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jonnydilger
10/22/2011, 11:13 AM
Not sure if it's a blessing or a disease...

Recently introduced a Niger Triggerfish to my reef tank and let's just say my Powder Blue Tang didn't get along too well with him. After observing a few days of the PBT attempting to ambush and spine him, I noticed today that the PBT is much more dosile. Closer inspection shows that his spines are actually gone. I did notice the week or two prior that the PBT and my butterflyfish were both scratching a bit excessively against the live rock substrate... so my questions are:

Did a potential short-lived ich endemic cure my PBTs hostility (all reported fish are behaving as currently extremely healthy)?

Do these spines regenerate (and do I want them to)?

If this is some kind of disease (ich or not), what are treatment options?

Thanks in advance!

85galsalty
10/22/2011, 11:28 AM
Need to see some pictures.

sandwi54
10/22/2011, 11:30 AM
regarding spines, do you mean the dorsal fin? can you post a photo?

ich would not cause loss of dorsal fin directly. it would be either secondary bacterial infection. however, that usually doesn't happen unless the fish is heavily infested with ich. are you actually sure it's ich? scratching doesn't necessarily mean ich. it could be flukes, velvet, and some other parasites. if you're not sure it's ich, i would dose prazipro first to remove the possibility of flukes (that can be a killer if not treated), and see if the fish still scratches.

niger trigger, even though one of the least aggressive triggerfish, is still aggressive by marine standards. it is possible that it caused an injury to the PBT while fighting.

MrTuskfish
10/22/2011, 11:50 AM
Are you referring tho the PBTs scapula, the neat little switchblade near its tail? They can erect these and then fold them flat where there are barely visible. If both of these are gone, I'll bet there are just hard to see.

BTW; beware of ich symptoms that seem to disappear. Ich often appears in small numbers, often invisible in the gills, then waits in the substrate while developing the next generation. When the next generation appears, it will be many times worse. Maybe the calm before the storm; but if these fish weren't in a QT---its very possible. I'd read the ich stickies at the top of the RC disease forum. Knowledge of ich, and similar parasites is vital info.

Also, your profile says you have a 55 gal tank; are all these fish in there?

sandwi54
10/22/2011, 12:12 PM
Also, your profile says you have a 55 gal tank; are all these fish in there?

I don't think so, since his 55g is reef.

MrTuskfish
10/22/2011, 12:18 PM
I don't think so, since his 55g is reef.

Yeah, the initial post says niger & pbt in a reef, then talks about butterflies.

sandwi54
10/22/2011, 02:07 PM
that's weird... because niger trigger is not reef safe. it's a triggerfish...

and 55 gallon is too small for both niger and PBT. when the environment is too small, fish who are not generally aggressive become very aggressive. PBT and niger are aggressive fish to begin with and won't last long in a 55g.

MrTuskfish
10/22/2011, 03:08 PM
that's weird... because niger trigger is not reef safe. it's a triggerfish...

and 55 gallon is too small for both niger and PBT. when the environment is too small, fish who are not generally aggressive become very aggressive. PBT and niger are aggressive fish to begin with and won't last long in a 55g.

.....and dd butterflies to the reef.....we need your help,jonnydilger!

I know Nigers will scarf any invert and rearrange rocks, but a lot of folks are now considering them coral-safe. Not me , though. I've always kept a lot of Triggers and Nigers are still my favorite ---and inexpensive. My big one gets more attention from visitors than my Crosshatches. A healthy Niger is a fun fish to watch and gorgeous....IMHO.

Sorry to stray from the thread while we wait to hear from the OP.

jonnydilger
10/25/2011, 11:22 AM
Thanks for the responses Turk & sandwi... and my apologies for the brief absence.

My tank has been upgraded since my initial 55 gal reef - now I have a 92 corner bowfront. The inhabitants are the PBT, a milletseed butterfly, a niger trigger, and some green chromis. It is a reef tank... and so far, so good wrt to the butterfly and trigger. I agree, I was skeptical too... but thought I'd give it a try.

Since the original post, I have noticed some additional white spotting on the fish, though I haven't noticed any additional scratching on the rock. They did not spend any time in a QT (don't have one to set up). I'll be sure to post pics when I get home from work. Thanks for the advice!

jonnydilger
10/25/2011, 11:48 AM
I have also read another post regarding a similar observation from a powder brown tang... might be another possible explanation:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1341605

sandwi54
10/25/2011, 12:25 PM
I have also read another post regarding a similar observation from a powder brown tang... might be another possible explanation:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1341605

Yes that is getting more common now. The suppliers want to prevent injuries to their workers handling the fish so they manually remove the scalpels.

my naso tangs had their scalpels removed when I purchased them.

now back to your problem, if your tang is getting white blotches, that means it's getting stressed out. it's hard for us to determine what the stress is now, but i'm thinking aggression, lack of room, and disease (since you said the PBT and butterfly were scratching).

what symptoms do you see other than scratching? I would first dose prazipro into DT if there are no worms and see if that gets rid of their scratching.

i hate to burst your bubble, but a 92g corner tank is too small for both the PBT and niger trigger. a 92g corner tank is only 48" long on its longest side. PBT (even juveniles) needs a 6-foot long tank to live happily long-term, so does the niger since it gets to a foot-long. a 6-foot, 180g will be a better home and will likely fix your aggression problem right now.

jonnydilger
10/25/2011, 01:52 PM
With my case, it's more likely that stress is coming from changes in the water parameters - the setup is new and I'm still working out the kinks on parameter stabilization (specifically, getting my protein skimmer and auto-topoff to coexist peacefully without nosediving my salinity). I've not seen much aggression between the inhabitants since the initial 24-hour period of time following the introduction of the trigger. I'll take the wait-and-see approach and make changes if necessary.

I have no experience with prazipro... is this reef safe? Should I keep the protein skimmer off during treatment? Considering the cost, I'll definitely take your advice on this.

Concerning the size limitations on my tank... I must say, everyone has an opinion. I agree that a 180 gal would give more room, but it's just not practical. In life, you make choices as compromises, and I can't devote the time to such a large system while maintaining (and funding) a family life. I appreciate the opinion, but respectfully disagree.

Again, thank you for the advice. Prazipro's already in my Amazon shopping cart!

sandwi54
10/25/2011, 02:29 PM
prazipro is reef safe.

if your water parameter is still varying (since your tank is new), you should've waited until it settles down (usually happens about 4-6 months after the tank is set up) before picking up a tang. tangs are pretty sensitive to water parameter variations and should not be placed in a newly set up tank.

you are correct that having a 180g is not practical for everyone, and that's why you should buy fish that fit your size of the tank. trying to keep a fish that won't be happy long term due to a confined environment is not "making compromises." making compromises is buying fish that will live happily for life in your tank, and skipping the ones that won't, no matter how much you love them. i know you're probably new to saltwater tanks so that is ok, as you will learn over time, but just know that the list of recommended minimum tank size for fish is there for a reason whether you agree or disagree (and trust me, eventually you will agree with it, as most hobbyists have after a number of years). cramming a fish in a tank too small for him will induce stress and eventually premature death. that is a fact experienced by most most people and not a myth, or an option. Fish determine how much space they need, not us.

Good luck with the prazipro. If it doesn't work, then you may have ich. Let us know by then and we'll give you more instructions on ich treatment.