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View Full Version : 500 gallon triggerfish ideas.


stempy07
07/24/2017, 06:34 PM
I want to start my 500 up as a FOWLR with a focus on triggerfish as they are far and away my favorite family of fish fresh or salt. Having said that I am looking to keep fish that probably shouldn't be mixed as adults, this is where you all come in that have possibly kept these fish as adults :)

I had a Queen trigger (my favorite of all) that was about a foot long about 20 years ago. Meanest SOB I have ever kept, I had to use a friend to help clean the tank as she would diligently try to tear body parts from me as I cleaned! I would also consider a West African golden heart as a replacement for the Queen but man, very few fish can compete with the beauty of a queen!

I have also absolutely fallen in love with a titan trigger at our local zoo, that thing is just majestic! I know they can be aggressive but grow ridiculously slow.

I also have a thing for Rhinecanthus triggers, there's just something about them that keeps me coming back over and over.

Last but certainly not least is a clown trigger......I know, I know. But who doesn't want to keep this incredibly gorgeous fish in a community tank right?!

I plan on keeping a few other fish as well, namely an emperor angelfish (or queen angel), a couple tangs (purple and powder blue possibly), a porcupine puffer (wife's favorite, the whole reason behind the switch to salt so it's a must!) and who knows what else :)

So I guess my question is for those who have mixed triggers in large aquaria, what did you and did you not have success with? Is there something you did or did not do that may have helped and or hindered your success with certain species cohabiting?

Thank you for your help :)

FinnCole
07/25/2017, 12:58 AM
From what I have heard queen and titan triggers will murder anything there in a tank with

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Mr. Eel
07/25/2017, 08:31 AM
Im sorry but this tank sounds ore like the colosseum than a community tank, how much are you charging to watch the fights?

stempy07
07/25/2017, 08:52 AM
Im sorry but this tank sounds ore like the colosseum than a community tank, how much are you charging to watch the fights?

Again, asking for experiences from people who have had these as adults or known someone with them as adults. Internet speculation won't help me, that's all I've seem to be able to find when it comes to these. I've kept adult rhinecanthus before and a sub adult quien trigger. So my personnel experience is very limited. I've seen plenty of mixed juvenile triggerfish tanks but none as adults. I know what that means, but, none of those tanks were very big. So, does tank size change the variables on some of these triggers. Take the clown trigger, all you see is dont keep them they kill everything and there are documented accounts of this. But how many keep them to adulthood in large tanks? I have a buddy who has an adult about 13" in his 600 gallon that is a model citizen. Now he doesn't have any other triggers which helps me none but it does live peacefully with large angels, ranges and a volitan lion.

cougareyes
07/25/2017, 10:00 AM
Yeah I hate the people just regurgitating what they've read online or heard.

I'm currently raising some juvi triggers, a clown, blueline, and niger; I have some of the less notorious triggers in another tank.

Your Rhinecanthus triggers should give you no problems, I've never had more than one in a tank but I've only had a tank as large as a 180. The Rhinecanthus as well as the titan and clown do grow rather slowly, I've never had much more than an inch a year out of them. I haven't kept a titan but they do grow slow and I wouldn't be so afraid of one in a 500 gallon.

The queen does grow faster but not near as fast as some will say, I kept one for a few years but the tank was too small for her. She did not cause any trouble while I had her, just had the opportunity to put her in really nice resort aquarium. A golden heart is a good choice to replace a queen, same body shape but stays smaller and not near as aggressive. In the right light these are very beautiful as well, they don't photograph that well.

The smaller you start them the better they will be as a reasonable roomamte. If you get a larger specimen right from the ocean of the clown, titan, or queen you will be asking for trouble.

I know it's hard for some to put small specimens in large tanks like a 500, but the best success I've had is when I raised them myself. I wouldn't get any of them over say 3.5", smaller would even be better. I raised a clown trigger from an inch and had him for 7 years with absolutely no trouble before I moved and had to rehome him. In comparison I had a clown that I got at about 3.5" and when he was just over 5" I had to rehome him for aggression, This was in a 180g so a larger tank would have been a better choice. All of my fish go to very large resort or professionally maintained private tanks, so I've seen many multiples of every trigger together in large tanks.

A Rhinecanthus, clown, and golden heart in a 500 would be a choice I would make, the titan I might try if I knew I could get him out and had a good home for him if I had to pull him. I wouldn't get any of them larger than 3-4".

jda
07/25/2017, 10:44 AM
If you don't want to end up with a species tank, the Rinecanthus triggers can make good tank mates. Hawaiian black and any of the X triggers are also great tank mates.

I personally had Hawaiian Black (awesome fish that glows under good lights), Crosshatch pair, Huma, Assasi, Niger and some bluethroats in with each other. They all ate nori, which was hilarious to watch and all of them were completely relaxed when well fed.

I had a clown that was Ok with tankmates until it hit about 6-7" and then it turned into a a-hole and got moved on to a 10,000 gallon tank.

If I were doing a large fish-only tank again, I would get a few Hawaiian Blacks... awesome, under appreciated fish, IMO.

humaguy
07/25/2017, 01:59 PM
The problem with balistid keeping is how highly individulistic these fish are, regardless of genus. They can become totally insane in a very short time, and as they grow and mature that likelihood increases, often dramtically. To say that your trigger of a month, year, or even longer, is the "perfect tankmate" and flatly recommend to all that getting one wont lead to an issue, and to disregard the neg hype is grossly irresponsible. These fish are incredible, beautiful, unique, personable, curious, total characters, and can literally, in a matter of minutes, destroy an entire tank. It often doesn't matter how big the system is. I know of a smaller clown that went ballastic in a 15,000 gal system and just destroyed everything, lol, a 15,000 gallon system!

In 88 I moved to Kauai to swim with and study triggers, mainly Rhinecanthus. Lol, these fish are an obsession and my weakness. In my experience, I have found them to be overall, quite mellow, almost goofy but often insanely calculating. Having said that, I have also seen some very crazy ones. I used to visit the same rectangulus almost every day over the year, and lol, that darned fish became like my pet dog!

A few years back I kept around 20 (pretty sure it was over 20) different triggers in my dt, including every Rhinecanthus avail (I had the first R cinereus in the US. The only R trig I did not have in dt was abyssus) and some hybrids. I removed the titan, clown, fuscus, and queen pretty early on, as it was clear, even though they were smaller, they were becoming an issue. I never added an undulatus because they are totally insane at almost any size. Eventually the Hawaiian and Indian Blacks became huge and turned into pitas. All of the Rhinecanthus remained mellow. But the R hybrid I have now tried to kill my lunula when it was just them in my dt, so the lunula was pulled and i added the assasi. The R hybrid has learned to cope with the assasi as the assasi has learned to totally avoid the hybrid and give him a wide berth, something the lunula did not do. The GH was fantastic, that pinktail was fantastic- but one of the meanest trigs I ever kept was a pinktail. IME, Sufflamen trigs become toal pitas, but others have had radically diff expereinces. Fenner says they are one of the best behaved trigs we can keep.

If I can offer anything, it is to read up on what experts (Fenner, Axlerod, Vargas, Sprung, Fish etc) and longterm keepers say and take anybody who says that triggers are the perfect tankmate, upstanding/model citizens (I hate those terms) and mixing them is easy, with a huge grain of salt.

Fenner shares a great story of a baby clown he had, back in the day with a bunch of Pomacentrids. Over the year they all grew together peacefully and the clown got to around 5 inches over that year. Bob says that the clown was great, totally mellow, and probably thought it was a damsel too! Perfectly behaved, not an issue, was cute and would spit water. Well one day at feeding the fish came to the surface to eat and the clown "accidentally" bit a damsel in two! By the next morning, every other fish in the tank had been "snacked on." The trig had learned that the "other shiny moving objects in its world were delicious." Trigs will chew on anything, lions, eels, sharks, inverts of any and all kinds, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, hermits, crabs, corals- hard/soft. When diving, it is amazing to see the respect these fish are shown and the space they are granted.

I was diving in the Red Sea years ago and our dive master smoked cigarettes like they were going out of style. I kept asking why as everybody knows they are unhealthy and will probably lead to cancer one day. He told us all that he felt cigarettes were healthy, felt they were misunderstood, and was cancer-free and healthy as ox. He didnt understand why people villified them and didnt undertand all the warnings on the packs. I heard a few years back he passed of lung cancer. That story reminds me of many of the comments in here. Perhaps not the best analogy but it works.

I have shared the story of my buddies enormous queen that literally tried to eat its way out of an acrylic tank and almost succeeded, the tank had to be trashed. It ate the heater and all powercords and the tank looked like somebody spent hours with a hammer and chisle whacking the side of the tank. This because my buddy was stuck out of town for a night and the queen didnt get fed, so she threw a wicked tantrum!

Get em tiny, add em together, add a crazy amount of pvc in qt, and do same with rock in dt and cross your fingers but always, always, always, have a backup tank or 2 and be prepared to dismantle your dt at a moments notice.

Balistids are great fish but make sure you have a plan B and C, more often then not, you will need to employ it at some point.

I wish you good luck, have fun, and I am happy to try and answer any questions, or maybe point you in the right direction.

Happy hunting!

Ted

stempy07
07/25/2017, 02:29 PM
Thank you for your input guys, it is appreciated! I know it is going to be a roll of the dice no matter what I do, so how do I tip the odds in my favor? Ted I was really hoping you would chime in as I know you have kept triggers for a long time :) I've followed your threads and have a lot of respect for what you do. There's not many aquarists like you for sure. I'm not dead set on any specific trigger, or combo of triggers. I just listed what I like, and truly love. I honestly kinda figured the queen would be a species only specimen, especially after the one I had. The story you told kind of reminds me of mine Ted. My buddy would hold a divider to keep her on one side of the tank while I cleaned the other but she would smash through and just destroy hoses, gravel vacs, whatever I was using at the time. We got to the point we had to also use a piece of PVC to kind of help corral her which she would just tear into like a lion into a gazelle. She was absolutely insane, but stunningly beautiful and also the reason triggers are far and away my favorite family of fish.

So if it were your tank, would you simply pick 1 trigger and go with that or would you even attempt to try and mix 2 or 3 triggers?

I like your suggestion a lot cougareyes with the GH, huma, clown.

JDA I have honestly never considered the Hawaiian blacks, but that is certainly a possibility as they really are beautiful.

I want to set up a combination of fish that will basically last, I've kept a lot of fish in my 25+ years of fish keeping and I would like to make this the last tank I set up. I am okay if I have to rehome a fish that doesn't work out, I just want to try and stack the deck so to speak to try and avoid it and keep the fish for their lifespan.

Thanks again for the feedback, I appreciate it :)

jda
07/25/2017, 03:37 PM
I think that enough people have kept X triggers with very good success to consider them really good tank mates... however, they might not be what you are after.

I forgot about my pinktail. I had one in a mixed reef and it was cool... like to move substrate, but otherwise left the little fish and inverts alone.

I must mention that I keep all of these fish well fed to where they are growing several inches a year. I have no doubt that they can turn into jerks if underfed.

stempy07
07/25/2017, 04:30 PM
The X triggers are the only ones that don't really excite me. I would consider a crosshatch male as the are really nice looking, but the few I've seen in person (only 3) were in reef tanks and didn't seem to have the same personality as the other genera.

humaguy
07/25/2017, 04:58 PM
So if it were your tank, would you simply pick 1 trigger and go with that or would you even attempt to try and mix 2 or 3 triggers?

I like your suggestion a lot cougareyes with the GH, huma, clown.

JDA I have honestly never considered the Hawaiian blacks, but that is certainly a possibility as they really are beautiful.

Thanks again for the feedback, I appreciate it :)


Lol, if it were my tank, I would be focusing only on unusual angels, triggers, and maybe a tang. I would add more than one trig but only because I have spare space. Lol, it has been really hard to pass on the baby clowns and fuscus are around now, there is nothing cuter. The only trig I have a tough time recommending is the blue throat.

I also like Cougar's suggestion of a gh-killer personalities, huma, clown, providing they are real small and the backup is in place, and JDA mentioning the Hawaiian (Indian is also awesome) is spot on and X trigs are great choices too. Those M triggers get huge! Just be careful if trying to add 2 of the same. They may not get along and that can be a pita. My crosshatch were clearly male/female when small, around 2.5 inches. After 2 months in the 125 qt together and getting along, the morning after I added them to the dt the female had turn male. 2 male ch trigs was a headache!

Looking forward to pics!

stempy07
07/25/2017, 06:38 PM
Lol, if it were my tank, I would be focusing only on unusual angels, triggers, and maybe a tang. I would add more than one trig but only because I have spare space. Lol, it has been really hard to pass on the baby clowns and fuscus are around now, there is nothing cuter. The only trig I have a tough time recommending is the blue throat.

I also like Cougar's suggestion of a gh-killer personalities, huma, clown, providing they are real small and the backup is in place, and JDA mentioning the Hawaiian (Indian is also awesome) is spot on and X trigs are great choices too. Those M triggers get huge! Just be careful if trying to add 2 of the same. They may not get along and that can be a pita. My crosshatch were clearly male/female when small, around 2.5 inches. After 2 months in the 125 qt together and getting along, the morning after I added them to the dt the female had turn male. 2 male ch trigs was a headache!

Looking forward to pics!

I would agree on the blue throats. Clowns are certainly easy to find atm but I have never seen a GH for sale locally, ever :( I do have a couple exceptional shops locally that I can try to get a special order for one. There's one on DD atm but I would like to start a little smaller than that if possible to be more in line with the baby trigs floating around.

jda
07/25/2017, 06:41 PM
Had a friend who got a Golden Heart... pretty much an expensive blue line that killed everything in his tank. That fish was an assassin. I have no idea what he did with it, but nobody wanted it, even for free.

stempy07
07/25/2017, 07:04 PM
Had a friend who got a Golden Heart... pretty much an expensive blue line that killed everything in his tank. That fish was an assassin. I have no idea what he did with it, but nobody wanted it, even for free.

Whoa, the joys of individual personalities :/ I know I've had Huma's over the years where they varied from completely passive and shy to downright nasty. I've also had a ridiculous niger trigger that was hell bent on attacking everything else in the tank though every other niger I've had have been completely mellow. Funny thing is I had an undulated (only one I've ever owned) that had a 75 gallon to him, 2 Jeweled moray eels and a dwarf lionfish. That undulated never bothered anything. I had him for years with no issues but I had moved and had to sell the tank :(

m0nkie
07/25/2017, 09:18 PM
oh boy... I'm adding my male X Trigger into the 560gal soon with a female inside. Was hoping to mix in a Hawaiin pink tail in the future too. Ted's post scares me

good luck man! keep this thread posted so we know what you end up with.

jda
07/25/2017, 09:26 PM
When you have pairs of X Triggers, the colors really sand out... both the female and the male get better colors.

humaguy
07/26/2017, 12:51 PM
Had a friend who got a Golden Heart... pretty much an expensive blue line that killed everything in his tank. That fish was an assassin. I have no idea what he did with it, but nobody wanted it, even for free.

this is the problem with how individualistic these fish are. The one I kept longest, which was close to 10 years, literally taught the baby angels to clean it and was one of the kindest and most patient fish I have kept. Was similiar to a gp, bandit or conspic, personalitywise... this is a great example of why triggers cant be trusted.

humaguy
07/26/2017, 12:52 PM
oh boy... I'm adding my male X Trigger into the 560gal soon with a female inside. Was hoping to mix in a Hawaiin pink tail in the future too. Ted's post scares me

good luck man! keep this thread posted so we know what you end up with.

good luck, keep posting pics!

humaguy
07/26/2017, 12:55 PM
When you have pairs of X Triggers, the colors really sand out... both the female and the male get better colors.

sure, unless the female decide to go male or the male just kills the female. male triggerfish make nest to entice females, these nest are around 30-40 feet across, so inorder to get real male/female triggers to act "bonded" takes a whole lotta tank!

humaguy
07/26/2017, 12:55 PM
btw, I love all the trigger talk, great to see such a love for such a great fish...

jda
07/26/2017, 04:57 PM
I have never had a pair of X triggers act bonded or even try and be a pair. The colors got better though.

I have also never had a real female turn into a male. I guess that maybe an immature one could, but once the tails have color, I have always had crosshatches stay red or yellow/orange.

stempy07
07/26/2017, 06:09 PM
btw, I love all the trigger talk, great to see such a love for such a great fish...

They are incredible fish, even my wife who doesn't like fish actually like them :) My son has taken on my love of aquariums and they are one of his favorite fish as well! The only fish my wife likes better is a porcupine puffer lol