldn't worry about them unless they spread beyond that. Many healthy fish have these spots on their fins and it seems to be a non-issue - doesn't spread, doesn't affect the fish, etc. I'd breathe easy if I were you.> Any opinions will be appreciated! Thanks a lot Lorenzo <Cheers, J -- >

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

Scratching Picasso! Dear WWM Crew- My Picasso trigger constantly scratches in the sand and rocks he has no visible signs of disease or ick I've done 3 fresh water dips nothing works he's scratched him self up with wounds now please help! <Ack! Doesn't sound fun! It's Ryan helping today.  Triggers do this, to an extent.  This doesn't quite sound normal.  Unfortunately, without more info I can be of little service.  What size tank is this?  Have you made any changes in your water chemistry that may have caused this?  Is he a mature trigger with a history of this behavior?  There is much to be considered.   Please quarantine him if possible-in a glass bottom tank with little to no rock, ho won't be able to rip himself up too badly.  Just don't forget that with a fish like this in QT, daily water changes are mandatory.  Search the WWM FAQs- there is a ton about scratching triggers.  If you're still amiss, write us back with the details.  Hope this helps! Ryan>

- Baby Clown Trigger - I got my baby clown trigger in today from fishsupply.com. I must say I'm not very happy. The fish came with TWO CLOUDY eyes. My wishful thinking is telling me that maybe its normal for Clown Trigger fish for their eyes to appear cloudy? <Cloudy eyes are not normal.> But I know its probably hopeless. <Not so... make sure it's eating, has good water quality, and isn't being hassled by other fish or getting sucked into the filter and it should pull through.> Only reason I say that is because I remember having a HUMU HUMU and his eyes always appeared cloudy but they really weren't. <I know what you're talking about but the clown trigger eyes are not the same as the Huma Huma.> That's just the way the looked and if u looked closely they were a real pretty blue. You think this is the case with the Clown trigger? What can I do? I have a 5 day guarantee on him but I'm sure he'll live for at least that long. <I agree with you there... might want to at least talk to the folks where you bought it and report its initial condition - perhaps ask what happens on the sixth day.> Cheers, J -- >
Baby clown trigger... gentle... for NOW!
Thank you so much for actually writing back to me. I know I'm a pain, but I love your alls feedback.  OK my baby clown trigger is eating fine. He comes out anytime I put food in the tank.<yes, they are hungry all the time> He is rather shy though, is just because he is like this or is it just cause he is new and still getting used to his surroundings.<He will turn into a menace soon enough!> He still has the cloudy eyes but do you think THIS IS A BACTERIAL thing or FUNGUS?<Not fungus, bacterial... it should get better with good food and good water quality> Or was it just a shipping thing that he'll get over.<should get over it, but not a shipping thing-could be stress, this doesn't always happen when fish are shipped> I wrote to fish supply and the owner personally called me last night kinda shocked about the fish I received.<ok> He said he picked it out himself because he knew I was so anxious to get it.<ok> He told me it was the most active one and he was perfectly fine when bagged.<ok> He also assured me that the cloudy eyes would go away and that it was just a stressful shipping. WHAT DO YOU THINK? <could be the truth, I didn't see this fish before it was shipped so I really don't know its original condition> I mean he was positive it would go away.<It should> This is my favorite fish, my prize fish..<Are very nice fish, but choose its tankmates very wisely. You might not believe me now but clown triggers become very, very aggressive fish (I know from experience)> I don't want him to get away.  Also he was scaring me today because when I get real close to the tank and he sees me he just lies down on the live rock.. COMPLETELY motionless, PLAYING DEAD.... Is this normal? <yes, they exhibit this weird behavior... they lock their dorsal trigger and they are almost impossible to remove from the rocks> Is this a trait of this clown triggerfish? <of all triggerfish> Or is he in fact dying? <He is ok> PLEASE WRITE BACK, your feedback means the world to me <well your trigger should be alright. He is eating so that's a good sign. I would not be too concerned about this, Good Luck, IanB>

The Trouble With Her Trigger... Bob, <Scott F. at your service today> I have a 90 g. tank with only one Niger trigger, 1 snail, and 1 hermit crab. The trigger had been very healthy, but after putting the hermit crab in (which came from our reef tank - he was picking on others), the trigger started showing signs of illness - listless, not eating, gills hardly not moving. I moved him in to the quarantine tank and have been treating him with copper for 14 days now.  About 4 days ago I saw something white on him that looked like a  parasite.  His behavior is improving, although he has not eaten in over 2 weeks. <Well, I am a big one for the use of copper to treat certain parasitic illnesses (i.e.; Amyloodinium, Cryptocaryon), but it is not a sure cure for every parasitic infestation...Sometimes, the side effects of copper use can outweigh the benefits that you could hope to derive from its use. Some fishes (such as Centropyge angelfishes, for example) don't take kindly to copper. Triggers, as a whole, seem to fare okay- but some individuals may not take it too well. This could be part of the problem here...Always monitor copper regularly when you use it. At this stage of the game, I'd use more "passive" treatments, such as freshwater dips, to treat whatever parasite this might be. I think that to subject this guy to more medication, particularly when he appears to be struggling a bit after copper, could be problematic> He stays in the dead rock I have for shelter.  Should I use antibiotics along with the copper? <Well, you wouldn't want to go dumping in an antibiotic unless you know exactly what you're dealing with...Conduct a full "suite" of basic water parameter tests to eliminate the obvious possibilities (nitrite, ammonia, etc)...> I don't know how much longer he can go without eating.  My next question is can the hermit crab be the host for either ich or a parasite? <It's possible, I suppose. As far as getting the fish to eat- I'd suggest removing him (yet again) to a separate, smaller tank to tempt him with some different foods (such as chopped squid, frozen urchin, etc...). Also- in a separate tank, you could administer vitamin preparations, such as Vita Chem, directly to the water, in the hopes of stimulating his appetite and providing some vitamins for direct uptake.> I'm having trouble figuring out where the disease came from.  The trigger also occasionally ate live fish. <Ahh...there's a good possibility> Can I leave the hermit in my main tank and wait a month for the parasites to die off? <Sure, assuming you're dealing with Ich or Amyloodinium...> I want to go ahead and get more hermits and snails to keep the tank clean.  Should I wait? <I would not be overly concerned about adding more at this point, myself> Thank you for your quick reply! Beth <I think that you can save this fish with quick, decisive action. As long as you identify what you're dealing with, I think that things should work out okay...hang in there! Regards, Scott F>
Trigger In Trouble (Cont'd.)
Here are my second set of questions: <Sure> I have a few more questions about your recommendations.  You suggested a freshwater dip.  I have never done this.  How do I do this and for how long? <Do check out this link for the full story on dips: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm > You also suggested putting him in another separate tank to give VitaChem to him to try to stimulate his appetite.  He is already in a hospital tank (with copper in it). Did you mean another tank?  (I only have one hospital tank.) <Sorry- my confusion...I thought that you dosed the display (I'm glad that you didn't!). I'd run Poly Filter and execute a number of regular water changes to get out the residual copper. Perhaps that will help this fish perk up a bit...> Thanks again - Beth <Glad I could help! Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Pop-eye the Triggerfish... Hi Mr. Fenner,  <PF here today.> I'm writing in concern of my pet Picasso triggerfish who now has pop-eye due to getting attached to one of my powerheads. <Oh ouch!>  Here's what happened: While I was doing a routine water change in my FOWLR, I had taken the strainer to one of my powerheads off and (as curious as triggers are)... he got a little attached to it! He wasn't stuck there for very long but long enough to get his eyeball partially sucked out of its socket! I panicked, grabbed him and applied slight pressure to his eye to "pop" it back in. <Quick thinking.> When I let him go, the poor little guy hid for the remainder of the evening. <So would I.> He is behaving normal now, swimming about, and eating. My concern is that his eyeball is slightly swollen and although not cloudy, it is full of blood. I read through some articles on wetwebmedia.com pertaining to the use of Epsom salts. The thing is my QT is currently occupied with an Anthias <I’d be worried about the trigger taking out the Anthias, as they get older triggers can get very aggressive>. The Anthias may be ready to go into the main tank but I wanted to hold off a little longer. <You can put the Epsom right into the tank: 1 tbsp. per 10/gallons of aquarium water.> Still I want to treat my trigger straight away before a possible infection sets in. I also don't want to further stress him by transferring him, but if need be I will put the Anthias in my main tank and treat the trigger in the QT. If I do decide on putting him in the QT, what are your thoughts on "MelaFix" could this be beneficial in preventing infection? <I’d try the Epsom first, then move on to more treatments if that doesn’t work first.> I definitely don't want to add this to my main tank. Or would he be better off if I just added the Epsom salts alone to my main tank? <See above.> Does Epsom salts have any adverse effects on water quality, will it mess anything up as far as pH etc.? <Nope, not that I found.> I read somewhere that Epsom salts can be beneficial in the aquarium but it didn't go into detail. <Here’s the FAQ on Popeye, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm you might want to read that, lots of good info.> Okay, since I'm on here... here is a quick question that has to do with absolutely nothing in this e-mail; Is "Lace Rock" okay to use as a base for live rock? <Yes, but be sure and wash it really well.> I had some left over from my African cichlid tank and it looks quite nice in my FOWLR. I looked all over the internet but have found nothing so far. I would also like to say that I loved your book (Conscientious Marine Aquarist) I bought it about a week ago, and have read something out of it every day since. <Glad you like Bob’s book, I reread mine all the time.> I work at the LFS and I now recommend it to all my customers. <Bless your heart, there’d be a lot more repeat business at LFSs if they all made sure their customers were informed. > And thanks for the article you wrote several back in T.F.H. on Triggers... it truly inspired me to keep them! I know you are a busy guy so sorry for such a long e-mail! <No problem, we’re here to help.> Thanks, Adam <Good luck with the little guy, PF.>

Could I have parasites? Hi guys!  well, two nights ago I noticed that my trigger looked like he was scratching himself on rocks.  He was still doing it last night, and also last night, my eel contorted his body a little bit.  then, today, my damsel (the only other fish in there) was scratching himself occasionally.  The trigger tends to scratch himself way more at night than during the day.  i went to my LFS, and they said it was probably a reaction to ammonia levels, but i don't have any ammonia in my tank. however, i do have a little bit of nitrites, which means that i very recently had higher ammonia, probably due to a piece of LR that i put in my tank about a week ago.  if it is indeed parasites, i want to find out quick so i can treat accordingly.  all other parameters are good (ph, temp). could my LR have introduced parasites?  WHAT DO I DO!!!! < The live rock is likely the culprit here.  It sounds like your tank has the dreaded ick.  You are probably going to need to move all current fish to a separate tank to be treated and the main tank will need to go fallow for at least 4 weeks.  You can find all the info you need at the links below. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm Cody>

Blue Jaw Trigger Hi Bob, <Hello Sharon> I just sifting through various articles about favorite fish and I found the posting from someone (a fish store owner I think) asking about those white "pimple-like" growths that were appearing around the mouth of his crosshatch trigger.  You mentioned that you had seen the same thing in a Blue Jaw trigger. <Yes> Well, I must tell you I have a Blue Jaw trigger and the very same thing happened to him a month or so ago and I was really a bit concerned because I love the big guy so much.  I actually had made up and frozen a batch of medicated food which I do believe included tetracycline as an ingredient (I'll have to check the recipe -- in fact, it may be YOUR recipe).  And since he eats everything else, I figured what the heck and dropped in a cube a couple of times over the week.  Well, the growths have disappeared and I am SO relieved. "Roy" (what can I say, I couldn't resist . . . he is a Trigger after all) continues to do well and hopefully will do so for a long time to come.  He never really appeared sick in the first place, so I must have caught the whole thing pretty early on.  I was glad to hear of this particular problem because I couldn't for the life of me figure out what those bumps were or if they were even a problem.  Now I know it is something that does happen. Thanks for the great service you provide! <Thank you for contributing to it. Bob Fenner>

Humu Triggerfish Disease >My Humu Trigger which I have had for 5 years has just developed what I can only describe as two "pimples" behind each of its eyes.  They are bilaterally symmetrical, but they almost look like tumors.  They are whitish in color.  The fish is behaving normally and eating well.  Any suggestions would be appreciated, Thank you, Jason >>Jason, is there any way you can post a picture?  This is something entirely new to me, and being both bilateral AND symmetrical it doesn't sound like any disease I'm familiar with except Head and Lateral Line Erosion.  What you've described sounds NOTHING like that, though.  Please, in the meantime, check our library at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqSciSubWebIndex/SciAqIndex.htm I am also going to steer to you towards another site for information at http://www.reefs.org/library  You can also check the forums and archives for information.  If you wish to post a query at either site you can go to http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk  or http://reefs.org/phpBB2/index.php?c=7 I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help to you, this is completely new to me.  Marina

Trigger Having Difficulty Eating >Hi Crew, >>Hi Steven.  Marina here. >I have had a Picasso Trigger for over a year and he has always been a very good eater.  Recently he has had a difficult time.  When I feed the fish he swims quickly up to the food and bites but misses the food.  He usually bites "short" of the food.  His eyes look fine.  He doesn't bump into things.  He is in a 110 gallon tank with a niger trigger, porcupine puffer, yellow tang and an eel.  Water parameters all check out OK.  The tank is heavily skimmed.  All other fish eating normally.  Any ideas? Thanks, Steve >>Well, Steve, I am a bit stumped.  It's not that I've never run across a trigger that was having trouble, it's that there was ALWAYS an injury or illness, old age, or something precluding the trouble.  You've only had the fish a year and a half, but it seems as though he's acting as though he's an old guy.  If you think this may be the case, look here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trighlthfaqs2.htm >>Also, please do a Google on the site on triggers, you'll net more information than you'd imagined!  If the cases sited don't resemble what you're experiencing, then at this point I'm stumped.  I'll suggest that you sign up for the WetWebFotos forums (at http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk ) and pose your query, and I'll also suggest you try another good site, www.reefs.org (though the search engine on that site is a bit...troublesome) for help answering this question.  Good luck!  Marina

Trigger needs glasses Good Morning Guys                                                             Thanks for such an informative sight. I have a question concerning a Picasso Trigger, which has been part of the family for about 5 years. He has always been the picture of health and very responsive to my being in the room or nearby. Now here's the problem. He has what appears to be a vision problem. When I walk up to the tank he can see me. I know this because he comes running at feeding time. He comes to the top of the tank to feed but seems as though he can’t see the food. The food can be right in front of him but he can’t find it! The only way to feed him is by hand! So it seems as though he can see at a distance but not up close. He also has become very clumsy and disoriented at times. (i.e. running into the coral) I really would appreciate your thoughts on this. He has lost weight. Is this a result of not being able to find the food or is something else going on? Thanks again for your time. Randy S.  < Try soaking his food in a vitamin preparation such as American Marines Selcon.  Unfortunately this is a problem with many large/old captives. You won’t be able to completely restore his vision but just keep it from getting worse.  Also make sure you are keeping up on your regular water changes.  Hope this helps, Cody>

Trigger Losing His Sight? Good Morning Guys <Scott F. your guy today!> Thanks for such an informative site. I have a question concerning a Picasso Trigger which has been part of the family for about 5 years. He has always been the picture of health and very responsive to my being in the room or nearby. Now here's the problem. He has what appears to be a vision problem. When I walk up to the tank he can see me. I know this because he comes running at feeding time. He comes to the top of the tank to feed but seems as though he cant see the food. The food can be right in front of him but he cant find it! The only way to feed him is by hand! So it seems as though he can see at a distance but not up close. He also has become very clumsy and disoriented at times. (i.e. running into the coral) I really would appreciate your thoughts on this . He has lost weight. Is this a result of not being able to find the food or is something else going on? Thanks again for your time. Randy S. <Well, Randy- hard to say...There actually is "nutritional blindness", generally brought on by (surprise!) dietary deficiencies. There are other possibilities, too: The fish could have had some sort of trauma to its eyes...? You should observe carefully...Make sure that the environmental conditions are stable and of high quality...This is an unusual occurrence, but it does happen...Usually, however, lack of response to environmental stimuli is indicative of some sort of water chemistry issue, in my experience...Hang in there, and take action as needed...Regards, Scott F>

- Injured Trigger - <Greetings, JasonC here...> Hi guys, I have a small 50 gallon system set up in my new home until I get my 6'x2'x2' set up installed this summer. My set up's are fish only and my biggest fish is a Regal Tang that I have had for about 3 years, followed by a Yellow Tang which is about the same mass as my Clown Trigger. Living with them and coping well are my Valentine Puffer, a small 'Hovercraft' Box Fish and a pair of Percula Clowns. The tangs and the smaller fish used to share a home for a couple of years with a much larger Clown Trigger and they all got on well enough until I inadvertently poisoned the trigger and lost him about 6 months ago, my hovercraft and puffer died too in this incident which, although sad and expensive, at least taught me a lesson. I replaced the puffer and hovercraft fish fairly quickly and was prepared to wait until I had my 6 footer up and running before looking for another Clown Trigger. However a couple of weeks ago I spotted a lovely looking Clown Trigger at my local dealers. He looked the perfect size to introduce to my other fish and I took him home with me. He settled in very well and as expected the Regal Tang (who was not that brave with the original larger trigger, although they had plenty of 'face off's') was keen to show the newcomer who was boss fish in the tank. After a couple of days monitoring things and deciding that all seemed okay (the fish where happy enough with the newcomer and he was feeding and looking after himself as expected) I noticed a piece of skin or something dangling down from under the triggers mouth. It was very small but it looked as though one of the tangs had cut him with the scalpel and caused a small wound. After a couple of weeks this wound is now looking quite red and you can see a clear break in the surface of the skin which looks like it is not 'skinning' over and leaving a small crack like effect under his mouth which, to me looks quite sore. Could you make any suggestions as to anything I should be doing to intervene if necessary? <I would consider putting this fish in a separate tank so it can be given some peace and quiet while it heals. The actual healing part of it there's not much you can do other than offer foods it likes, and perhaps add an antibiotic to prevent infection. Space to itself will insure no one hassles it and it can convalesce in peace. As an aside, and please understand - I love these fish - clown triggers are mean to a fault. They may not start off that way in your system, but by the time year one comes along, your other fish will be in serious jeopardy. In the wild, most other fish give clown triggers a wide berth... they are aggressively mean. That being said, perhaps you might consider a system just for this one fish...> Thanks, Kevin Everett, Hull, England <Cheers, J -- >

Re: ICH question I've been reading over the FAQ's for a while now, and have yet to come across my question, so I'm going to go ahead and ask.  I have a fairly new tank, just a bit under 3 months now.  Its a 125g with very light stock.  4 blue damsels, a red spotted hawk, a Huma Huma trigger(2 1/2") and a sail fin tang(3 1/2").  My water conditions are fine, but I seem to have a new addition to my system....ICH!!  I've dealt with the pest before with fair success.  Basically I had a trigger and a Naso tang with it, and after a waiting game, they kicked it on their own.  It took about 4 months, but they did it. At any rate, I've noticed that you really hit on the biological (natural) methods of getting rid of it, being cleaner shrimp and wrasses'.  Here's my quandary though.  I would love to use either, but I'm afraid with the presence of the trigger, this may be all but impossible.  I've seen the photo's of moray's tolerating a cleaning by a Lysmata shrimp, however, is that the norm, or and exception??  I would prefer to just clear my tank of the infestation all at once. I'm in no real hurry to add any new fish, but I could use a definitive plan of action.  IE, start with hypo salinity?, or dips?, or temperature changes?, or is it safe for me to add a couple cleaners with the trigger??   This is my second trip into the salt side of the hobby, after a 3 year hiatus of breeding cichlids again (which for the fourth time I have swore off forever....haha), and I'm hoping I will have as much success as I did the first time.  I have come to find your site as an awesome tool, and now pass it on to my fellow hobbyist as the definitive site for information on marine fish keeping (hope you don't mind).  I would like thank all of you for your dedication to the hobby, and your willingness to share your knowledge Cheers, Jason Barnett <Hey Jason, I would not go with the cleaner wrasse, chances are it will die when it runs out of fish to clean.  The cleaner shrimp may help, but there is a chance that it will become a snack for the trigger.  Your best bet is to remove the fish to a QT tank and treat with dips.  Allowing the main system to run without fish for about 4 weeks should allow the parasites to run their course and die off.  For more information on treatment check out the link below.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm >

- Clown Trigger Questions - Hello, <And hello to you, JasonC here...> I've recently set up a semi predator tank with inhabitants including a clown trigger (3.5 in), snowflake eel, <My friend, with these two creatures alone, the word "semi" does not belong - this is a true predator tank.> formosa wrasse and a recently added Imperator Angelfish (4.5 in) and my triggers colors have been fading since his addition I am not sure if this is a sign that he is stressed out from the new arrival or if it might be related to either a feeding or disease issue. <Could be any one of those - how big is this system?> About 6 weeks ago, I noticed spots on him and corrected by treating my tank with a mild based copper treatment (killed my cleaner wrasse) which seemed to correct the situation and regularly am checking for signs of return <Egad... this is not a correction by any means. Treating your main system with copper will like stall your biological filter and could even lay it to waste. You should do some rudimentary water tests to make sure ammonia and nitrite are not building up...> In regards to feeding I try a few goldfish/ghost shrimp twice a week and for the balance of the week feed the tank brine shrimp and frozen krill. At what size can I feed him crayfish and what size should they be in relation to him <I would stick with frozen foods like Prime Reef and other meaty foods, shrimp, krill, squid, etc. Live foods tend to cause too much aggression which this clown trigger doesn't need to have encouraged.> All assistance is greatly appreciated <I would encourage you to browse and read the Wet Web Media site - all of these animals and their captive care requirements are covered there in addition to quarantine and treatment procedures for ailing fish.> Chris <Cheers, J -- >

HELP - Sluggish Picasso Trigger Hello, Over the past few days I have noticed changes with my Pecos Trigger.  Until recently the trigger has been very active, but now he has been spending a lot of time sleeping under the rocks.  I have even noticed him swimming past the power filter inlet and allowing himself to be sucked against the grate. Today when I go home from work I found him upside down lodged behind the overflow.  At first I thought he was dead but when I moved the box he swam away.  I checked my levels and found the following: Nitrates:            20 Nitrites:             0 Ammonia:         0 PH:                   8.8 Obviously I have allowed my PH to get way out of control so I instantly added the first dosing of marine buffer to get it back under control.  I have looked over the trigger and see no signs of other disease.  Would the PH be causing him to act sluggish and reduce the level of activity?  Any advice is appreciated. Stacey Hippen <Hi Stacey, Your pH is *high* at 8.8.  Are you sure it wasn't 7.8? Adding buffer to 8.8 water would raise it far too high. Of concern to me is your nitrate level.  I would perform adequate water changes to get your water to 8.3-8.4 pH and lower your nitrates to start. You might also try looking up your trigger at WetWebMedia.Com in the Google search engine to see if there is something you are missing.  Craig>

Injured Picasso Hi David, <Hello again!>            Thanks for your reply. To fill you in, my trigger passed away last night, and I had the quarantine tank set up and ready to go.( I am sure it will get used someday though ) <I'm sorry to hear of your loss> My other question for you is that my PH runs from 8.55 to 8.61, is this dangerous? <It's a little high but if it doesn't rise any higher than this (even during the daytime), it's not dangerous> I have been trying to replace the h20 with new r/o water with a PH of 7, though it really does not seem to make a difference. <It will bring it down eventually. I wouldn't worry too much about your pH. If you add a new fish, please be sure to slowly acclimate the fish to this pH. It is high enough to give new fish (from a lower pH) a condition called pH shock...which can be deadly. If it doesn't kill the new addition quickly, it may kill it slowly> I added too much buffer a couple weeks back...and suggestions ? <Test the pH during the day after the lights have been on for a few hours and test it at night after the lights have been off for a few hours. If it's no higher than 8.6 at any time, you will be okay> Thanks! <It's a pleasure to help! David Dowless>
Re: Injured Picasso Triggerfish
Hi David, Sorry to bother you again, <Not a bother> I just wanted to get your input on the following:  Does carbon work if it is in the sump under water? <Yes. Optimally, the water should be traveling through the carbon rather than flowing around it> I have a small bag of sea chem phosphate remover in the pre filter ( I tested 1.0 -1.5 on the test a short time ago )... is this ok ? <Certainly won't hurt anything. The pads don't really help unless your phosphate levels are very low...and your levels are low> I did a 10 gal change in my 80 gal tank, my ph has come down from 8.0 to 7.5 <7.5 is dangerously low> being this tank is a month old, <Let's don't stock quite so fast. Are you sure your tank has finished cycling? Are you using live rock?> should I just let it run & let it increase then hope that it falls w/ time, or add something to the tank to help lower it? <Lower the pH further? No my friend, you need to raise the pH. From your last email I see the pH was between 8.5-8.6 That was a little high but won't hurt the fish. Optimal pH in a marine tank is between 8.0-8.3. In a reef tank, many people shoot for 8.3-8.5 But it should never go below 8.0. Your source water is probably to blame for the low pH. Test your fresh water before adding salt. If low, aerate over night test again. If the pH is correct, add buffer and then salt> I cleaned the algae from the back of the tank, should I have done this so soon? <Won't hurt anything> I have a small amount of green algae growing on the rock, should I let this go? <Your choice> Can I introduce a new trigger or dwarf angel in this tank with the water parameters as they are, <NO!! Put everything on hold until you straighten out this pH problem. Start by working with the source water. Raise the pH in the main tank slowly. Top off water and water used for changes should have a pH above 8.0 but no higher than 8.5 Check out WetWebMedia for detailed information on pH, why it's important and how to gently manipulate it> if not what type would work ( by the way, I pulled the damsel out that was causing damage, I put a orchid Dottyback in <This critter is also very territorial> noticed they did not get along, <Not surprising. Orchids are very beautiful and very mean> I think he inflicted the wound on the Picasso trigger as we discussed ) <You could really use a good book about aquarium fishes. One of the best (and cheap too) is Scott Michael's Marine Fishes ($23). This source is invaluable when it comes time to stock your tank. Also, do you have a copy of Bob Fenner's The Conscientious Aquarist (about $30)? Both of these books are cheap and valuable for saltwater hobbyist. Learning about your aquarium now will save you lots of headaches in the future> David, as always THANKS for your help !! <It is my pleasure to be of service to you! David Dowless>

Injured Trigger Hi, <Greetings!> Thank you for taking time to review my question.. <My privilege!> I just purchased a 2" baby Trig. He acclimated fine in my 80 gal tank w/ live rock and crushed coral only. I have two damsels and 6 blue legged ( I believe )very small crabs. The first 3 hours he was fine, eating off the rock, no problems with the damsels at all. I went to check on him and it looked like his fin (side of body ) was almost completely torn off, and it looked to pull a small, small of flesh from where his fin enters his body, He was still swimming fine & moving the fin. What could have happened? <Let's just say it wasn't the damsels that were in distress. They caused the distress. HA!> I never saw the damsels get defensive to him, they would eat with him. He was fine from the store, I am positive of that. I talk quite a bit to these people & it is a rep. store. Should I take this fish out, does he have any chance to survive? <That's the best course of action IMO. I fear the damsels won't stop until he's perished. Damsels are very territorial and with a fish so small they may not ever leave him alone. Get a bigger trigger or trade the damsels> He did find a nice bed in the side of some live rock after the lights were turned out early. Any help would be appreciated !!! <Poor little critter. If you have the time, watch the interactions between the trigger and the damsels for an extended period of time. If it's the damsels, you will eventually see them doing the damage. One other possibility...When you put the trigger in your tank, did you net him or place him with your hand? If netted, he could have been hurt. If you want to keep the little guy (instead of returning him to the LFS), you will need some type of a temporary convalescent home or trade in the damsels. This would be a great time to get and setup a suitable quarantine tank. If you determine that it is definitely the damsels, you're gonna have to banish someone from the tank. Either damsels or the trigger> Thank you, DJ <You're welcome! David Dowless>

Re: cloudy eyes on my trigger hi i have had a Picasso trigger in my tank for about a month. about a week or so i noticed his eyes were becoming slightly hazy. i figured it was nothing big so i let it wait out. now his eyes have become quite cloudy. he eats, looks and acts normal.... he is about 3 inches right now <If the time frame were shorter... let's say about a week, I would be inclined to think your triggers eyes were subject to a resultant physical injury (perhaps rough netting, scraping on the substrate...), but a month? Leads me to suspect something wrong with your water quality...> everything in my tanks seems to be fine including the other fish ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, alk 3.2 (not sure what units), salinity is 1.022, temp is 79 degrees. <Mmm, do look into the units on your alkalinity test kit... Do you have a skimmer?> i have a book i was reading through that says cloudy eyes usually mean a parasite of some kind or poisoning. his coloring is very nice not faded at all. what do u think it might be?? there are no spots on him or anything like that he looks very healthy besides the cloudy eyes.... <Not parasitic... either from water quality (of some sort), physical damage, or nutritional deficiency.> i feed him fresh seafood from the market or marine cuisine everyday along with flake that is soaked in vitamin c and Kent Zo? <Great.> is there something i can give or do to him that will help him?? maybe something just as a precautionary?? or something that will treat a wide range of things it might be?? <Not really. If it were me, my fish, I'd keep doing what you're doing. These are sturdy species and should self-cure over time. Bob Fenner> thanks for any help Sincerely Matt

Trigger's Inability to Swim My Picasso triggerfish had his eye ripped out by another triggerfish over a week ago. (He is now affectionately called One-Eyed Pete.) I transferred him to a separate much smaller tank, 20 gallons, the only one I had open with nothing in it. He was always alert and curious and eating a lot. He even would try to eat us! But he didn't eat anything until tonight. I was putting his favorite food on a feeding stick and putting it near and around his mouth, but tonight I tried fresh scallops. He bit in. And for the first time I noticed that he couldn't swim up from the sand. He had dug himself a huge hole between two pieces of live rock. I thought from trying to dig himself a grave, but now I realize he was trying to swim but was unable to move, his fins propelled the sand up and he dug further down. <He propels sand but doesn't swim? Is he stuck? If not it sounds like he may have injured more than his eye...perhaps his swim bladder from running into stuff and fighting?. Go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm and scroll down to swim bladder in bold.> My water parameters are ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrates 30, PH 8.4, salinity 1.024, calcium 425. That's all I test for regularly. The only physical injury he had that we could see was a torn dorsal fin (which has almost completely healed) and his ripped out eye. I love this fish, I have had him for years. Is there any hope for him? I know triggers are resilient, but this is bad. Thank you so much in advance for any insight you could bring to this dilemma -Rachel <Do some water changes and get the nitrates down a bit, it might help him. Besides that water looks good. Sounds like a rough and tumble kind of guy. I wish you well. Craig>

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